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.

Common Asthma Triggers (And How To Avoid Them)

How To Make Your Home Safe From Mother Nature’s Common Asthma Triggers

Common Asthma Triggers From Mother Nature (And How To Avoid Them)Let’s face it: Mother Nature is no friend to people with asthma. Sure, manufactured chemicals and toxins may trigger attacks. But there are plenty of hazards in the natural world that do the same.

And, some of them may surprise you. For instance, did you know that a thunderstorm can cause asthma attacks for thousands of people at once? 

Or, how wildfires on the west coast and here in Idaho affect people with asthma?

This article discusses common (and surprising) asthma triggers out there thanks to Mother Nature. We’ll also discuss preventing attacks and steps you can take to remove many natural triggers from your home. 

Improving indoor air quality is an essential part of what we do here at HydroKleen208. If you’re concerned about the air quality in your home near Cascade, ID or Boise Metro, give us a call at (208) 779-5596.

Related: Excellent Indoor Air Quality Is Crucial For People With Asthma


Wildfires are unhealthy for everyone. Even if you’re hundreds of miles away, the smoke and ash can irritate your nose, throat, eyes, and lungs. People with asthma, COPD, or other respiratory issues get it even worse. 

In particular, the smoke and ash irritate and inflames your lungs. These conditions make it much harder to breathe, which triggers asthma attacks. What’s worse is that the smoke lingers for days or weeks. That means prolonged exposure. 

Here in Idaho, wildfires are a big problem, especially in the summer. Not only do we deal with wildfires in our state. We also get pollution from fires in nearby Washington, Oregon, and California.

How To Prevent

For starters, stock up on air filters for your heating and cooling system early in the year. Even a basic filter helps screen out smoke and ash in your house. But if there’s a shortage by spring, you’re stuck when wildfire season hits. 

You can keep track of wildfires in Boise Metro or Valley County by following the news or checking Idaho’s wildfire site. And in general, you can check your air quality by zip code any time using this site.

If you have a mini split system, you wash and reuse your filter. In that case, clean it more often when there’s wildfire smoke nearby. And, we’ll talk more about mini split cleaning later on. 

Next, keep some particulate respirator masks on hand. Those would be N95 or P100 masks. Cloth masks don’t work nearly as well. 

Epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma

Believe it or not, a severe thunderstorm can trigger asthma attacks. Technically it’s not the storm itself. The culprit is usually pollen

Heavy rain and sudden changes to temperature or humidity cause pollen grains to open and release high amounts of pollen at once. Then, high winds spread the pollen, and fungal spores, quickly. 

Thunderstorm asthma isn’t the most common problem for people with asthma. It doesn’t occur with every storm, nor does it always happen on a day when the pollen count is high. 

However, epidemic thunderstorm asthma made headlines a few years ago in Australia, which is home to our parent company, HydroKleen Global. Ten people died as a result, and the event sent thousands of people to the emergency room

How To Prevent It

Since thunderstorm asthma isn’t common, you don’t need to worry every time the weather calls for showers. But, if there’s a heavy storm on the way in spring and summer, or when there’s a high pollen count, take some extra precaution. 

Treat the event like any day with a high pollen count

Make sure you have your inhaler

  • Use preventer medication if you have it
  • Try not to go outside and keep your windows closed
  • Remove your shoes when you get home
  • Make sure the air filters in your HVAC system are clean

Related: Breathe Smarter Thanks To New Asthma Treatment Technology

Pollen And Other Allergens

Most people think about pollen as a problem for people with allergies. But, asthma and seasonal allergies are a common combination. Airborne allergens trigger asthma attacks, too.

When you have a pollen allergy, your body reacts to this harmless substance as if it’s an invader like a virus or something else that can make you sick.

Your immune system pumps out chemicals to fight the invasion. That results in itchy eyes, runny noses, and congestion.

The problem is that reaction also affects the lungs and airways, triggering an asthma attack.

How To Prevent It

We already mentioned some strategies for high pollen count days. There are also some basic precautions:

Check the pollen account and air quality forecasts every day. Pay close attention in the spring and summer.

Use a particle mask when gardening. You’re likely to encounter pollen near plants, so take extra care.

Have your rescue medication ready. Make sure your inhaler or albuterol is nearby on high pollen count days. If you’re having severe reactions, your doctor can recommend stronger treatments

Stick to a regular cleaning regimen at home. Wash your sheets weekly, vacuum rugs, and wipe surfaces with a damp cloth.

