I moved into a 425 sq ft apartment about a month ago. The AC had a leak for awhile. When I found it, they replaced the AC. I have had the new AC for about 2 weeks.

I have a musky old wood odor in my apartment that is real strong. I bought a air cleaner and all it does it suck the odor in more and spread it around.

I believe the odor is coming from the air intake compartment. When I put my nose to the air intake compartment, I can not smell the odor. But when I run my AC fan it fills my apartment with the odor.

I took a picture of one of the pieces of wood that would get wet when the old AC leaked. Would this piece of wood be the culprit of the smell? Even if I can't smell the odor when I place my nose near it the intake compartment? enter image description here

  • 2
    smell works via particles, so the stink must be stronger as you get closer to the source. you might be pulling in bad air from elsewhere, but since AC doesn't typically vent, i suspect there's a part of your room that stinks and the fan merely stirs up the stench. i would examine below the known leak.
    – dandavis
    Sep 8, 2017 at 13:26
  • @dandavis The air intake compartment isn't sealed. There are cracks from movement of the building over years and the interior wall is exposed in the back of the ac intake(which I can not reach). Could the air it is pulling from the interior wall be causing the smell? When I put my nose in the air intake I don't smell the musty wood odor.
    – dman
    Sep 8, 2017 at 14:07
  • 1
    yes, there could be a bunch of rotting dead roaches and rat turds in the lower wall void.
    – dandavis
    Sep 8, 2017 at 14:17
  • Have you tried the charcoal in the duct work and/or charcoal in netted bags or the cut to size air filter plus charcoal filter.for the A/C duct or fan housing as explained in an earlier suggestion. Also, anytime anything gets wet it usually emits a foul odor until .that material dries. The odor would not be coming from the intake of a new A/C unit but from somewhere else in the room and is being drawn into the intake. Check closely, The smell may not be coming from where you think, so check every where in the apartment.
    – d.george
    Sep 8, 2017 at 14:24
  • 1
    That is just one piece of wood that you can see. The plywood above or adjacent to it looks new, or more importantly, not the same age as the 2x6, 2x4, 1x4 whatever it is....... The water damage that was there "for a while" (considering you've been there a short time and the leak was there for an undetermined amount of large time) the damage is almost certainly more than what you are showing us. To @dandavis 's point, When you run the A/C negative pressure is created in the home where air circulation is pulling air from anywhere it can with the least path of resistance.
    – noybman
    Sep 8, 2017 at 22:54


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