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Serving New Orleans and the Surrounding Areas
Available at your convenience, not ours

Serving New Orleans and the Surrounding Areas


Available at your convenience, not ours


Gowland's Heating & A/C Blog

“Dirty Sock Syndrome” in Your AC—The Lowdown


You don’t need much more description of what “dirty sock syndrome” is like than the name. You know what that smell is like, and it’s not pleasant, to put it mildly. 

But what does “dirty sock syndrome” actually mean aside from the terrible odor? It’s a type of AC problem that is unfortunately common in a place like New Orleans where there are high humidity levels in the summer. If you are running your air conditioner system and notice that ugly odor of piles of unwashed socks (once again, ewww), then you may have an air conditioner that’s got a bad case of dirty sock syndrome.

So let’s put clothespins on our noses and move forward to find out what dirty sock syndrome is and what can be done about it.

Dirty Sock Syndrome Means a Moldy AC

Yes, the terrible smells coming from the vents of your home are not because someone in the household decided to stick a pile of unwashed laundry into the ductwork. What you’re smelling is the odor of mold, which is similar to the odor of bacteria that’s found in damp, dirty fabrics. Mold is a common problem in any humid environment, and HVAC systems are especially susceptible to it because mold thrives in dark, humid environments. That’s a perfect description of the interior of the ductwork in your house. 

Moving in on the specifics, the mold growth that creates dirty sock syndrome for an HVAC system occurs along the evaporator coil of the air conditioner. This coil does the vital job of absorbing heat that moves through the ventilation system. As the blower fan moves warm air over the coil, the cold refrigerant in the coil evaporates and draws heat energy from the air, lowering its temperature. It also causes moisture in the air to condense along the coil’s surface. Most of this water drips off the coil into a condensate pan and is removed from the AC and the house.

But because the coil is frequently damp, it’s a place where mold can easily grow. And since all the air moving through the ventilation system passes over the evaporator coil, that means moldy odor spreads across the house. And there you have it: dirty sock syndrome.

Fixing This

Please don’t try to clean the coil on your own, tempting as this may be. Coils need special chemical cleaning, and this is something our technicians can handle. 

Another reason you want our experts on this job is because the AC may be struggling with removing enough moisture through its condensate system. If humidity is overwhelming it, leading to dirty sock syndrome, then the system may need repairs. Even with our local high humidity, a properly sized air conditioner should be able to remove enough moisture to prevent mold growth. And if the AC isn’t properly sized, it needs to be replaced. 

You can rely on us for AC repair in Marrero, LA to correct whatever is wrong with your home cooling. We are available at your convenience, not ours.

Gowland’s Heating & A/C believes in “Relationship over revenue!” Call us today to solve your AC problems.

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