Mold, Mildew, Fungus, And Bacteria

Mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria all irritate your lungs and airways. They cause inflammation the same way pollen does. Too much exposure makes anyone feel sick, plus it’s an asthma trigger.

Related: Symptoms And Warning Signs Mold Toxicity Or Poisoning

How To Prevent It

Once again, a regular cleaning regimen helps keep many of these natural irritants at bay. In particular, you also want to eliminate conditions in your home that make it easy for mold and fungus to thrive.

That means looking for — and clearing out — any space that’s warm, moist, and dark.

Check the corners of your basement and behind your washing machine, dryer, and refrigerator. And, if you have a mini split, we have more information for you.

Mini Split Cleaning Remove Asthma Triggers In Homes With Ductless HVAC

The insides of mini split air handlers are excellent breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and other microbial contaminants. And, it’s a bigger problem than many people here in the U.S. realize yet.

The insides of these units are warm, moist, and dark. They’re also nearly impossible to clean.

When you clean the filter, as you should, you’re only addressing that component. Even professional maintenance only scratches the surface.

It would take your HVAC tech hours to disassemble the entire unit to reach everywhere. And to clean the grooves between every fin on the coil — that’s where we find large buildups of mold, mildew, fungus, and more.

Here’s a typical photo of an air handler we cleaned. Partway through, we took a picture showing how dirty it gets — and how much of a difference a deep clean makes.

You Can See How Dirty A Mini Split System Can Get

We’re able to do this thanks to our customized equipment and cleaning agents. Our sprayers can reach in and around every part of the air handler. So, we can clean the entire thing (plus your heat pump outside) without taking it apart.

Related: How Often Should A Mini Split Be Cleaned?

Meanwhile, our cleaning agents eradicate microbial contaminants. But, they’re 100-percent non-toxic and safe for the environment.

So, we’re not pumping your home full of chemicals that will make you sick. And, you don’t need to worry about your town’s water when we flush everything out.

Related: HydroKleen’s Process And Cleaning Agents Are Non-Toxic And 100-Percent Environmentally-Safe

We mentioned our parent company, HydroKleen Global, earlier. They’ve spent more than a decade in research and development. Now, HydroKleen208 brings that expertise to Valley County and Boise Metro.

Mini Split And Heat Pump Cleaning In And Around Cascade, ID

HydroKleen208 provides the world’s most effective mini split and heat pump cleaning for homes and businesses in Cascade, ID and anywhere in the Treasure Valley. If you’re not satisfied, it’s free. Click below for an appointment or call (208) 779-5596 to learn more.

Guide: Why Is My Mini-Split Not Heating or Blowing Hot Air?

Why Is My Mini Split Not Heating My Home Or Not Blowing Hot Air?

Guide: Why Is My Mini-Split Not Heating or Blowing Hot Air?There are many possible reasons why your mini split isn’t blowing hot air or warming your home. Most of them boil down to buildup inside the air handlers that prevent airflow or heat transfer. Now, there’s an easy fix for that.

This article walks you through the four most common reasons a mini spit won’t work correctly. You can handle a few of these on your own. For others, you’ll need a professional.

But, the good news is that in many cases, that professional isn’t an HVAC contractor. Instead, you can schedule a mini split cleaning that usually solves the problem — and offers a few other benefits as well.

Of course, we need to warn you not to start taking apart your air handler or heat pump. These units have some tiny, delicate parts in there. It’s easier than you may think to make the problem much worse.

Related: Mini Split Improper Installation: What Could Go Wrong?

Instead, run through our quick DIY troubleshooting. Then, give HydroKleen208 a call if you’re in Valley County or Boise Metro here in Idaho. We’ll answer your questions over the phone and help you decide if cleaning is the right move. You can reach us at (208) 779-5596.

Four Common Reasons Your Mini Split Is Not Blowing Hot Air

The four common things to check for when your mini split is not heating your home or blowing any hot air are:

  1. Wrong Thermostat Settings
  2. Dirty Or Clogged Filter
  3. Frozen Coil
  4. Clogged Coil

You can fix the first two yourself, and we’ll go through all four in-depth.

Wrong Thermostat Settings

Sometimes, the problem is simply the thermostat setting on your air handler.

For instance, if you don’t switch from “Cool” to “Heat,” your heat pump waits for the house to get warmer than the setting. In the winter, you want the opposite: Heat coming on when it goes below that call.

Or, there’s “Fan Only,” which only circulates air without moving heat around. This is more common on forced-air systems, but it’s an option here as well. In the winter, it would only move around the air in the room — which is cold when there’s no heat.

