Dirty Sock Syndrome: What It Is and What to Do About It

So your home stinks and you can’t quite figure out where the bad odor is coming from. All you know is that it smells like dirty socks and it’s driving you crazy! If you direct your attention to your HVAC system and the smell begins to intensify, you’re on the right track. The good news is, the smell doesn’t indicate that you need heater repair; it does, however, mean that you’re dealing with Dirty Sock Syndrome.

What It Is

When your cooling system has Dirty Sock Syndrome, it means the evaporator coil is dirty. To be more specific, it’s dirty AND harboring mold and mildew. Add these factors together and you’re looking at the cause of that awful smell. Additionally, note that Dirty Sock Syndrome is an environmental issue and not a problem with the equipment, meaning it can happen to any HVAC make and model. 

What Causes It

Over time, dirt accumulates on HVAC components. However, dirt alone doesn’t create the unpleasant odor. Rather, that specific smell is produced when condensation from the air conditioner mixes with the warmth from your HVAC system, resulting in an environment conducive to mold and mildew growth. And as air passes through your ducts, it picks up the smell and spreads it throughout your home.

What to Do About It

With a dirty evaporator coil at the root of the problem, simply having an air conditioner and boiler repair expert come in and clean the part in question should enable you to resolve the issue. After your evaporator coil has been cleaned, you’ll need to take measures to keep it that way and avoid Dirty Sock Syndrome in the future.

If your evaporator coil is too dirty to restore to the desired condition, you can have it replaced instead. If your HVAC system is still under warranty, check to see if you can get a new evaporator coil free of charge.

At Air Comfort, Inc., we can help you beat Dirty Sock Syndrome once and for all! To learn more about our HVAC products and control systems and what we can do for you, simply give us a call at (330) 510-2446 or fill out our online contact form. Ask us for an estimate today! We serve Kent, OH, and surrounding communities.

Category: hvac