As we’re beginning to enjoy the warmer temperatures and turning our air conditioners on for the first time in a few months. There’s a certain percentage of you who will experience something they’ve never thought was possible: dirty sock syndrome.
Unless you have this in your home, you have probably never heard of it. Dirty sock syndrome is a condition where your air conditioning system comes on and smells like… dirty gym socks. This stinky nuisance is the result of bacteria and dust collecting on your evaporator coil during the winter. Once the AC is turned on, moisture is introduced and mixes with the bacteria and dust to create the smell.
The good news is that dirty sock syndrome is generally not harmful to your health and the odor usually goes dormant within 1-3 weeks. The bad news is that can be very irritating and people have sensitive allergies can be affected. Anytime bacteria is introduced into the air, you run the risk of sneezes, itchy eyes, and allergic reactions.
Dirty sock syndrome can be very difficult to eliminate once it enters your AC system. Coil cleanings and odor neutralizers are some common tools to help quell the issue. The best treatment is never allowing the bacteria to enter your system in the first place. Electronic air cleaners are great products that have two layers of filtration followed by an energized coil to “zap” remaining micro particles. In combination you can use a UV filter to ionize the air as well.