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  1. #1

    Stinky Feet Smell from AC Unit

    Hi All! I am wondering if anyone can validate or debunk my worry.... Long story short, I am the director of a domestic violence shelter, we received an energy efficiency grant to upgrade our HVAC system(s) about 1.5 years ago. A new AC unit was installed- Trane XR15. Since the unit was installed we have been suffering from an awful stinky feet, stinky cheese smell that seems to coincide to when we have the AC unit running. We have done everything from having mold sniffing dogs to having all of the duct work vaccuumed out to no avail. I am curious if ANYONE has ever experienced this type of smell associated with a new furnace/AC unit. We are hitting a wall here and have no other avenues to explore. We DO feel fairly insistent that the smell arrived coinciding the new AC/furnace unit. However we do not expereince the smell as significantly/persistent in the colder weather when the AC is not on...... PLEASE HELP! ANY thoughts? Suggestions of what to have inspected by whom? Validation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    381
    Heat pumps can get what is called "dirty sock syndrome" and is easily taken care of. Call your local hvac and have a tech verify what type of system you have and they will know what to do about it.

    Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk 2

  3. #3

    Smile

    "Dirty Sock Syndrome"- is that the technical term? Glad to know that it is common as we have had a few professionals come out and no one has indicated the Heat Pump as being a potenital cause. I will follow up. Thank you!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    WEST COLUMBIA S.C.
    Posts
    279
    Mold in duct work

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,743
    Quote Originally Posted by Jessifraz View Post
    "Dirty Sock Syndrome"- is that the technical term? Glad to know that it is common as we have had a few professionals come out and no one has indicated the Heat Pump as being a potenital cause. I will follow up. Thank you!
    that is the technical term..

    do a search on it , you'll find tons of info.


    no its not mold in the duct work, its organisms in the evap coil.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    WEST COLUMBIA S.C.
    Posts
    279
    Organisms will create mold

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    WEST COLUMBIA S.C.
    Posts
    279
    Type in dirty sock syndrome causes on Google if u don't think mold and bacteria growth doesn't cause this.All IAQ qualified people will tell u like myself

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,665
    Have the coil replaced with a epoxy coated coil Trane will provived the coil under warranty then it will be between you and the installer on the labor

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,440
    Quote Originally Posted by Jessifraz View Post
    Hi All! I am wondering if anyone can validate or debunk my worry.... Long story short, I am the director of a domestic violence shelter, we received an energy efficiency grant to upgrade our HVAC system(s) about 1.5 years ago. A new AC unit was installed- Trane XR15. Since the unit was installed we have been suffering from an awful stinky feet, stinky cheese smell that seems to coincide to when we have the AC unit running. We have done everything from having mold sniffing dogs to having all of the duct work vaccuumed out to no avail. I am curious if ANYONE has ever experienced this type of smell associated with a new furnace/AC unit. We are hitting a wall here and have no other avenues to explore. We DO feel fairly insistent that the smell arrived coinciding the new AC/furnace unit. However we do not expereince the smell as significantly/persistent in the colder weather when the AC is not on...... PLEASE HELP! ANY thoughts? Suggestions of what to have inspected by whom? Validation?
    There are many biological organisms that are in the air that generate various odors during their life cycle. They are molds and bactieria. They are searching for a supporting spot to grow and reproduce. They need continuous moisture and temperatures that are them to establish colonies. They are able to be dorminant during unfavorable conditions. They need organic material for food.
    Any a/c coil/pan that retains moisture during the off cycle or does not flush itself with condensate is vunerable to this problem. Continuous wet surfaces that retain organic dust surfaces for +12 hours is favorable for these biologicals.
    If we eliminate wet spots in condensate pans and throurghly dry the a/c system everyday, accumulated biologicals have difficulty generating noticable odors.
    Fan "on" for 6 hours per day without any cooling should dry out the system during the a/c season.
    The rather recent concept of maintaining longer a/c run cycle provides more hours for biological growth. I recently monitored VS air that operated for +14 hours everyday. After the cooling cycle ended the large cooling coil required several hours to dry. The pan/ coil was damp 24/7 for days. New system, no odors yet, but you see the possibilities.
    After cleaning and eliminating the damp spots, operate the fan 24/7 without a/c during a 6-8 hour period everyday. This will reduce the favorable conditions for biological growth. Most green grass climates need supplemental dehumidification during the low/no cooling loads. Using the a/c ducts to circulate the dry air throughout the home also allows the dry air from the dehu to reduce biologicals in the damp ducts.
    I am sure more will follow.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  10. #10
    Wow! Thanks for the reply Everyone! Teddy Bear- your suggestions will definitely come in handy!... Gives me a leg to stand on when I meet with the "Pros" later today. We reside in Colorado so I often dismiss mold as being a possibility although it does tend to come up as an issue even in our dry climate. We have not tried to run the fan as a method to "dry out" the pan/coil as no one that we have had out to diagnos the problem has ever validated that the smell is, in fact, coming from the unit..... I am meeting with the people that installed the unit today so this is all really helpful information to digest prior! SO glad I logged on to this sight

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Houston area
    Posts
    1,493
    I would think a good tech could remove the panels around the evaporator and smell the smell. I've noticed it on hundreds of jobs, even gigantic commercial sites. If there is a lightweight flaky scale in the bottom of the condensate pan then the red flags should stand at attention.

    BTW - that's a very noble endeavor you are involved with!
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

    `. .` .>(((>

    `... `. .` .>(((>

    .` .>(((>

    LMAOSHMSFOAIDMT

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,743
    Quote Originally Posted by hewitt View Post
    Organisms will create mold
    not saying they won't, just saying the problem is in the evap coil.

  13. #13
    @ Cooked- I feel Cooked at this point from the stinky smell and the chaos we endure every day- THANK YOU for your comment about the noble endeavor I will say that I just met with the Gen.Contractor who oversaw the AC job and I felt so empowered to give him a whole stack of info on this problem to which he has dismissed all along- THANK YOU HVAV Talk!

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