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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    5

    bad odor from heat pump system aka dirty socks


    I am trying to deal with correction of dirty socks syndrome in a less than two year old heat pump system that has all new duct work and uv light in outgoing duct. Installer (with a manufacturer representative, Carrier), checked system, drain pan, ducts, and found nothing. Then treated with lysol spray on coils which did not work. I am searching for new information to eradicate the problem and prevent ever having it again. I feel that this problem has caused me to develop sinusitis and the energy drain and headaches that goes along with it. I am not particularly fond of the idea of chemicals on the coil, because this is being blown back into your breathing air. Any suggestions appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,793
    You will need the help of a pro...I would tell you that the evaporator coil will probably have to be replaced.

  3. #3

    Lightbulb Questions to ponder

    1. What kind of UV bulbs do you have? (2) When is the last time you replaced the bulbs? (3) How far are they from your evaporator coil? (4) How many bulbs do you have? (5) Do you have a bypass or fan powered humidifier? When was the last time you cleaned it?

    For proper operation, the bulbs need to be 8 inches from your evap coil. Do you have an "N" coil or an "A" coil? "A" coils need two bulbs, "N" coils need four to be proper. If the above conditions aren't met, then you MAY have a worthless set up. If the ductwork is new, by process of elimination, the problem must be in the coil unless you have a dead animal in there. .

    Most people replace their evap coils when they put in a new system. If high microwatts per centimeter bulbs don't work, properly installed, then you need a new coil. Usually, it is cheaper to replace the evaporator coils when you replace or install your system

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    5
    System is all new installation Dec 06, regularly serviced, uv lights checked, drain pan checked every 6 months, filters changed every 3 months. The uv light is a 2 lamp kit 208/230V. I understand that they are placed in the outgoing duct right at the fan coil junction. Fan coil R410 variable speed 4-5T Carrier. All duct work was examined for any opening, none found. No humidifier.
    Any info as to whether this happens with air conditioner and gas heater combinations as opposed to heat pump? Although the problem is assumed to be in the fan coil, it has been suggested to me that dirty socks does not occur as often in gas units. I have not been able to get any real confirmation of that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    Installer and carrier rep should replace the coil at no cost to you. Lysol is not EPA approved for use inside HVAC equipment.

  6. #6
    i have seen this happen in hps in defrost mode,the condensation that forms for the brief defrost cycle gets burned off ,and smells! and some houses do it some dont, one explanation was certain chemical reactions present in some homes and not others?!? whatever, the cure is an epoxy coated replacement coil, every manufacture has a set guideline for cost from total replacement to partial reimbursement, for 2 years old i would think total coverage with a small labor reinbursement to the dealer,trick is getting your dealer to do it! good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    5

    dirty socks syndrome

    What about the uv lights inside the air handler which actually radiate the coil? Any one have experience with that as being a cure for dirty socks?

  8. #8
    I just had a tech out today with the same problem. I have two 1 year old Carrier hps and it only happens on the defrost mode. The tech said he would have to get back to me after speaking with Carrier and his boss. This is the beginning of the second heating season and I don't recall having the problem last year. The smell is annoying, almost sickening, and I believe it is bothering my sinuses, as well. Is this a common problem and can it be fixed with a replacement coil?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Gold Coast of Connecticut
    Posts
    4,593
    I have not had it happen with my York evap coils yet.(Blue coated)
    Aire Serv of SW Connecticut- Gas heat, dual fuel and central a/c systems installed and serviced

  10. #10
    DSS was diagnosed and dealer is going to buy two new coils and have them dipped with Bronz-Glow - he and manufacturer will cover expense since units are so new. Said it will be a permanent solution to problem. Also said they can't figure out why it only occurs in certain homes. Does anyone have any info as to whether or not this Bronz-Glow in any way reduces the efficiency/function of the HP?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, NY
    Posts
    152
    I have read somewhere on this forum that the dirty sock syndrome is caused by the unit being used while the home was being built. The dust and debris especially from sheetrock gets into the units coil and is never able to be cleaned out completely .. I do not know if this holds true but that is what I read...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    DSS is an environment cause. Some places will never get it while others will. The experts agree that some kind of chemical is causing the DSS.

  13. #13
    The dealer is going to have a new coil coated with Bronz-Glow before installation - will this be a permanent fix?

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