Does Your House Have Dirty Sock Syndrome?

If your air conditioner smells bad this season, this is a cause for concern. While slight air conditioner smells are normal, a strong and persistent odor signals trouble with your air conditioning system.

Commonly called dirty sock syndrome, these AC odors can have many causes. You just need to know how to identify the cause and what to do about it for a better smelling cooling system! If you’re left wondering “Why does my air conditioner smell so bad?” give the NATE-certified technicians at Grove Heating & Cooling a call today.

Why Air Conditioners Develop Odors

The musty odor that is common in many Maryland air conditioners over the summer stems from mold and mildew growth inside the cooling system. Air conditioners are hosts to mold and mildew’s preferred breeding environment, which is dank, dirty and has poor air filtration. The quickest and easiest way to solve this problem is to replace the filter – a dirty filter alone could be the culprit of a foul odor!

Causes of a Smelly Air Conditioner

The main cause of dirty sock syndrome is the presence of extra moisture. To pinpoint the exact source of the odor, you need to know what leads to excess moisture collection inside a cooling system.

Unit is Too Big

Air conditioners need to fit their homes like gloves to perform well in many aspects, including moisture control. When cooling systems are too big, they cool the home extremely quickly, which doesn’t leave enough time in a cooling cycle for much dehumidification. 

Poor Filtration

A simple filter system is standard in a forced air HVAC system. The filter’s job is to catch contaminants and keep them out of the cooling equipment. Nowadays, advanced options like whole home media air cleaners and UV lights can be added to a system for enhanced contaminant control. However, if any one of these systems malfunctions and fails to do their job, contaminants are allowed to remain in the home’s air supply. They carry along odors that affect indoor air quality and cause the dirty sock syndrome smell.

Coil Coverage

 An air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils exchange heat – the evaporator coil pulls heat from the home’s air, and the condenser coil releases that heat outside. These components depend on their surface area to make the cooling process possible. 

Over time, dust and other debris that settle in the system cover the coils. When that debris combines with the moist environment of the air conditioner, mold may grow on the coils. Then, air passes over the evaporator coil as it’s conditioned, where mold spores may be picked up and carried back into the home, spreading the musty odor. The coils need to be cleaned to eliminate mold and dust buildup, which can be done by an HVAC technician.

Condensate Drain Clogs

A smelly air conditioner is often caused by clogs in the condensate drainage system. The cooling process produces condensation as air is dehumidified, and the condensate drainage system is meant to handle that moisture and get it out of the air conditioner. 

Clogs can easily develop in the drip pan as dust and dirt gather. Algae and mold can grow here too, which clogs the pan and stops drainage. Clogs can also develop further down in the condensate drain line. The drip pan and drain line need to be cleared to eliminate clogs and treated with algaecide to prevent future growth.

Does Your Air Conditioner Smell Bad? Put an End to It Today!

If your air conditioner smells bad, don’t suffer with the odor any longer. Grove Heating & Cooling knows how to target odor sources and remove them from your cooling system. Contact us today to schedule air conditioning repair or maintenance services.

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