James River Air Conditioning Company

dirty_sockIf you smell something when your A/C first starts up and / or when your heat pump goes into defrost…

From the Desk of Tom Pugh, Residential Service Manager

Dirty Sock Syndrome is a product of the environment.  Where you live can have a lot to do with whether or not you will have Dirty Sock; it is not the equipment’s fault.  That being said, we sometimes have clients experience Dirty Sock after installing a new unit.  They’ll tell us that they never smelled it with the old unit; it’s just since the new unit was installed.  They are correct!

The new evaporator coils are larger and run at a warmer temperature because of government mandates for higher SEER ratings.  This 2-3° difference has opened up a new can of worms.  It is estimated that up to 2% of all HVAC systems in North America have Dirty Sock Syndrome.

The cure is not always simple.  One way to eliminate the problem is to coat the coil with a sealant that will prevent the microbiological growth from adhering to the coil.  The sealant makes the coil slick.  Another way is to install indoor air quality accessories, like a UV light or bipolar ionization system.  These can come with a cost of $1,000-$2,000.

Bottom line:  the bacteria / microbiological growth is a nuisance for the homeowner, but can be treated.  Contact us today if you’re experiencing Dirty Sock Syndrome – we can help!