AC smells bad

Hello everyone
I have a 98 Accord and whenever I turn on the AC, it smells bad about a minute and gets better and finally I don't smell any. FYI, I have never
recharged the freon gas. Is it time to recharge it?
If I need to do that, how much is it going to cost me?
Many thanks in advance.
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What does it smell like? If mildew, you might have it in the system somewhere. It's not uncommon; happens from being wet and warm! I've heard you can fix it by turning on the AC full, then spraying some bleach into the intake. I've never done it myself.
The Freon should not be getting into the passenger compartment. If it is, you have a serious leak and need to get it repaired.
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Bob Burns
Mill Hall PA
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Thanks, the freon is not getting in. it's mildew.
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You could have kept mildew to a minimum by using the outside air selection instead of the recycled air selection. If you are in a humid climate then outside air does not work as well. In that case it's best to run it on recycled air till the car cools down then switch to outside air. You can buy an can of aerosol which will kill the mildew.
DaveL

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Any chance you need to replace the Cabin Air Filter, also known as Pollen Filter?
I bought mine at: http://handaaccessories.com/accmaint00.html
Bernie
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Or you can turn on the heater full blast for 10-15 mins, high heat and maybe the dampness and mildew might go away.... Cheerio.

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Mildew is caused by the AC drain being plugged and the condensation backing up in the evaporator/heater housing. You first need to clear the drain so the water will drain. Then check with an auto parts store as they have chemicals for neutralizing the mildew.

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sorts of vehicles, so I'd expect somebody is marketing a solution that helps... I just don't know about it.
In the alt.autos.volvo group one of the regulars described a mixture he sprayed into the recirculate intake with the A/C on recirc, full cold, full fan. I don't recall anything except a major ingredient was vodka, and the rest was non-toxic stuff like that. Kind of ingenious, condensing the alcohol on the evaporator to kill the mildew and then letting it drain the usual way to do more of the same. I imagine rubbing alcohol would do the same job.
Mike
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After you follow the other posters' suggestions, get in the habit of putting your CC in fresh mode when parked to avoid sealing in the residual moisture in the AC. The stickler would disengage the AC for the last minutes of the drive in fresh mode to promote some drying.
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It's Mildew. Here's the fix: (from the Dodge Trucks newsgroup)
Fresh smelling A/C: results guaranteed
Ingredients:
    1 pint of common ordinary rubbing alcohol     3-ft piece of 3/8" copper tubing with a short "J" at 1 end     1 small funnel
connect the "J" end of the copper tubing to the air conditioner condensate drain hose under the vehicle (where the water drips out when the A/C is running normally. Stick the long end of the tubing up through the engine compartment so you can reach it from above. The copper tubing must be long enough to extend above the center of the dash. Now pour the rubbing alcohol into the upper end of the tubing using the funnel. Continue adding more alcohol until it starts to spill over onto the floorboard of the car or truck. Don't worry, the alcohol will evaporate and won't harm the carpet. This will backflush the system and kill the mold & mildew spores. Now disconnect the copper tubing. If desired you can collect the alcohol in a cake or pie tin as it drains back out and reuse it again.
A/C now all nice and fresh again, guaranteed.
Now, to keep it nice and fresh, switch your A/C over to max heat about 1/2 block before stopping (every trip). This will dry out the system and prevent the mold and mildew from ever forming.
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