Read More: My Mini Split Won’t Turn On: Four Common Causes (And How To Fix Them)

What To Do

Check the thermostat on each air handler. Make sure they’re set to “Heat” and not “Fan Only.” Then, set them to the temperature you want.

Dirty Or Clogged Filter

The filter in your mini split traps all sorts of dust and debris. When that stuff floats through the air and into the air handler, the filter prevents it from going further into the unit and then blowing back out.

But that filter gets clogged eventually. When that happens, it blocks airflow. Now, your air handler is trying to move heat into the room. But, there’s no circulation, so you don’t get any hot air.

Related: How To Spot And Fix A Condensate Drain Line Clog

What To Do

Open the panel on your air handler and check the filter. Does it look like this?
A Dirty Ductless Filter

If so, clean it right away. Then, see if that solves the problem. If it does, make sure to clean it once a month from now on — that’s the usual manufacturer recommendation.

Frozen Coil

A mini split heat pump can “ice up” or “ice over.” It’s when water on the coil freezes. Then, it can’t draw in heat and circulate it inside your home. The result is a system running in the winter but delivering cold air instead of warmth.

The two main culprits here are a dirty coil or a refrigerant leak. We’ll talk about the coil in our next section.

A refrigerant leak produces freezing-cold air in the heat pump and on the coil. It’s so cold that all the moisture on it or in the air freezes up. It ices over and prevents heat transfer.







What To Do

Listen for hissing sounds or chemical smells near the heat pump. Those are signs of a refrigerant leak. IF you notice them, call your HVAC contractor right away.

If not, disconnect the power to your heat pump. Once the ice melts, power it back on. If it happens again, call a professional.
Meanwhile, visually inspect the coil if you can see it. Take off the filter in your air handler as well. If they are visibly dirty, you need a cleaning. That may solve the problem.

Clogged Coil

A clogged coil causes heating problems even if you don’t notice ice on the system. In fact, the ice problem is rare. A far more common symptom is air handlers not working as well as they used to is a far more common symptom.

Once again, the problem is a clogged coil: All sorts of gunk, from dust to even mold, builds up in between the tiny fins and prevents proper heat transfer and circulation.

It happens on the heat pump outside and inside your air handlers. And, it results in hot and cold spots in the house or getting cold air when you want heat.

What To Do

Start with a deep cleaning. It’s a more detailed, involved process than what you’d get with routine maintenance from your regular HVAC provider. And that’s no slight on them. It’s just that this is a specialized process.

What you want is a service that gets behind and inside every component of your air handler and mini split to flush out contaminants and eradicate any microbial organic pollutants.

Related: How Often Should A Mini Split Be Cleaned?

What Do You Get With A Mini Split Cleaning?

HydroKleen208 uses equipment and cleaning agents designed to quickly and completely flush and sanitize your entire mini split system. You’d be amazed (and probably grossed-out) by what lurks inside your air handlers and heat pump.

Here’s an example from a recent job. As always, we pause halfway through to show the homeowner the difference we’ve made. So far, we’ve cleaned the left side. Check out the horror show on the right:

And, we’re sorry to say, this isn’t an unusual case. If you’ve never had your system cleaned out before, your units probably look like this as well.

Fortunately, we can make a huge difference with one quick visit.

Related: What To Expect With A HydroKleen Visit

Mini Split Cleaning In Donnelly, ID

HydroKleen208 specializes in mini split deep cleaning for homes and businesses in Donnelly, ID, Valley County, and Boise Metro. We guarantee our tools and cleaning agents will get your mini split working like new. If they don’t, our visit is free. Click below or call us at (208) 779-5596.

How Mold In Ductless Mini Splits Cause Biotoxin Illness

Biotoxin Illness, Mold, And Common Mini Split Problems In Boise, Idaho

Are you concerned about mold in your home? You should be. Many strains of mold can cause what’s called biotoxin illness. Or, more specifically, toxic mold syndrome. And, if you heat and cool your home with a ductless mini split, this problem is more likely than you realize.

Mini splits are fantastic in many ways: They use less energy than conventional HVAC setups. And, they can make your home way more comfortable.

But, the downside is that they’re a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms that can cause biotoxin illness.


How Mold In Ductless Mini Splits Cause Biotoxin IllnessEven if you keep your home spotless, it’s still a threat. And, it’s becoming more of a risk as ductless systems become more popular.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already familiar with biotoxin illness. If you’re not, we’ll explain more about it in a moment. And, if you already know about it, we’ll tell you about how you can prevent it in your home.

