Does your heating system have a funky odor? Maybe it reminds you of your gym locker room from high school. The industry refers to this problem as dirty sock syndrome. If you have this odor, you understand the name completely. What is bad, this issue can even happen with newer units. Why does it happen? And even more important how can you get rid of the smell and prevent it from happening all together?
Dirty sock syndrome is the combination of slime and mold found on coils and occasionally in the condensate pan. It is bacteria that grows on the indoor coil, specifically on a heat pump. It is not thought to be hazardous to occupants because it does not become airborne and is only detectable by the unpleasant odor. When the unit switches from heat to cool, the odor is released. The problem seems to mainly effect heat pump systems.
Now just because you have a bad odor does not necessarily mean its dirty sock syndrome. You could just have wet insulation. You need a repair technician to look over the system to rule this out. Unfortunately if you do have dirty sock syndrome, you may have to replace the whole duct system, but only in extreme cases. However in most cases, these odors and smells are caused by mold or bacteria in the duct work, which can be eliminated though the installation of a UVC lamp in the return air duct inlet of the furnace.
You commercial heating maintenance business near Ballwin can assist you with cleaning coils to eliminate dirty sock syndrome smells and complaints. After the problem has been taken care of, a program of preventive maintenance measures needs to be set up to keep dirty sock syndrome at bay. As the main cause of dirty sock syndrome is lack of good preventive maintenance.