Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Dirty Socks?

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Dirty Socks?

Why does the air in your home smell like dirty socks? While you may think that it’s just time to clean your house, this smell is actually a fairly common problem known as dirty sock syndrome. Find out exactly what dirty sock syndrome is, how it affects your air conditioner, and how you can fight back against the stench.

For most homes, AC maintenance is all that’s needed to get rid of that dirty sock smell.
Contact us today to schedule your maintenance appointment or
call us at (727) 800-4148 to join the Blair’s Preferred Customers Maintenance Program

What Is Dirty Sock Syndrome?

Dirty sock syndrome is caused by a problem with your air conditioner. Part of your home’s AC system is called the air handler. The air handler is located inside the home (generally in the basement or attic) and is responsible for the circulation of air throughout your home.

The air handler is in a dark, and often cool part of your home. This makes it the ideal growing spot for mold and bacteria. None of this is really a problem until the temperature outside starts to dip. When this happens, your air handler goes into defrost mode, creating moisture. Now, the coils are damp and that terrible smell erupts.

why does the air conditioning smell musty or dirty or funky

How to Rid Your Home of Dirty Sock Syndrome

No one wants to live with that terrible smell in their homes. Luckily, you don’t have to! Getting rid of dirty sock syndrome is simple.

A clean air conditioner is the key to a great smelling home. The best way to keep your entire AC system clean and smelling fresh is through regular, annual maintenance. During AC maintenance, your entire air conditioner unit is cleaned and inspected to ensure that it is running at peak performance and free from any bad smells.

For most homes, a good cleaning is all that’s needed to get rid of that musty smell coming from your air conditioning system. However, it isn’t always that simple. If the problem is left untreated too long, then the damage to the AC may be permanent. This usually happens when the AC is extremely old and has not received regular maintenance for many years. When this is the case, the only option may be to replace part or all of the air conditioner.

how to get rid of dirty sock syndrome in air conditioner

Is there an electrical or musty odor coming from your AC?
Check out our blog: What’s That Smell Coming from My Air Conditioner?

Call Blair’s AC Repair in Clearwater, St. Pete and Tampa Bay


There is no reason you should be living in a home that smells like a locker room! If your home has been affected by dirty sock syndrome, contact Blair’s Air Conditioning and Heating today. We can help with all of your home’s air conditioning needs—from clogged condensate drain lines and leaking AC units, to routine maintenance and reliable repairs.

Just give us a call today at (727) 800-4148, or go online to schedule your appointment.