We’ll focus most on your mini split, of course. That’s our specialty. But we can also help you find more resources if you think there’s a bigger problem in your home. Homeowners, businesses, and property managers in Boise Metro or Valley County can start by giving us a call at (208) 779-5596.

We can schedule your first cleaning right away. Or, we can start by answering your questions.

What Is Biotoxin Illness?

Biotoxin illness is a general term for a host of problems stemming from exposure to any number of microbial contaminants, harmful biological organisms, or neurotoxins. Any time you’ve heard about Pontiac Fever or Legionnaires Disease, or Sick Building Syndrome, or even tetanus, you’ve heard about biotoxin illness.

Related: What Is Microbrial Contamination?

Toxic Mold Syndrome

When it comes to your mini split, the biggest threat is toxic mold syndrome. The inside of your air handlers are warm, dark, and moist — perfect for mold to grow. And when it does, those spores spread through the air, to other parts of the house, and into your lungs.

Now, we’ll note that toxic mold syndrome is a controversial diagnosis. You’ll find some sources saying it’s a myth or a misdiagnosis.

But, we know for sure that mold is a major asthma trigger. People with allergies are also sensitive to it. And, just about anyone can end up with a bad cough or wheezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, or even fever and shortness of breath

Call it what you like. The bottom line is that mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms build up inside your mini split. And, they’ll make you feel sick.

Related: Common Indoor Air Toxins And Their Symptoms

Biotoxins, Mold, And Indoor Air Quality

Biotoxin exposure, particularly mold spores, can occur through airborne transmission: You breathe in the pollutants that make you sick. These illnesses are why indoor air quality is a huge issue today.

According to the CDC, Americans now spend around 90 percent of their day indoors. And recently, we’ve been spending even more of that time at home. The work-from-home revolution is in full swing, and plenty of parents opt to home-school their children here in Idaho.

Because of this, the air in your home needs to be cleaner than ever before.

Related: Excellent Indoor Air Quality Is Essential For People With Asthma

Mini Splits

Mini splits, or ductless HVAC systems, provide better, more “even” comfort than forced-air or baseboard heat. And they use way less energy than other systems.

But, they can be a nightmare for indoor air quality, even with their advanced filtration systems. The problems lurk deep inside the air handlers.

The inside of your wall-mounted unit is warm, dark, and moist — the exact conditions mold, bacteria, and other biotoxins need to grow. And, when the fans turn on, your system circulates all that nasty stuff throughout your home.

Related: How Often Should Your Mini Split Be Cleaned?

Why Mini Split Cleaning Is Important (And Difficult)




The good news is that a deep cleaning virtually eradicates them. That’s easier said than done — and we’ll explain why in a moment — but it’s worth it for a few reasons.


Health Benefits

Eliminating biotoxins and microorganisms in your mini split prevents those contaminants from spreading through your home and into your lungs. That also goes for dust, dirt, pet dander, and other junk that builds upon the coils and behind the barrel fans.

Comfort And Efficiency

Clean heat pumps and air handlers function better. If you’ve noticed a rising electric bill or hot and cold spots in your home, a dirty mini split is often the culprit.

Cleaning Challenges

Until recently, the only way to really clean an air handler would be taking it apart and manually scrubbing each part. That includes carefully brushing between each fin on the coil.

Picture all the tiny grooves on the exterior of a conventional AC condenser outside a house. That’s what’s behind the panel on your wall-mounted unit. Now imagine scrubbing them one by one without bending any of them.

Related: HydroKleen’s Cleaning Agents Are Non-Toxic And 100 Percent Environmentally-Safe

This process would take all day, even for an experienced HVAC contractor. And, they’d have to charge for all that time. It’s too expensive of a job in that case.

Now, however, there’s a better way.

Why You Need A HydroKleen Cleaning

HydroKleen Global, our parent company, poured over a decade of research and development into a mini split deep cleaning that’s fast, effective, and safe.

The short version is that we essentially flush out every mold spore, bacterium, and speck of dust from inside the mini split using specialized equipment and a custom, non-toxic, hypoallergenic cleaning agent.

It’s all precisely calibrated to reach every nook and cranny with enough pressure to do the job without damaging anything. You can get a closer look in this video:

Heat Pump Cleaning In McCall, ID

Today, HydroKleen208 is the leader for heat pump cleaning in McCall, ID and down through Boise Metro. We guarantee you’ll notice a difference in your home immediately. And, if you’re not satisfied, you pay us nothing. Then, we pay one of our competitors to do your next cleaning. To learn more or schedule an appointment, click below or call us at (208) 779-5596.