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Old 10-07-2019, 09:59 AM   #1
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Basement air unit

We have a 2002 Winnebago Adventurer 35U. We have problem with a musty smell coming up from the unit into the bedroom. Seems to be coming out of the grate at the side of the bed. It is only noticable when the air unit is not operating. Has anyone had this problem. I suspect it may have to be pulled out and cleaned. Can anyone give me some pointers on how you clean out the coils etc. There is a drain hole in the bottom of the pan underneath. I checked it and it seems to be clear. Maybe there is a build up of old dried moisture/mildew in the pan...just saying. I also change the filter under the bed regularly. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:12 PM   #2
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If you believe the smell is originating at the coils or the unit, the only way I know is to remove it (very heavy), remove the access panel. Typically there is no other access to the core. Once out, determine what the smell is and treat the ducts appropriately vacuuming first. Dont force cleaning implements down ducting. Very easy to puncture them. Caution: Winnebago EMS requires minor modifications to the original wiring. Copiously note wiring connections. Very easy to confuse from heating manufacturers schematics.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:02 PM   #3
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If I'm not mistaken, the floor vents are only for the gas furnace, all the ac is in the ceiling vents. I had an '02 Adventurer 32' and thats the way it was. Also the heat from the engine heat exchanger is through two vents, one in front and one in back. Maybe you have a leak in the engine cooling system. Are you losing coolant at all?
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:33 PM   #4
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Can you be more specific as to the "grate at the side of the bed"? There are two, one is a floor vent for the heater at the right, or forward, side of the bed and the second is a return vent for the A/C in the left, or rear, side of the bed.

Assuming you mean the return vent, the odor would be consistent with dirty, smelly coils.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:15 AM   #5
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Yes, the grate at the side of the bed I am referring to is actually the return vent for the AC unit. That's where the musty smell is coming from. I think you are right about it being dirty coils. I was hoping for a quick solution but I think my best bet would be to actually remove the AC unit and give it a thorough cleaning as I'm sure that it has never been done by the previous owners. Thanks everyone.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:01 AM   #6
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Jim_HiTek has a good write-up here on the basement air:

D: Heating & Cooling… | Chaos Leaves Town
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:02 PM   #7
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I found the best thing to remove odors (besides cleaning visible surfaces) is to use an ozone generator.


I bought one for $200.00 on Amazon. I put it in my RV with the AC on and let it run for 6 hours, then I switched to heat (lowest setting) but had the fan running in constant on mode and let it run for another 6 hours.. That way all the duct work got sanitized as well. After that I aired the RV out for two days. Best $200.00 spent ever, my RV is odorless or neutral whatever you want to call it.


Any odor stems from an organic source. Ozone kills that source and if you have any hidden mold it will kill those spores as well. In the upcoming winter month I plan on running the ozone generator maybe once a month for about an hour while exercising the generator.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:27 AM   #8
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On the 35U there is a lift out panel in the under bed storage area which gives you access to the air filter for the AC below it. When you lift up the lid supporting the mattress you should see the rectangular lift out panel on the floor of the storage area towards the middle right The filter simply drops into place in an opening in the floor. I forget if the bedroom slide needs to be completely or just partially extended to get the best access to it.

When you remove the filter you can access the evaporator coils and spray them with evaporator coil cleaner and then rinse them with a clean garden sprayer filled with water. Sometimes the drain underneath will get plugged up when cleaning the evaporator coil however a wet vac applied from the outside will usually clean it out. The evaporator coil should be cleaned annually just like in your home. If its never been cleaned or the filter has not been changed about monthly when in use then yes I would expect it to stink quite badly after a while.

Mine had not been cleaned for a while when I first got my 35U when it was 4 years old and it took a few cleanings to get it fully clean and fresh. Efficiency picked up quite a bit too once it was clean. If the previous owner was running it without a filter then there may be a lot of dust and debris in the evaporator coil. I had to use a soft brush to clean it all out being careful to not bend the fins. I find that the pompom style toilet brush (the one without any wire in it holding it together works quite well for this). Its not easy to get into the correct position to be able to see what your doing and access the coils but it can be done without removing the entire unit. I used to service 5 Ton Ammonia Absorption Air Conditioners for a living so I am familiar with cleaning evaporator and condenser coils.

The basement air unit is just a non-split residential pad mounted ducted system like you would see in mobile homes, standard homes and offices across the country and just a bit more rugged for handling being mounted in a moving vehicle.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:52 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info Neil. I actually took the whole unit out this past weekend. Quite a job for sure! I blew a lot of dust out of the unit and tried to clean it as best as I could. I also lubricated the bearings before I put everything back together. I didn't actually use a cleaner on the evaporator coils as I was unsure and didn't want to damage them. Hopefully what I did will help with the smell. If not, I will definitely try cleaning them as you suggested. Thanks again!
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