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Identify the "Dirty Sock Syndrome"!

Does your home suffer from what we in the HVAC industry call the "Dirty Sock Syndrome"? The smell, typically described as a musky, dirty, locker room smell is usually caused by  a bacteria that collects and grows on the indoor coils of heat pumps and air conditioners.
Our Fillmore HVAC technicians typically start to get calls of a funky smell in their home when heat pumps go into defrost or when systems are run on the "heating" mode for a brief time then switched back into cooling (A/C). The bacteria or odor collects and grows on the coil during this heating time and is released all at once when the indoor coil gets cool and damp. Heat pump owners notice the odor when the system goes into defrost, usually when the outdoor temperature dips below 40 degrees. Heat pumps and air conditioners experience the problem when the air conditioner is turned back on after the heating has been used. Our climate can require heating in the morning and cooling in the afternoon which is a perfect condition for a complaint to surface. 
 
 
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Here's a few tips to help rule out other odor causing issues:
 
  • eliminate dirty drain pans holding water
  • correct drain lines connected to plumbing systems without adequate water traps or dry traps
  • return air leaks in ductwork or chases, or
  • dead animals in ductwork or near the living space.
If you require assistance to determine whether or not your home is suffering from the "Dirty Sock Syndrome" call us for a thorough inspection to get to the root of the problem. Once the problem has been properly identified, action can then be taken to resolve or reduce the complaint, starting with a thorough cleaning of the evaporator coil with a non-acid coil cleaner. Cleaning will bring the system back to normal and will usually prevent a complaint for the rest of the heating season.
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