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Indoor Air Quality Concerns

How To Tell If Your Home Has Dirty Sock Syndrome & What To Do About It

It’s almost here. The trees are starting to bloom, the temperatures are rising, and it’s only a matter of weeks before the entirety of the outdoors is covered in a layer of yellow. Spring is near.

It’s almost here. The trees are starting to bloom, the temperatures are rising, and it’s only a matter of weeks before the the entirety of the outdoors is covered in a layer of yellow. Spring is near.

Some may notice an unpleasant smell wafting from their vents the first few times they run their air conditioner, like a high school gym locker. If you do, it may be Dirty Sock Syndrome.

What is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Dirty Sock Syndrome usually occurs due to build up of of bacteria and mold on the evaporator coil of your air conditioner or heat pump. The coil itself is located in the blower compartment or air handler of your system. It condensates while the air conditioner runs, generating as much as 20 gallons of water per day that is drained out through the drain line.

Like most places that are dusty, humid and dark, bacteria and mildew can start to form. This bacteria can create a foul smell similar to gym socks that have been left for too long. The bad smell hurts your indoor air quality, however Dirty Sock Syndrome is not usually dangerous to the average immune system.

That being said, like any air quality issue, if unchecked it can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation or, in some cases, skin irritation in otherwise healthy individuals. The Dirty Sock Syndrome odor is a good indicator that the right conditions for mold are there, so you should act fast to prevent it.

So does your home have Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Maybe. There are a few other reasons why you may be getting strange smells in your home, such as a clogged drain pan or pipes, or a dirty or moist air conditioning filter. During our bi-annual maintenance visits, we inspect the drain pan, as well as clear out the drain pipes and give them treatment tablets to prevent any growth or blockage in that system. We also replace any dirty filters on every visit! Join our Comfort Club to reap the benefit of our seasonal maintenance visits.

How can you treat Dirty Sock Syndrome?

If it does end up being Dirty Sock Syndrome, here are some of the best ways to treat and prevent it during the cooling season:

UV Light/ UV Air Purifier

Are your ready to get rid of that smell?

  • While the UV light fixtures are great for killing mold and prevent any from growing, there’s usually multiple places where the lights will be placed for full coverage of the coil.
  • UV Air Purifiers, like the APCO Fresh Aire UV, have both the UV light for preventative measures, but also an air purifying system that helps give the home a fresher scent and improve air quality immensely.

Higher Quality Air Filters

  • Better air filtration will prevent mold spores from getting into the system in the first place. As an added bonus, it will also help reduce allergens in your home during these pollen-filled months. If you are concerned with air quality, we recommend you at least upgrade your standard one-inch thick filter with a five-inch thick media cleaner. This gives significantly more surface area to catch particulate matter without overly restricting airflow like most one-inch filters marketed toward allergen reduction.

If you’re tired of your air conditioner making your house smell like a locker room, give Comfort Control a call at (770) 999-9658. We’re here to help.

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