Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: West Central Illinois by the old Mississippi.
Absolutely the system must be cleaned thoroughly or the problem could return.
All mold and mold spores must be removed during the cleaning. There are very few products that will kill the spores themselves.
This is especially important for people with allergies to mold or in the rare instance that it could be Black mold which is highly toxic.
In some cases it might be advisable to send a sample in for testing.
The problem is that when the filter gets dirty it filters less air. The dirtier it gets the less it filters.
That causes a loss of air flow through the system. That is real bad when it happens.
That leads to mold in the condenser unit and elsewhere which is now lacking air flow and increased humidity.
Mold causes the smell. Mold needs several things to exist.
* Food, that is any organic matter like dirt/dust.
* Lack of air flow
* Relative humidity of 70% or higher.
* Temperature, that is generally what we humans enjoy. Below freezing it does not grow but will grow if it warms. Warmer the faster.
Mold is everywhere in our environment but can only exist in the above conditions. HVAC systems are prime candidates for this issue.
About the only way that can happen in our cooling system, short of a backed up drain hole, is the filter not doing its job.
The dirtier that filter gets the less air flow you get. A lack of air flow is the most likely reason for the smell which is being caused by the mold.
A new filter may help because the increased air flow will stop the mold growth from continuing. But any existing mold just goes dormant till the next opportunity to grow.
Cabin Air Filters should be changed depending on use and individual circumstances. Recommended maintenance for that filter (20,000 miles) is too long in some cases in my opinion.
Mine at 2 years and 14,000 was dirty and thus impeding air flow and raising humidity levels in the system. A good quality filter will catch more than dirt. It will catch mold spores and keep them from circulating in your Cherokee. If the filter itself gets moist from a lack of air flow you could have mold on the filter itself.
I will change mine every 12 months from now on. I now have a sticker on the Cabin air filter panel reminding me its there with the date.
2014 Cherokee Limited 4x4
V6 w/ AD2
Tech Group (both parts)
Max Care Life Service Plan