Common Mini Split Smells: What They Mean And How To Fix Them

Why Does My Mini Split Smell Funny? Common Causes And Fixes

Common Mini Split Smells: What They Mean And How To Fix ThemYour nose knows! A funky smell coming from your mini split is a sign of a problem. Depending on the odor, it could be anything from an electrical issue to mold infestation to a problem outside your home.

No matter the cause (or the stench), it’s always important to investigate it right away. Even though the problem could be small and easy to fix, it won’t remain that way.

Minor issues get more severe over time. If you ignore it for too long, you’ll end up paying a lot more for a more extensive repair.

Even worse, you’ll compromise the indoor air quality in your home: The air you breathe will be less healthy and can make you sick.

But the good news is that it’s a simple fix most times. And, with mini splits, in particular, a good deep-cleaning clears up most issues with one last visit.

We’ll walk you through troubleshooting based on what you’re experiencing. If you think you need a cleaning or have more questions about the system in your Kuna, ID home — or any house or business in the Treasure Valley — call HydroKleen208 at (208) 779-5596.

We’ll answer all your questions and help you decide if it’s time for a cleaning.

Four Common Mini Splits Smells And What Do Do About Them

These are the four most common odors people notice coming from their mini split:

  1. Chemicals Or Vinegar
  2. Seafood Or Fish
  3. Sewage Or Rotten Eggs
  4. Stale Or Cheesy

We’ll explain what each means and what you should do about them.

Mini Split Smells Like Chemicals Or Vinegar

Electrical problems inside an air handler cause a smell people describe as “chemical” or sometimes like white vinegar. The strong, sharp odor usually means something’s overheating or burning inside the unit.

You can investigate this by looking for brown droplets after taking off the cover and filter. They may look like animal droppings, but what you’re seeing is the sign of something melting and dripping off deeper inside the unit.

Related: 5 Reasons You’ll Love A Mini Split Cleaning

Turn off that air handler if you notice this, and check the others as well. And call your HVAC company right away. It’s nothing you can fix yourself, and you risk major damage if you leave it unattended.

Mini Split Smells Like Seafood Or Fish

Animal remains near your heat pump or air handlers result in your mini split producing a smell similar to seafood or fish. The scent comes from bacteria and other contaminants from the decomposing body.

Start by checking outside near the heat pump. Next, sniff near the walls around your air handler for any natural decaying smells.

It’s worth clarifying a difference here between ductless systems and conventional central air: A fish smell in traditional forced-air systems is usually the sign of an electrical problem, while a rotten egg smell often means a dead animal.

But, as you’ve seen already, these odors mean different problems for mini splits.

Mini Split Smells Like Sewage

A sewage smell coming from your mini split indicates a wastewater problem somewhere in or around your home. There’s a broken sewage pipe, and your HVAC system is circulating the odor.

Once again, turn off the system and check around the house for more odors. Sniff around outside, too.

And, if you feel weak, dizzy, or nauseous, open all the windows and call your HVAC contractor or plumber immediately. A sewage problem can also result in methane gas exposure.

Mini Split Smells Stale Or Cheesy

A stale or cheesy mini split smell is a sign of a mold problem. It’s called Dirty Sock Syndrome because people often describe it as smelling like an old gym bag. The cause is mold and mildew building up inside the air handler, usually on the coil.

It’s pretty common: Your air handler is warm from all the electronics at work, and there’s no light in there. When you combine that with the moisture from the air condensing inside it, you end up with a perfect breeding ground for mold.

The best way to get rid of the problem is with a deep cleaning, and we’ll discuss that in more detail later.

Regular Maintenance For Mini Splits Prevents Odors

You can head off most mini split odors with some easy preventative maintenance:

  • Cleaning The Air Filter
  • Annual Tune-Ups
  • Deep Cleaning

Related: How Often Should A Mini Split Be Cleaned?

Clean The Air Filter

Take the reusable air filters out of your air handlers once a month and clean them out. This gets rid of all sorts of dust, dirt, and debris. And it improves airflow, which in turn prevents other buildup inside the system.

