why does my air conditioner smell like dirty socks

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Dirty Socks?

Having an air conditioner that doesn’t work can be stressful. Having an air conditioner that makes your home smell like the inside of a sweaty gym bag is worse. However, the unfortunate smell happens so often, and it has a name in HVAC circles: “Dirty Sock Syndrome.”

If your home has been smelling polluted for a while, and you know that the odor is coming from your air conditioner, keep reading.

What is Dirty Sock Syndrome in an Air Conditioner?

Dirty Sock Syndrome occurs when mold and bacteria grow in the dark, moist areas of an HVAC system. Specifically, they set up shop on the AC’s evaporator coils. In a best-case scenario, you get a home that stinks to high heavens. In a worst-case scenario, the mold spreads to the rest of your home, causing structural damage and health issues to you and your family. Therefore, once noticed, you should deal with it, STAT.

How to Get Rid of Dirty Sock Syndrome in an Air Conditioner

1. Change the Air Filters

It would be best if you’re changing your air filters once a month. Neglecting to do so comes with a list of consequences: blocked airflow, increased energy bills, poor air quality, and possibly mold growth in the evaporator coils. The quality of the filters matters too. Often, people will try to be budget savvy by purchasing a lower-cost filter. The end result is the need to change them more often.

When purchasing filters, pay attention to the MERV ratings— the higher the number, the better the quality. You’ll still have to change them regularly, but they’ll do a better job of trapping allergens without becoming caked as fast.

2. Check the Drip Pan

An air conditioner works by absorbing warm air from your home and turning it into cold air. During this process, moisture and humidity are removed from the air. The resulting condensation drips into a drip pan and is later siphoned out of your home through the condensate line. Make sure that the drip pan empties regularly and that there aren’t any signs of rust or mold in it. If there are, purchase a new one and replace it.

3. Clean the Evaporator Coils

If you change the air filters regularly, the coils should remain clean for the most part. You want to treat them like the crown jewels of your HVAC system since they are responsible for cooling and dehumidifying your home.

To clean them, shut off the air conditioner. Remove the front panel of the unit. Spray compressed air across the coils. Make sure to point the can towards the outside of the AC; otherwise, it will blow the dust into the unit.

4. Schedule Regular AC Maintenance

Another option is to schedule regular AC maintenance. We’ll check the air ducts, vents, condenser unit, and clean the evaporator coils, so you don’t have to add another thing to your “To Do” list.

Call our HVAC professionals at A Plus Air Conditioning and let us help you!

No matter the issue with your air conditioner, we can assist you. We provide services throughout North Central Florida. And because we understand that a working air conditioner is essential in Florida, we offer 24/7 AC emergency service.

Call us at (352) 374-4988 or schedule an appointment online and let us get your AC back to proper working order.