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How To Stop Smells From Coming Through Vents

By November 16, 2021No Comments

You’re sitting at home and enjoying a cup of coffee in your kitchen. As you sit down, you begin to smell something odd. You get up and check the trash bin in your kitchen and determine that the smell is not related to your trash bin. As you begin to eliminate the possibilities of where the smell is coming from you begin to realize that your HVAC unit is on and the smell seems to be spreading to other rooms. How to stop smells from coming through vents? You can change filters in your HVAC unit and call on a professional air duct cleaning service. It is possible that you have some mold or mildew that has grown on the walls of your air ducts and it needs removing.

Let’s take a look below at the best course of action for ensuring that our air ducts are clean and not creating a smell.

Dirt and mold can cause smells to come through the vent.
Dirty moldy vent

Signs You Need To Clean The Ducts

Utilize the following checklist below to determine where the smell is coming from. Eliminate all options so that you can determine if the air vents are the actual culprit and stop the smells from coming through vents.

  • Location-if the smell in your home is prevalent throughout the home and not just one room.
  • Frequency-you smell the foul scents when your HVAC system is actively working to cool or heat your home.
  • Consistency– the smell is regularly consistent in all rooms.
  • Methodology-you have cleaned all other potential areas of smell, such as trash baskets in your bathrooms or the main trash bin in your kitchen, and the smell is still persistent.

Keep in mind, it is normal to smell burning when you first turn on your heater for the winter. As long as this smell is not persistent, you should be in good shape.

Checking the air duct system is a good way to find out why there are smells coming through the vents.
Checking the air duct system

How To Clean Air Ducts

Utilizing a professional air duct cleaning company is your best bet. You can start by vacuuming the vents, vent covers, and changing the air filters in your HVAC unit. Next, you can have a professional company come out and complete an air duct treatment.

This cleaning service utilizes multiple EPA registered solutions. Using more than one solution can ensure that the ducts will be clean. It will also make sure that all mold or mildew has been destroyed. The priority is making sure that all microbial bacterias are destroyed in the cleaning process and to stop smells from coming through vents early.

How Much Does This Cost

Believe it or not, the cost range to clean an average home’s air duct system is relatively cheap. You are investing in your health and well-being.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average cost range nationwide is $450 to $1,000 per home. The price can go up for homes that are much larger than the average square foot home.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are having a professional air duct cleaning service come out to service your HVAC air handler and clean the duct system connected to the HVAC unit, you might want to have them evaluate the longevity remaining in the system. Although you are cleaning and maintenance, it could be a great time to replace the unit altogether. So, knowing when to service is important.

Once you have determined that your maintenance on the unit is all that was needed. You can begin to look at the sealing of the attic. Keeping the attic cool so the HVAC systems don’t have to work as hard in the summer is very important. Keeping the attic cool can be done by having enough insulation in the home, light color shingles, sealing cracks, and shade landscaping to name a few.

Lastly, it is a great idea to review your records. It is important to know how long it has been since you purchased a new HVAC system or had it repaired entirely. Knowing the time frame is vital to ensuring that your home stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Understanding how long your HVAC system should last allows you to keep it working in top condition.

Change the filter to keep smells from coming through vents.
Filter change for air vent

When Do I Hire A Professional

If you are starting to detect a musty or moldy smell in your home, you should contact your local HVAC professional. Keeping the HVAC unit maintained and in proper working condition is vital to your health and well-being. Also, calling a professional HVAC company out to inspect and clean the ductwork is a great idea. They can verify it is in working condition and save you a lot of time and money.


Making sure that you have isolated the foul smell is the biggest priority. Following the checklist of how to track down the precise location of the smell is a necessary evil. If you do not have the time or the knowledge to do this task, you can reach out to Avalon Home Inspections, we conduct home inspections in Greenville, SC, and Atlanta, GA. Avalon Home Inspections can recommend a great local air duct cleaning company.

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