Related: Six Telltale Signs Your Mini Split Needs Cleaning

Annual Tune Ups

Call an HVAC company in the spring for a tune-up. That’s when they inspect and clean out your system. You’ll need one in the fall, too, if your mini split heats your home as well. A quick visit heads off all sorts of problems.

Deep Cleaning

Regular Service Is The Best Way To Avoid Repairs

A deep cleaning goes much further than a tune-up when it comes to cleaning your system. A regular HVAC contractor may clear some surface dirt but can’t get too far into the units.

Instead, HydroKleen208 uses specialized tools and non-toxic, environmentally-safe cleaners to flush out your entire system without taking it apart.

It’s the best way to be sure your air isn’t filled with mold spores, allergens, and other microbial contaminants circulating from your mini split.

Related: What Does It Cost To Clean A Heat Pump?

Mini Split Cleaning In Kuna, ID

HydroKleen208 is the worldwide industry leader for mini split cleaning in Kuna, ID and across the Treasure Valley. We bring more than ten years of dedicated research and development to every visit. Call us at (208) 779-5596 or click below to set your appointment.

Can Air Conditioning Trigger Asthma Symptoms And Attacks?

Can Air Conditioning Trigger Asthma Symptoms And Attacks?

Can Air Conditioning Trigger Asthma Symptoms And Attacks?

Air conditioning is a double-edged sword for people with asthma: You can use it to improve your indoor air quality and eliminate common asthma triggers. But, an AC with even minor problems or maintenance needs causes flare-ups and asthma attacks.

It’s a critical topic for the summer. It’s peak allergy season, with plenty of pollen everywhere. Even a summer shower can be a trigger for asthma attacks.

Related: Common Asthma Triggers From Mother Nature (And How To Avoid Them)

And, we keep our doors and windows shut all the time once the AC starts running. Without fresh air circulation, there is all sorts of buildup, especially dust and pollen, in the home.

As a result, indoor triggers are a massive contributor to asthma flare-ups and even death. But, there’s plenty you can do to make your home safer — starting with your cooling system in the summer.

We’ll explore the good and the bad of AC’s and asthma in this article. That includes what cooling features you can use to improve indoor air quality. And, what to watch out for — and how to fix it. 

Related: Breathe Smarter: New Asthma Treatment Technology [2022]

If you have questions or concerns about our home’s indoor air quality or any problems with your mini split, call HydroKleen208 at (208) 779-5596. We serve homes and businesses from Boise, ID to Cascade in Valley County. 

Air Conditioners And Asthma

Your air conditioner can help alleviate asthma symptoms. But only if it’s working properly. If it’s not, your AC makes things worse.


Along with keeping you cool, an air conditioner reduces the presence of significant asthma triggers.


When the AC’s running, air flows from each room through the return vent and into your HVAC system. The filter captures all the dust and dirt that comes in with it.

That means fewer dust particles in the air to trigger coughing fits, trouble breathing, or a full-on asthma attack. And, you can upgrade to a stronger filter that catches tiny contaminants, including pollen.

Humidity Control

Part of your AC’s job is to dehumidify your home or remove moisture from the air. Along with keeping you cool, it makes it easier to breathe.

Air with too much moisture affects the nerves in your lungs, which cause your airways to tighten. Keeping your home between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity reduces the chance of that happening.


The two features on your air conditioner that help manage asthma can also make it worse.

Dust And Dirty Filters

Eventually, the air filter in your HVAC system gets clogged with dirt. The result is less airflow throughout the house because air can’t make it past the dirty screen and into the system.

That means less cool, dry air in the house and more warm, humid air.

Next, excess dust comes loose from the filter and make its way back through the vents. All those tiny irritants are now circulating through your home again, where you can breathe them in.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: Change the filter every month when you’re running the heat or AC. And put a new one in every three months when the system’s off.


Mold is a bigger problem with mini splits than conventional central air. And, once again, humidity is a significant factor.

Mold triggers asthma symptoms in the form of an allergic reaction: When you breathe in spores floating through the air, your body perceives them as a threat. Along with other responses, your immune system causes your airways to constrict. 

Cooling and humidity control prevents mold spores from growing at home because they require someplace dark, damp, and warm. 

