Musty Odors from Your Air Conditioner

Dirty Sock Syndrome ( Yes This Is a Thing)

What it is: Dirty sock syndrome is that moldy odor you get when you turn on your air conditioner for the first time in the season. As the name suggests, the smell is musty – not unlike a gym locker room – which is how we got the name Dirty Sock Syndrome. After a long period of time without use, mold and bacteria can build up on your evaporator coil or other areas of your HVAC system.

What to do: If the smell lingers after repeated use we recommend having your evaporator coil cleaned by a professional. Especially for asthma and allergy sufferers, the mold spores and bacteria that are circulated in the air can cause problems. Other steps you can take include:

  • Check your filters
  • Clean the drain pan
  • Check your ductwork

You can do this yourself, but your Local Trane Dealer will be able to diagnose any larger problems and solve them faster for you.

Is it dangerous?: Generally no. It’s also possible that the smell is not related to mold – and even if it is, most molds are not dangerous in most cases. It is however annoying and embarrassing and not something you want to let linger throughout the cooling season.

How to keep it from happening: Your air filters are your first line of defense against mold and bacteria buildup. If the smell doesn’t go away, you should first clean or replace your filters. If your filters are new or cleaning doesn’t improve the smell, contact us to clean and inspect your ductwork. If you or someone in your family has asthma or a reduced immune system, our CleanEffects™ air cleaner provides an even greater level of protection by removing 99.98% of airborne particles, 100 times better than a 1” standard filter.

Electrical Burning Smell

What is it: A burning electrical smell could mean you have a problem with the fan or compressor motor.

What to do: Get help. An electrical burning smell could be a sign of a serious problem. Turn off your unit and call an expert for help.

Schedule Seasonal Maintenace

The best way to get the most out of your air conditioner (and avoid unwanted odors and issues) is to have a Trane Comfort Specialist™ inspect and service your heating and cooling system regularly. We recommended:

  • Air Conditioner: Service once a year. Schedule in spring before the hot weather arrives.
  • Furnace or heat pump: Service once a year. Schedule in the late summer or fall before cold weather arrives.

In conclusion, a smelly air conditioner can be a sign of various issues, from mild to severe. The key is not to ignore these smells but to understand what they might mean and take appropriate action. For professional guidance and quick solutions, you can always rely on SS&B Heating & Cooling in Springfield, Missouri. Our team of skilled technicians is ready to assist you, ensuring that your home remains comfortable, safe, and odor-free.

Remember, when it comes to your air conditioner, you should breathe easy, not uneasy!

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