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Wall Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

AC Care: Should You Be Concerned about “Dirty Sock Syndrome?”

Girl pinching her nose against a white backgroundTemperatures are still cool enough that you likely haven’t turned on your air conditioner quite yet. But as we’re all very well aware, when spring and summer hit, they hit hard—bringing with them soaring temps and high humidity. As a result, you want a fully effective and efficient whole-home Lawrenceville, GA air conditioning system to keep your household comfortable and healthy.

If you haven’t scheduled air conditioning maintenance yet, that’s okay! Right now is actually the perfect time to do so, before you need to use your cooling system on a daily basis. There’s one issue in particular that we check for during your tune-up and that you should be aware of too, before starting up your AC for the first time. This is water line backups, which can result in mold development and foul smells from your system’s supply vent. This is known as dirty sock syndrome.

“Is My Air Conditioner in Danger?”

We get it—attaching the name “syndrome” to something makes it sound pretty dramatic. We don’t mean to cause panic, but it is a rather…gross…problem to have. The odor of stinky socks is certainly not a pleasant one. Even more unpleasant is what causes it—mold and/or mildew that’s grown on the indoor coil of your AC or heat pump system.

This odor blows into your living space with each cycle of the cooling system, and the growth won’t just go away (in fact, spring and summer humidity can exacerbate the issue). It will require not only a thorough cleaning by a professional HVAC technician, but also having the right indoor air quality systems in place to ensure you don’t face this problem again in the future.

The reason all this happens is that your air conditioner or heat pump doesn’t get very warm internally. The indoor coil is in a cool and dark space within the system and is typically surrounded by lots of moisture in the form of condensation, making it the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew development. This won’t necessarily destroy your air conditioner, but it’s a frustrating problem to have nonetheless, and can be unhealthy for your household.

“What Can I Do?”

As we mentioned above, one way to combat “dirty sock syndrome” is with the right indoor air quality products. Namely, we’re talking about UV germicidal lights. These lights emit UV-C rays that are completely harmless to people and their pets, however will destroy the DNA of biological growth in addition to their life-sustaining proteins. This will make it impossible for mold or mildew to replicate or survive.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if enough moisture is present, this mold and mildew development can easily extend to the rest of your home. For this reason (and more) having a whole-house dehumidifier installed is a great idea. We’re happy to talk to you about all of our indoor air quality options!

When your comfort needs to be just right, contact Wall Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. for your HVAC services.

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