But, it’s dark and warm inside your AC unit. That’s also where moisture from the air condenses back into the liquid. It doesn’t take much for even a small malfunction to allow mold to begin thriving. 

Even just a dirty filter can cause this problem: Interrupting the airflow means more warmth and stagnant water inside your cooling system. 

Mini Splits Vs. Conventional ACs

A Ductless Mini Split Is A Great Heating And Cooling OptionEven though forced-air systems are more common, ductless systems are becoming more popular. That’s especially so here in Boise and up in Valley County. 

Mini splits are an excellent option for upgrading their century-old homes in Boise or converted vacation homes in Donnelley or McCall that never had ductwork. 

Even larger luxury houses in Caldwell and new suburban homes in Kuna benefit from the upgrade. Most new homes don’t have the best ductwork design, and some owners have bypassed that by going with a ductless system instead. 

But, with those benefits come a few indoor air quality concerns, especially for people with asthma. Fortunately, they’re easy to address. 


Unlike conventional central air, mini split filters are reusable. Instead of buying those cardboard-framed filters at the hardware store, you take out a plastic screen, clean it, and put it back in.

It’s a little more work, and as a result, people tend to put it off longer. That means more dust and dirt building up inside the air handler.

Meanwhile, ductless air handlers are excellent for airflow. Most have more than a dozen circulation patterns to spread the air — and dust — far and wide.


The big problem with mini splits is mold — and it’s more common than you’d imagine. Instead of one cooling unit for your home, each air handler dehumidifies from inside the room it’s treating.

So, you get a lot of moisture moving over the coils in each indoor unit. The result? That perfect dark, damp, and warm breeding ground.

What’s even worse is that the coil gets clogged very quickly. Even within a year, you may notice less airflow and maybe even stale air in some rooms. Here’s what’s happening inside the system:

A Ductless System Can Get Moldy If Not Taken Care Of

A clogged coil that can’t function properly. What makes the air stale or smelly is mold circulating from the unit.

Even for a professional HVAC tech, it’s difficult to take apart an air handler and clean it thoroughly. Instead, you need a separate deep cleaning.

Related: How Often Should A Mini Split Be Cleaned?

Mini Split Deep Cleaning

HydroKleen Global designed a mini split deep cleaning that eradicates all the dust, allergens, and microbial contaminants inside your mini split with one quick and easy visit. Now, HydroKleen208 brings that technology to the Treasure Valley. 

Related: Breathe Better, Stay Healthy, Keep Comfy: The HydroKleen Difference

Our customized equipment reaches every surface inside your air handler and heat pump without taking them apart. Our sprayers are calibrated to do the job without using so much pressure that they’ll break any delicate parts inside the units. 

And, our cleaning solution is 100-percent non-toxic and safe for the environment. 

And, the results speak for themselves. Here’s a photo where one of our techs cleaned the right side of the coil in an air handler. Compare that to the uncleaned portion:

You Can See How Dirty A Mini Split System Can Get

If you’ve had a mini split for more than a year, it’s time for a cleaning — especially if you’ve noticed any airflow or indoor air quality issues. 

One visit makes a big difference. You may even notice lower electric bills afterward because a clean system runs more efficiently than one that’s clogged and dirty. 

Related: What Does It Cost To Clean A Heat Pump?

Mini Split Cleaning In Cascade, ID

HydroKleen208 guarantees the most effective mini split cleaning for the ductless system in your Cascade, ID home or business. We bring more than a decade of dedicated research and development to Valley County and Boise Metro. Click below or call us at (208) 779-5596.

The Thermostat, Office Comfort, & Indoor Air Quality

Don’t Touch That Thermostat! [Comfort & Indoor Air Quality In Offices]

Don't Touch The Thermostat! [Office Comfort & Indoor Air Quality]Thermostat wars in the office are a real problem. It’s common to hear about employees changing the temperature behind their coworkers’ backs — and then someone else adjusting it again.

Sometimes, the cause is simply different people feeling comfortable at different temperatures. But in many cases, it’s a sign there’s something wrong with your heating and cooling system.

