Dirty Sock Syndrome

Dirty Sock Syndrome

When the cold hits, it’s nice to be able to switch on our heaters and snuggle up inside. However, nothing really kills the cozying up indoors more than a nasty and moldy smell. Yuck! You’re probably left wondering what that smell is, and how to get rid of it.

What Is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Dirty sock syndrome has nothing to do with your laundry, and everything to do with your air conditioner. It’s simply named that because of the foul smell of dirty socks that your AC can create.

What Causes Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Your HVAC system is a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria grows and collects on the HVAC coils, and for the most part, will go unnoticed until the first cold snap. Once the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, heat pump systems go into defrost mode. This means that the coils are now cold and damp, causing the smell to erupt. Suddenly, this “dirty sock” smell engulfs the home, leaving homeowners confused, and their homes smelling like a middle school boy’s locker room. Gross.

How Do I Get Rid Of Dirty Sock Syndrome?

If your heat pump has left your home smelling a little ripe, the best thing you can do is have your HVAC system thoroughly and professionally cleaned. A professional HVAC technician will use a non-acid cleaner to clean the coils and remove all bacteria from your system. They may also decide to place a coat of antibacterial protectant to prevent future build up.

In some cases, this cleaning will not work. If this happens, you might want to consider replacing the coils with bacteria resistant tin-plated coils. This is the best option if your home suffers from chronic dirty sock syndrome.

How to Prevent Dirty Sock Syndrome

In addition to installing tin-plated coils, there are other add-ons to your HVAC that may eliminate the foul bacteria smell.

Adding UV lights to your AC system kills and prevents bacterial growth in your system. UV lights fight mold, allergens, and harmful bacteria that could be found in your HVAC unit.

The best way to protect your home from dirty sock syndrome is to perform a fall annual maintenance check-up. Before you heat up for the winter, a professional HVAC technician should visually inspect and clean your entire unit.

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