Why Does Your Air Conditioner Smell?

Why does your Air Conditioner Smell?

This is a pretty common problem and after 15+ years of inspecting and cleaning over 100,000 air conditioners, Sanitair has identified nearly every issue that can lead to a bad smelling air conditioner.

History has shown us that the source of air conditioning odours come from one of four main categories or combination.

  1. Micro Biological
  2. Drainage
  3. Rodents & Pests
  4. Environmental

Microbiological odours are caused by bacterial growth and fungal growth such as mould. As mould grows it emits Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs). Many MVOC’S do not have a smell whilst others give off a pungent musty odour. This odour is a pretty good indicator that your air conditioner has a microbiological contamination and that means you are inhaling compounds produced by the mould and are probably also inhaling mould spores. Some of those compounds are called mycotoxins and can affect human health.

Some of the symptom that room occupants can suffer from air conditioning mould is difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, itchy eyes, sinus infections, sore throat, joint pain, bronchitis, pneumonia and migraines.

A Sanitair Premium AirCon Clean will safely remove all biological contaminants and restore your system like new, your coil is also covered by our nationwide 12 Month Mould Free Guarantee.  Sanitair have trained technicians located in every state and territory of Australia and can be contacted on Free Call: 1800 130 168

Drainage part of an air conditioners normal operation is to produce condensation on the evaporator coils. On a typical indoor split system, the condensation is produced on the aluminium coils behind the filters. The condensation runs down the individual fins on the coil and is captured in the condensate pan which is generally connected to the condensate drain line to keep the pan drained. Many systems are free-flowing and this can be seen by an open pipe that drips externally and is often located close to the outdoor unit.

This method is not best practice as the constant moisture can attract the interest of termites. Best practice ensures that condensate lines are plumbed into stormwater or suitable drains. Unfortunately, air conditioning units can sometimes draw odours from external sources such as a blocked or contaminated stormwater line. We once had a customer that had a horrible smell in their home to find after inspection her husband had plumbed their air conditioning condensate line into the sewerage line.

Blocked and poorly draining condensate pans can accumulate bio films, toxic slime and sludge that can also omit unpleasant odours. A Sanitair premium clean on your air conditioner will also ensure that your condensate pan and drain is clean and free flowing.

Rodents and Pests these odours are pretty offensive and easily identified. Smells like something has crawled into the air conditioning system and died. Mice, Rats, Geckos, Bats, Snakes we have seen it all over the years. Gaining access from inside the wall cavity or from poorly sealed pipework, small animals often become trapped and sometimes electrocuted leading to their demise and that lingering smell. The good thing is generally the smell will disappear after a few days as the animal decomposes. If the smell is really offensive you could contact your local qualified refrigeration mechanic who is licenced to safely dismantle your unit and physically remove the offender.

Environmental factors such as having an air conditioner located close by or in a kitchen will always experience odour issues from time to time depending on what’s on the menu. Running air conditioners close to kitchens is not recommended. Evaporators are basically bi efficient filters and do a good job of removing grease and other bulk contaminants. Add moisture and cooking smells and you get a perfect smelly compound that lingers every time your system is operated.

If you burn incense, candles or use essential oils in a diffuser these can all add to a pungent smell over time that can be difficult to remove. Massage therapy rooms often experience these funky smells which are a bi-product of an oil that once smelt non-offensive before being burnt or heated.

Other external and environmental factors can be things like rising damp issues in walls and carpets which can be drawn in a recirculated by your air conditioning unit contaminating it and falsely getting it accused for the odour.

Hopefully, this article will assist you in locating the source of your air conditioning smell and lead to a better smelling and healthier air conditioner.

© Craig Jefferies 2019 Sanitair Australia

Can Your AirCon Handle the Heat?

Australians love to take advantage of the great outdoors.  Due to the extreme temperatures felt across Australia over the last few weeks, many families are just as content to enjoy their holidays at home, away from the outdoor heat.  Taking the time to relax and enjoy some quality moments with the kids before the school holiday break ends.

Emergency warnings have been issued, as an Australia wide heatwave pushes temperatures into the mid-40s across Australia.  Some of the temperatures have been unbearable:

  •  Marble Bar (Western Australia) has had 40 degrees days for over 24 days straight. They also have the long-held record of consistently being the hottest town in Australia!
  • Adelaide has experienced over 35 degrees.
  • Albury-Wodonga over 45 degrees
  • Canberra over 40 degrees
  • Several areas across western NSW are expecting temperatures above 45C beginning early in the week and continuing all the way through to the weekend.

