Dirty Sock Syndrome

Dirty Sock Syndrome | AskHVACPro.com

What is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Dirty Sock Syndrome is generally caused by bacteria that collects and grows on the indoor coils of heat pumps and air conditioners. Dirty Sock Syndrome isn’t common and only affects .5% to 2% of homes. DSS is also more prevalent in heat pump systems.

The smell of musky & dirty socks, locker rooms, hockey bags smell. The smell occurs when the unit is turned on and not used for a while. The bacteria spores are disturbed by air movement and the smell is from those spores breaking free from the bioslime.

Basically, bacteria collects and grows on the coil during heating and is then released all at once when the indoor coil gets cool and damp. Heat pumps and air conditioners experience the problem when the air conditioner is turned back on after heating.

The North Carolina pre-fall and spring climates can require heating your home or office in the morning then using the air conditioning system in the afternoon causes a perfect storm for this odor to occur.

Curing Dirty Sock Syndrome

Once the problem has been properly diagnosed and identified, our technicians can take action by first starting with a thorough cleaning of the units evaporator coil. Our A/C repair technicians will also clean dirty drain pans and drain lines if applicable.

While cleaning will bring the system back to normal, some systems cleaned too early in the season or a unit having more issues may have Dirty Sock Syndrome repeat itself, especially if the weather in our area forces you to switch your thermostat from heating to cooling and back again. It’s best for those in your home that you get the unit serviced straight away. If you have allergy sufferers, this could be a cause for concern.