Why Does My AC Smell Like Dirty Socks?

Why Does My AC Smell Like Dirty Socks?Until they experience it, most homeowners remain ignorant of “Dirty Sock Syndrome,” a phenomenon with which seasoned air conditioning service & repair technicians are well aware. What causes the moldy, stale smell of neglected laundry to permeate your house via your air conditioning system? And how can you eliminate it fast?

Mold & Bacteria in the System are the Cause of Dirty Sock Syndrome

The smell of Dirty Sock Syndrome is a direct result of decaying organic material leading to mold, mildew, and bacteria buildup in your cooling unit. Typically the specific component at fault is your unit’s evaporator coil. As dust particles buildup due to inadequate filtration or poor air filter maintenance, moisture in the system that accumulates after continued use creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to thrive.

How Can You Be Sure You Have Dirty Sock Syndrome?

This odor can smell different to different people. However, if you notice a foul, moldy odor when you run your system that causes your entire house to smell like dirty gym socks, Dirty Sock Syndrome may be the cause. To verify, you’ll want to make sure your air conditioner isn’t suffering from other potential problems that could be causing it to give off a foul odor. Other causes of odors emanating from HVAC components include:

  • Wet, dirty air filters.
  • Full, possibly corroded, drainage pans.
  • Blocked drainage lines.

Can Dirty Sock Syndrome Cause Health Issues?

While a foul smell in your home is not fun, Dirty Sock Syndrome is typically not dangerous unless you or a family member has a compromised immune system, asthma, or allergies. Even if you don’t have health issues, you don’t want to leave Dirty Sock Syndrome unaddressed, as the mold and bacteria in your system can rapidly grow, causing respiratory issues and eye irritation over time. The smell can also make people feel sick, even if they’re physically fine. For these reasons, HVAC pros recommend addressing Dirty Sock Syndrome quickly.

Tips for Addressing & Avoiding Dirty Sock Syndrome

If you think your system is suffering Dirty Sock Syndrome, heating and air conditioning service immediately, including a new air filter, coil cleaning, and drainage system inspection. To avoid a repeat of the situation and keep mold, mildew, and bacteria at bay, be proactive:

  • Upgrade to higher quality home air filters and change them every 1-3 months.
  • Prevent mold and bacteria from building up in your evaporator coil with a UV air purifier.
  • Watch for full drain pans and blocked drain lines, which give mold, mildew, and bacteria a place to thrive.

Don’t suffer through Dirty Sock Syndrome. Freshen up your home, safeguard your health, and avoid embarrassment with the help of H & H Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer 24/7 service at no additional charge to you to help you get back to normal fast. Schedule cleaning and maintenance and eliminate foul smells in your system today.

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