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What’s That Smell?

Switch on your heating or air conditioning and discover there is a very unpleasant smell, and your HVAC system is probably suffering from what is known as ‘dirty sock syndrome.’

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Everyone knows just how awful the aroma of real dirty socks is, and the thought of an equally awful smell emanating from the heating system is the stuff of nightmares. But that is something millions of people have to contend with once the temperature drops and they seek some warmth in their homes.

What Causes Of Dirty Sock Syndrome?

The cause of those nasty odors is simple; bacteria grow in the HVAC system coils. The coils become both cool and damp, creating perfect conditions in which bacteria grow, and when the heating is switched on the nasty smell erupts and the occupants in the property are left puzzled as to what is causing it.

When Can you Notice Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Dirty sock syndrome becomes noticeable when the heating goes into action and there is a smell of mildew in the air. The odor also becomes apparent when the outdoor temperature plummets below 40F and the HVAC switches to defrost. The musty smell is also likely to become noticeable when people decide to switch on the air conditioning once the heating is switched off.

Why Should You Get Rid Of Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Aside from the nasty odors, which are sometimes compared with those experienced in locker rooms, there is another good reason why dirty sock syndrome should be dealt with. It is your health. Bacteria is associated with disease and it is in your interest, as well that of your family and others staying at the property, to get the problem dealt with as quickly as possible.

It is still worthwhile ruling out what else might be causing the musky odors. This means checking out whether there are damp towels and cloths in the kitchen and bathrooms, or any other causes of damp in the home.

How To Get Rid Of Dirty Sock Syndrome?

The best way to get rid of the nasty musky aroma is by thoroughly cleaning the coils in the HVAC system. A non-acid cleaner can be used to cleanse the evaporator coil.

If cleaning the coils does not work then they should be cleansed again, but this time a coat of anti-bacterial protectant such as Alathene II should be applied. Alathene II serves to prevent the buildup of the bacteria which cause dirty sock syndrome.

Sometimes even the anti-bacterial option does not work. In those circumstances it may be necessary to replace the coil. Tin-plated coils are the best option when it comes to preventing the buildup of bacteria.

How To Avoid Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Of course, the best way to avoid dirty sock syndrome occurring in the first place is to ensure that your HVAC system is serviced on a regular basis. After all, prevention is better than cure. Even if the ‘syndrome’ has already occurred, a thorough cleaning can prevent the problem happening again.

Contact Horizon Services

If you would like help with removing Dirty Sock Syndrome from your HVAC, please setup an appointment for a service call. And, if you are ready to install or replace a heating and air conditioning system our friendly and experienced team of Comfort Specialists can help. They’ll take the time to study your home, understand your requirements, show you all of your options and assist you with finding the quality home comfort system that best meets your family’s needs and budget.


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