That’s especially so if your office or commercial space uses a ductless mini split for climate control. These systems are excellent for comfort and energy efficiency. But, their performance dips significantly over time — especially without the correct maintenance.

A dirty mini split struggles to maintain the temperature you want. Even if the thermostats read the right temperature, it may not feel like that in the room.

What’s worse, the stuff that’s clogging it up — anything from dirt and dust to bacteria and mold — makes people feel sick. And this can happen even if your HVAC contractor services the system once or twice a year.

This article will go over two big warning signs that your mini split is causing indoor air quality issues. Then, we’ll look at how a deep cleaning can make a huge difference.

And, if you have concerns about indoor air quality or with the mini split in your Boise Metro or Valley County business, call HydroKleen today at (208) 779-5596.

Is The Temperature In Your Office Hard To Control?

Mini splits should maintain a constant temperature better than forced-air systems. But you’ll get wider temperature swings than normal when something’s wrong.

That’s when you notice more people bickering over the temperature and sparring at the thermostat.

One of the most common causes is the buildup on the coils inside your handler.

Those components play a pivotal role in the heat transfer process: Moving warmth inside in the cold weather and removing it when it’s hot outside. You won’t get that effect when the coils are all gunked up.

Is Your Indoor Air Quality Getting Worse?

Poor indoor air quality goes hand-in-hand with mini split performance issues. The same problems that cause the temperature swings — dirt and microbial contaminants in the air handlers — also make the air you’re breathing less healthy.

Related: Healthy Indoor Air Is Essential For People With Asthma

Common Complaints

According to the EPA, common complaints and effects of poor indoor air quality in the office include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Bad Smells

Sick Building Syndrome

The EPA defines Sick Building Syndrome as “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be defined.”

Employers are obligated to provide a healthy work environment. If your heating and cooling system is causing illness, you need to address it as soon as possible. 

Fortunately, we can help. 

Related: Biotoxin-Related Illnesses And Your HVAC System

How Mini Split Cleanings Eliminate Indoor Air Quality Problems

A mini split deep cleaning eliminates many of the Sick Building Syndrome problems that affect your employee’s health and your bottom line.

The HydroKleen Waste Water Is Safe And Easy To Dispose OfIt can even reduce problems for people with asthma. And, yes, a cleaning may even help put an end to people fighting over the thermostat. 

With HydroKleen, you get the world’s best, most comprehensive mini split deep cleaning. And we mean that literally. 

Related: How Often Should A Mini Split Be Cleaned?

HydroKleen has serviced more than 1.5 million mini splits around the world. And each visit is backed by the best guarantee in the business: If you’re not satisfied, you don’t pay us a dime.

 And, we’ll pay for a competitor to come in after us. 

Our cleaners get in between every tiny fin on the coils in your air handler. They reach behind the barrel fans and touch every inch of the unit. And, we don’t have to disassemble anything to do it. 

That makes cleaning fast and easy — and way less expensive. 

And our cleaning agents are hypoallergenic and nontoxic. We’re not getting rid of some pollutants and then leaving you with other dangerous chemicals in the air.

 Related: How (And Why) We Only Use Non-Toxic, Environmentally-Friendly Cleaners

More HydroKleen Benefits

Asset management is important for property managers and business owners — and we help with that, too. A clean mini split means:

  • Lower Bills
  • Fewer Repairs
  • Longer Service Life

Lower Bills

Without dirt and other pollutants hindering the heat transfer process, your mini split needs less electricity to do the job right. That means lower utility bills.

Fewer Repairs

Just as with any HVAC system, you’ll have fewer breakdowns when the components inside your air handlers and heat pump are clean and optimized to run smoothly. There’s less wear and tear and fewer service calls to pay for.

Longer Service Life

In all, a well-maintained mini split lasts longer. You’ll get more years of service for your investment than if you only had routine maintenance.

Mini Split Cleaning In Boise, ID

HydroKleen208 guarantees the best mini split in Boise, ID and across the Treasure Valley. If you don’t feel a difference in your office as soon as we’re through, the cleaning is free! And, we’ll pay a competitor to come in after us. Call (208) 779-5596 to learn how to keep your business and employees healthy.