 

When was the last time you had your air conditioner cleaned?

Air conditioners are working overtime during this heat and if not cleaned of airbourne contaminates, it could be costing you a lot more to keep you cool.   The indoor air conditioner coils and the internal components, over time, get a build up of airbourne particles that the air conditioner has filtered from the indoor air.

A dirty aircon puts more strain on airflow and efficiency, which increases the running cost of the system.  A professionally clean and sanitise of your air conditioner will avoid a higher than necessary electricity bill.  Keep cool during this summer heat! Consider doing something about it now and ensure that your aircon is running at its maximum efficiency.

Sanitair Premium Air Con Clean can restore the health of your system and improve indoor air quality.  Sanitair Premium HVAC Hygiene clean ensures that you and your loved ones are breathing healthy air, guaranteed for 12 months.

Take shelter indoors from the extreme temperatures without a worry!

FREECALL 1800 130 168 to book a clean today.

 

Sourced: https://www.9news.com.au/2019/01/15/05/42/weather-australia-heatwave-high-temperatures-to-continue

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/wtf/life-in-marble-bar-the-hottest-town-in-australia-where-40c-is-a-mild-day/news-story/3b68b8cfd612148b7169f19c7d84a8d2

Dust Storms = Health Issues

Recent Dust Storms can cause ongoing Health Issues

The recent dust storms experienced in the Southern Eastern Australian states was a combination of strong winds and our drought affected lands. Unfortunately, this combination had a very serious side with Asthma and Allergy sufferers being exposed to what can be a deadly trigger.

Now that the winds have subsided and the dust has literally settled, we must ask how much has settled into our homes and businesses.  Dust storms like the ones recently experienced in Australia have the potential to effect indoor air quality months after the actual event.

Affected homes and businesses need to remove the residual effects caused by these storms to restore indoor air quality. A thorough Vacuum with a HEPA vacuum not forgetting blinds curtains and bed spreads.  Dusting all solid objects and cleaning our air conditioning units.  Air conditioners become heavily contaminated in such events and can continue to blow airborne contaminants around until removed properly.

A professionally cleaned and sanitised air conditioner will not only restore the health of your system but it has been proven to greatly improve indoor environments along with protecting the health of room occupants.

Sanitair will remove recent dust storm contamination from your air conditioners and make them Look, Smell and Run as New.

FreeCall 1800 130 168

Classroom Air Quality, A Growing Concern

By Craig Jefferies, Sanitair

School News Magazine – TERM 3 – 2016

 

Indoor air quality is a growing problem in our schools, and students, staff and visitors are being exposed unnecessarily.

It is a well-known fact that most people spend 90 percent of their days indoors.

A study of human exposure to indoor air pollutants by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has indicated that indoor pollution levels may be between two and five times, and sometimes 100 times, higher than outdoor levels.

Indoor air pollution has long been implicated as a cause of absenteeism, hospitalisation and reduced quality of life due to respiratory problems. According to Asthma Australia, growing numbers of people are suffering. One in ten Australian’s suffers from asthma and associated respiratory distress.

What are the consequences of indoor air problems at school?

Failure to prevent indoor air problems, or failure to act promptly, can have consequences such as:

  • increasing the chances that the health of students and staff may be affected
  • impacting the students’ learning environment, comfort, and attendance
  • reducing the productivity of teachers and staff due to discomfort, sickness, or absenteeism faster deterioration and reduced efficiency of the school’s plant and equipment
  • straining relationships between school administration, parents and staff

Good indoor air quality contributes to a favourable learning environment for students, productivity for teachers and staff, and a sense of comfort, health, and well-being for school occupants.

One piece of equipment used widely in our classrooms to deliver comfort and enhance the learning experience is air conditioning.

Unfortunately, the biological health of many air conditioning systems is nothing short of appalling, with many harbouring more bacteria than your average wheelie bin or garbage can.  Incorrectly and poorly maintained air conditioners are exposing our teachers and children to serious health issues. Untreated, these breeding grounds for pathogens have the potential to trigger respiratory distress.

