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Old 12-17-19, 04:31 PM   #1
mincus
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Default Mildew smell from heat pump?

Hi all,

I've had a heat pump for the last 10 years, but lately I'm getting a bit of a mildew smell coming out of the ducts. It doesn't happen all the time, but it's definitely noticable when it does. Is this related in any way to the operation of the heat pump? Or is it mold/mildew growing in the ducts?

I pulled the front panel and looked at the A coil and it's pretty clean.

My first thought is to clean the coil with some of that foaming cleaner and see if that works.

Anyone have thoughts on adding a UV light to the system? Do those really do much and are they worth it? A couple of us have semi-severe allergies, and one has asthma. Looking to make sure the air is as clean as possible.

Thanks all!

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Old 12-22-19, 11:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mincus View Post
Hi all,

I've had a heat pump for the last 10 years, but lately I'm getting a bit of a mildew smell coming out of the ducts. It doesn't happen all the time, but it's definitely noticable when it does. Is this related in any way to the operation of the heat pump? Or is it mold/mildew growing in the ducts?

I pulled the front panel and looked at the A coil and it's pretty clean.

My first thought is to clean the coil with some of that foaming cleaner and see if that works.

Anyone have thoughts on adding a UV light to the system? Do those really do much and are they worth it? A couple of us have semi-severe allergies, and one has asthma. Looking to make sure the air is as clean as possible.

Thanks all!
Have you thought about trying an ozone generator? There are allot of precautions to using one but they are very powerful sanitizers. You can not be in the house while it is running and anything living like plants or animals also have to be out of the house. We use one on a room by room basis and they work very well getting rid of odors. You just have to make sure its all dissipated before using the room again.

If you give it a go, read up on how to use before you try it. They are dangerous. A good generator is about $50 on Amazon

Last edited by gadget; 12-23-19 at 12:24 AM..
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Old 12-23-19, 03:40 PM   #3
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What about a UV light? Does anyone have one installed in their system?

I'd prefer not to go the ozone route.
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Old 12-24-19, 11:08 AM   #4
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What about a UV light? Does anyone have one installed in their system?

I'd prefer not to go the ozone route.
I've installed a few UV light systems in my heat pump. I had to replace them every time we had a voltage dip or spike in the line. Finally gave up.

The ballast electronics in these devices have no drop-out circuit to protect them from low voltage events. I tried two different brands with the same results. If you install UV lamps, make sure you get quality components.

UV lamps do help resolve the odor problem as long as they are working.
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Old 12-24-19, 11:59 AM   #5
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Good deal. Where in the line do you install the UV light? Above the evaporator coil or below? My system has the backup heat filaments above the coil, so I'd have to go above that.

Do you keep the UV lights on 24/7 or only when the system is running?
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Old 12-24-19, 01:04 PM   #6
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Most A coils have a hole in the end of the frame to install the light inside the A. This is where I was told the light would be most effective. My system did not have an A coil so I put the bulb in a return air duct. Closer to the coil would have been better as that seems to be where the mildew forms.

The instructions that came with my lights said to leave them on all the time.
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Old 12-26-19, 11:04 PM   #7
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Some day they will come out with a cheap UVC light that will be reliable and last for many thousand hours.

That will be a great day
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Old 01-08-20, 01:58 PM   #8
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Very common issue here in the south. Mildew and such grows in the coil and the heat cooks the stink out. Regular cleaning of the evaporator usually curbs it, but we use a product that's literally called 'DirtySox' and it does a fantastic job of getting rid of it. UV lights certainly help, but you have to be very careful how it's installed as they can damage ALL plastic in view of the bulb, eat holes right through airfilters and ruin insulation!
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Old 01-08-20, 08:51 PM   #9
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Some day they will come out with a cheap UVC light that will be reliable and last for many thousand hours.

That will be a great day
I've read around on a lot of HVAC forums and while a lot of people say they help, many say they're a fraud and don't do anything. Some have even said they produce ozone.

So many conflicting viewpoints it's hard to know what to believe anymore.

Our issue has mostly gone away since I cleaned the coild pretty well with a spray on foam cleaner. Hopefully it stays that way. If it doesn't I'll probably be looking at the UV route.

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