"Dirty Sock Syndrome?"
I get calls on a regular
basis either asking about “dirty sock syndrome” or describing their
problem as “dirty sock syndrome”. In reality, in the last 5 and a half
years, we have only seen it twice. Yes, they do have a
musty or mildew type odor coming from their HVAC system, but no,
it is not "dirty sock syndrome".
agree that "Dirty Sock Syndrome" is caused by a bacteria that
collects and grows on the indoor coils of heat pumps and air
conditioners. Complaints normally surface when heat pumps go
into defrost, or when systems are run in heating for a brief time
then switched back into cooling. The bacteria or odor collects and
grows on the coil during this heating time and is released all at
once when the indoor coil gets cool and damp.
Since many odor
problems are incorrectly labeled as a dirty sock problem, it is
important to eliminate fungi and mildew from the coils, supply
plenum and air handler cabinet, dirty drain pans holding water,
drain lines connected to plumbing systems without adequate traps or
dry traps, return air leaks in ductwork or chases to properly
identify the problem. If the odor is present all the time,
especially during the heating cycle, the problem is NOT dirty sock
syndrome. Dirty sock complaints only smell when the indoor
coil gets cool and the bacteria releases its odor.
A thorough cleaning of the
evaporator coil will bring the system
back to normal and will usually prevent a complaint for the rest of
the heating season. The majority of complaints are resolved
with a thorough cleaning.
If the coil cleaning does not
resolve the complaint, the next suggested action would be to contact
Power Vac America. There are HVAC companies that can pull the
coils and dip the coils in a vat to kill the bacteria and apply a
protective coating to prevent the bacteria from growing. As a
last resort, you will have to replace the coils.
Even though your problem might not
be “dirty sock syndrome”, your odors and smells are real.
A thorough cleaning of all of the air handler unit components,
including the coils, to eliminate the source of the odor causing
dirt, debris, fungus and bacteria should solve the problem.
Call Power Vac America today for a free estimate.
Air Duct Cleaning and HVAC Systems Cleaning in Texas