Odd smells coming from your air conditioner are usually a sign you need to have it inspected. The smell of dirty socks, in particular, indicates that your air conditioner needs to be cleaned.
What are the usual culprits behind this unpleasant smell, also known as Dirty Sock syndrome?
The Problem With Dirty Coils
Dirty coils are the main cause of Dirty Sock Syndrome. The evaporator coil located in the blower compartment or air handler contains the refrigerant that’s responsible for cooling the air. As the fan blows air through the coils, the refrigerant removes heat. Issues can arise if dust and moisture accumulate on the evaporator coils. Dust usually contains microbes, and in a humid environment, these microbes eat away organic materials and form mold and mildew, which are the root cause of the smell of sweaty socks coming from your AC.
How to Prevent Mold & Mildew From Forming on the Evaporator Coils
As a good rule of thumb, you should replace your AC’s filters every 90 days, although you may have to do so more frequently depending on the type of filter installed and whether you keep pets in the house. Homeowners with just one pet should replace their filters every two months, while those with two or more pets or who have allergies should do so every 20-45 days. If the filters are dirty, they won’t be able to prevent dust from making its way to your evaporator coils.
Don’t forget to have your AC unit’s condensate drain pan cleaned. Moisture that collects in the drain pan creates a damp environment that’s the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which could affect indoor air quality and aggravate respiratory conditions.
Are Odd Odors a Cause for Concern?
Keep in mind that while dirty evaporator coils are the most common cause of Dirty Sock Syndrome, there may be other factors causing these odd smells. That’s why if you notice any unusual smells coming from you AC, you should have an experienced HVAC technician inspect it as soon as possible.
Thomas J. Fannon & Sons has been providing professional heating and cooling services, including the installation of ductless split systems, to local residents since 1885. To schedule an appointment with one of our technicians, call us at (703) 549-5700 or fill out this form.