What is Dirty Sock Syndrome?
It's hot. You turn on your AC. You are in the mood for some cool, breezy air to flow out of the vents. But suddenly, you start to detect an unpleasant odor. Is that mold? Mildew? Dirty socks? Why does the house smell suddenly smell like a gym locker room?
No, your spouse’s smelly gym socks somehow didn’t get sucked into your air ducts. This is a widespread phenomenon that HVAC contractors have labeled as “Dirty Sock Syndrome.”
Why does DSS occur?
DSS (Dirty Sock Syndrome) smells like a Locker Room and is certainly not the smell that you want in the home. So… why does it happen? It has been suggested by many that this occurs on newer units because the aluminum used in newer coils may be more porous than that used in older units.
Those in the HVAC industry have not yet been able to identify a direct cause, but dirty sock syndrome HVAC issues are bothersome, nonetheless. Due to its mold-like smell, many homeowners mistake dirty sock syndrome as a mold problem in their home. Mold can cause health issues such as respiratory conditions and headaches. So, this can obviously be a cause for concern. Unfortunately, this can lead to homeowners spending time and money looking for mold, which they don’t have. So, to help you avoid unnecessary costs and confusion here is everything you need to know about dirty stock syndrome.
Is Dirty Sock Syndrome Dangerous?
“The short answer is it depends. Usually, the answer is no, dirty sock syndrome is not dangerous. Dirty sock syndrome is caused by a variety of bacteria and mildews, none of which are harmful to your health under normal circumstances (normal immune system, etc). It can, however, be dangerous if mold gets introduced into your HVAC system and begins to grow. Mold can be a health risk to people and should be handled appropriately. Don’t go overboard just yet though – as a rule, the CDC reports that most molds are only mildly toxic to humans and that symptoms in even heavily infested homes rarely progress past chronic coughing and wheezing. ”
Is there a solution for Dirty Sock Syndrome?
Yes. Culleoka Company has produced a DIY solution that works for at least a heating season. The solution is to clean your evaporator coil annually.
Cleaning your AC evaporator coils regularly
- Turn the breaker switch for the Furnace/Air Handler indoor unit off.
- Remove the cover.
- Spray full strength natural based AC Coil Cleaner on both sides of the coil.
- You must clean ALL parts thoroughly (ex: cleaning the cabinet wall, etc…) Otherwise, the smell may come back.
- Take care not to wet any electrical components.
- Let sit on blades for at least 5 minutes.
- Use the sprayer to rinse the coils into the drip pan below.
- If there is still gunk built up in the blades, use an air compressor to blow it out.
- After 10 minutes, you may temporarily reinstall the covers, turn on the power, and run the blower only to speed the drying process. (Set the “Fan” side of the thermostat to “On” and turn the temperature way down if in the heating mode, or way up if in the cooling mode so that only the fan runs).
- We like to run the blower for about 30 minutes to be sure everything is completely dry.
- Set your thermostat back to where you like it.
Those are the steps needed to clean a house with Dirty Sock Syndrome.
Culleoka Company, LCC
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