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The smelly HVAC unit that almost had us move homes

My roommate and I moved into a new home together shortly after graduating, and we found the coziest and most beautiful two-bedroom apartment close to our office.

  • The condo was close to almost every service provider, including the HVAC company, which is how we made friends with the HVAC technician who handled home service for the houses in our block.

He was our agemate, so we also often hung out at the local bar and coffee shop. Our place wasn’t always perfect, especially since the HVAC unit had some minor issues, often resolved with simple HVAC maintenance. Our HVAC professional friend had taught us how to change the air filter for improved air quality since we kept paying them to change it for us in the first few months when we moved in. His logic was that we needed to save that money and buy an air purification system to help with indoor comfort because our houses still felt musty to him. Interestingly, we all thought it was his hypersensitivity and had nothing to do with the apartment’s air quality systems. Then one evening, we opened the door after a night out, and the funky smell struck us that we both got sober. The air smelt so foul we thought the sewer had broken in our house, but we couldn’t see anything that correlated with it. With the air quality compromised, we called the caretaker, who called the local contractor, hoping they would figure out what reeked in the houses. An inspection revealed the dirt that had been collecting in the ductwork where there was mold and what looked like lint which they resolved with extensive duct cleaning. That solved all our musty house issues, and we stayed on until I had to move to another city.

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