Tag: odors coming from hvac system

From the Field: Dirty Sock Syndrome

Okay, it’s that time of year. For much of the U.S., the heating season began about a month and a half ago. Here in North Carolina, and more specifically my household, the heating season has only been around for about three weeks. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s been cold enough at night to run the heat, but during the day we find ourselves turning the AC back on – a common thing in the Southeast.

When the heat pump goes into defrost mode, or the HVAC unit is switched from heating for a brief time, then back to cooling, a condition known as “Dirty Sock Syndrome” can arise.  DSS is described as a musty, moldy, dirty sock odor coming from HVAC systems when they first start into cooling mode. DSS is caused by bacteria that attaches to, and grows on indoor evaporator coils. When the coils cool down and get damp, the bacteria release their gases all at one time into the air causing the unpleasant odor.

Some people have gone as far as to almost sell their homes because they couldn’t get rid of the smell. BUT HAVE NO FEAR! Here is a way for you to eliminate that smell and maintain a clean, healthy environment through a little preventive maintenance.

  1. Clean the coils at the end of the cooling season with Instant Powder Kegs. Cleaning the coils before the heating season will get rid of any contaminants such as dirt, biological buildup and other material.
  2. Sanitize the unit thoroughly. Use EPA-registered Fast Attack, an HVAC system sanitizer specifically designed for HVAC interiors. Iodine based sanitizers are an ideal choice, as iodine’s effectiveness has been well documented. Hospitals have used iodine to sanitize before surgery for the last 150 years for a reason!
  3. Protect the coil from fouling by using Green-Certified First Strike Micro Coat. Transform the coil into a “self-cleaning” coil, one that repels particles and keeps matter from adhering to the surface.
  4. Round off the procedure by adding a timed-release drain pan protectant. This will eliminate clogs and overflows that can occur once the cooling season starts back. Either Green-Certified PanGuard or EPA-Registered Algae Guard will work.

All of these products are safe and easy to use, requiring minimal PPE. By following these simple steps, it will ensure that when you start up your AC at the beginning of the cooling season, you aren’t left saying….“Ewww, THAT SMELL!”

James Brown, Application Specialist of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc., a research, development and manufacturing firm based in Shelby, North Carolina.  CRT is an IFMA CSP, EnergyStar Partner and manufacturer of independently-certified Green products for HVAC maintenance. Since 1986, CRT has been creating leading edge HVAC maintenance products that have become industry standards, used in thousands of commercial buildings world-wide. CRT employees are members of BOMA, ASHRAE, ASHE and the American Chemical Society. www.cleanac.com (800) 766-9057.


Technical Corner: The Nature of Chemical Solubility Part One

The dissolving rate of chemical substances plays a very important role in many everyday activities.

When washing dishes or floors, users would like the detergent to be present in large amounts to attack and remove dirt. Fortunately, most liquid detergents are readily dissolved, and react quickly with debris to help remove it. However, when one wishes to have a constant residual of a vitamin or drug in their body, a timed-release or controlled release substance is more appropriate.

For example, a medical doctor may indicate a dosage rate of 10 milligrams should be maintained for 12 hours to produce a desired effect for a patient. However, if one used a liquid or highly soluble tablet, the effect would not last 12 hours.

If the same patient is given an initial controlled release amount of 100 milligrams, the substance can time-release the dispersal of 10 milligrams every hour for 10 hours. This extends its effectiveness so that the body is able to use it up to 10 times longer.

Along with providing extended periods of effectiveness, controlled-release materials also contain fewer ingredients and require less doses.

Controlled Release In an Industrial World

In the industrial world, such as HVAC or other maintenance areas, there are many situations where a controlled release of materials is necessary.

At the heart of every building is its HVAC system, providing vital, conditioned air to occupants. Unfortunately, these important systems operate in dark and damp environments, making them prime areas for the growth of offensive microbes such as bacteria and mold.One of the worst areas in the HVAC system is the water collection pan, which is present in every system.

In the past, maintenance staffs were available to clean these condensate pans frequently, avoiding odors and biological buildup. However, over the past decades, the amount of maintenance staff has dropped consistently. Todays staffing personnel are scarce and have more workload.

In today’s environment, cleaning happens infrequently, if at all. Odors and microbes proliferate, often deteriorating air quality and causing corrosion of equipment.

To be continued next week…………………

As always we value your input, so leave your comments and/or experiences below.

To view this article in its entirety, click the link below.

Link: http://www.cleanac.com/educational-reports

Lynn Burkhart is the founder and president of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc. located in Shelby, North Carolina. More information about the company, and its products, can be found at http://www.cleanac.com and by calling (800) 766-9057.