Your nose knows when something is wrong. So don’t ignore that musty, nasty and moldy smell because it could be a sign that something is up with your HVAC. If your home has suddenly started smelling worse than your teenage son’s gym bag, then you may suffer from Dirty Sock Syndrome. Here is everything you will need to know about this odor’s problem, and how to fight back against it.

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So What Is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Dirty Sock Syndrome is exactly what it sounds like. It is when your HVAC starts smelling like old, moldy socks. Yuck! But what could be causing this affront to your nostrils? The answer lies in your HVAC indoor coils. This area is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. These coils are made to be compact and spaced tightly together. This makes your overall system work more efficiently, however, it also traps in smelly and dangerous bacteria.

Bacteria can live in your coils almost entirely unnoticed, until the weather changes. Once the temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, your system’s heat pump automatically goes into ‘defrost mode.’ While this is great for your home’s overall comfort, it may mean disaster for your nose. Suddenly, the coils are now cold and damp. This humidity, mixed with the trapped bacteria, can cause an eruption of foul odor.

Dirty Sock Syndrome Solutions

Solving your stinking dilemma could be a simple task. Many homes might just need a simple HVAC cleaning. However, for truly stinky systems, it may be a little more work. Here are just some of the ways an HVAC technician may suggest solving the reek coming from your heat pump:

  • Cleaning your HVAC: This should be your go-to cure for Dirty Sock Syndrome. A professional technician will use a non-acid cleaner to clean those dirty coils and eliminate the bacteria causing the odor. A good HVAC clean will also leave your unit running efficiently for longer.
  • Installing a UV light: Adding an Ultraviolet light to your system can improve your home’s smell and your health! UV lights kill the bacteria causing the smell, and help to eliminate airborne illnesses, keeping your home fresh and your family healthy.
  • Getting a New System: If your system is more than 10 years old, and you’re constantly dealing with a sour smell, it’s probably time to upgrade. A new system with bacteria resistant tin-plated coils will keep your house feeling great and smelling right!