Mould, bacteria, dirt, mites, bio­ films, mice, cockroaches, geckos, pest faeces and human DNA are typical contaminants found deep within air conditioning systems in our schools.

Healthy air conditioning is all about controlling contaminants and establishing a biologically balanced environment deep within air conditioning components. Ensuring heat exchange coils, blowers, air wells, primary filters, condensate pans and drains are kept clean and sanitised.

So why are so many school air conditioners so

contaminated that removal Is advised?

The correct professional cleaning of key components is critical to establishing a healthy environment deep within an air conditioner.

Professional cleaning and sanitising not only ensures your air conditioning is able to deliver a comfortable environment for teachers and students but also a much healthier one.

Most air conditioning contractors focus on the mechanical maintenance of air conditioning but lack the correct equipment, products and patience to remediate air conditioners to the Australian Standard 3666. Professional air conditioning cleaning is a specialised field with dedicated technicians, who are highly trained in air conditioning remediation, and in the restoration of healthy environments.

The benefits of specialised air conditioning cleaning

  • Improvement of indoor air quality and healthier environments
  • Up to 30 percent reduction in energy usage
  • Quieter system operation
  • Odour removal
  • Increased plant and equipment life
  • Reduction of symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality, such as itchy eyes, runny noses and sneezing
  • Reduction of respiratory distress, such as asthma attacks.

Many professional air conditioning contractors now employ the services of companies like Sanitair Australia to professionally clean air conditioners on their behalf, acknowledging the level of expertise that such companies demonstrate, and the ongoing benefits they deliver for their customers.

Your school should also consider the services of a specialised air conditioning cleaning company to minimise your risk, and improve the overall indoor air quality in your classrooms and offices.

Many professional air conditioning cleaning companies will conduct obligation free health checks and risk assessments.

By Craig Jefferies, Sanitair

History of Legionnaires Disease

Mystery Illness Kills Legionnaires

The History of Legionnaire’s Disease.

Philadelphia, 1976

July 21st 1976, the American Legion held its annual conference at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. 2,000 ‘legionnaires’ (as they’re called) gathered to celebrate the 200th anniversary of The Declaration of Independence.

Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, 1976.

Ray Brennan was the Legion’s bookkeeper and an Air Force vet. At 61, returned home on the evening of the 24th, he noted to his family that he was feeling run down. So, when he died on the 27th of an apparent heart attack, his earlier noted fatigue was seen as merely prodromal to whatever major cardiac event had been brewing. As his family mourned, another legionnaire, Frank Aveni, also died of a supposed heart attack. By the first of August, six more legionnaires who had attended the convention in Philly were dead of apparent cardiac events.

Dr Ernest Campbell, a physician in Bloomberg, PA, treated a few of the first legionnaires to die. He quickly realized that they had all recently attended the conference, and he immediately notified the Department of Public Health.

Within the first week after the conference, 130 of the attendees ended up in the hospital; and 25 were dead.

Attendees of the 1976 convention. Within months, two of the men pictured were dead.

Joseph McDade

In January of 1977 McDade successfully isolated the bacterium responsible for the outbreak and he named it Legionella pneumophila It begins with flu-like symptoms and appears similar to a run-of-the-mill respiratory virus: but Legionnaire’s routinely led to pneumonia and high fevers that quickly progressed to fatal bradycardia (slow heart rate). Subsequent research concluded that the bacterium had been in the vents of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel and had, therefore, been pumped through those air vents and then inhaled by attendees. Continued research would also find it to thrive in hot tubs, humidifiers and nebulizers. The prognosis was actually quite good: it could be treated successfully with specific antibiotics; antibiotics that weren’t the first line of defence by the hospitals that treated the first cases in summer of ‘76.

Legionella bacteria are commonly spread through airborne water droplets. Mist or vapour contaminated with the bacteria can come from whirlpool spas, cooling towers (used as air-conditioning units in large buildings), and water used for drinking and bathing.

Home and car air-conditioning units do not use water to cool the air, so they are not a risk for Legionella growth.

Legionnaires Disease Fact Sheet  http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/legionnaires_disease.aspx

Footnotes
  1. Magazine story covers related to the 1976 outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health Library, #1185. Copyright 1976 by CDC.
  1. http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/legionnaires_disease.aspx
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html

© Sanitair Australia 2018