Is Dirty Sock Syndrome a Thing?

Dirty Sock Syndrome is indeed a thing, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the smell of your teenage son’s feet. Dirty Sock Syndrome is a sneaky, musty odor that does smell like feet, but you’ll never guess where it comes from:
Your HVAC units.

What is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

The funk you keep smelling in your home–which seems to come and go with the seasons or sometimes even day to day–is the result of bacteria, mold, and decay that builds up in the coils of many HVAC systems. These coils, with their twists and turns and concave spaces, present the perfect atmosphere to give life to bacteria and mold that become trapped within the walls. Because both cooling and heating unit coils condensate as they work to cool and heat your home, moisture build-up gives relentless life to the microbes that survive (and stink) inside. This nasty smell also goes by an equally nose-pinch-inducing name: Bioslime.

How To Get Rid of Dirty Sock Smell
If you’re wondering how to rid your air conditioner or heat pump of that nasty dirty sock odor, you have a couple of options:

  1. Clean the coil. Use an antimicrobial cleaner, like bleach, to thoroughly wipe and disinfect your HVAC coils. This method is a quick fix, but be forewarned that the odor will come back with time. Using bleach or other harsh chemicals can also corrode your system.
  2. Coat the coil with an antimicrobial agent. An HVAC technician can remove the culprit coils and have them coated with a non-corrosive agent that will prevent mold growth. This type of fix might require re-application.
  3. Install a UV treatment. UV systems are inexpensive and are energy efficient to operate. Once installed, it will work continuously to kill the microbes that cause Dirty Sock Syndrome.

You don’t have to buy a whole new HVAC unit to get rid of the dreaded dirty sock funk. At Rochester HVAC Experts, HVAC service is what we do. From diagnosing air quality issues caused by your heating or cooling systems to cleaning and replacing HVAC ducts and coils, our expert technicians know what exactly what to do. If you are ready to finally get rid of the dirty sock smell in your home, contact our office today for a free quote.