Musty Smell From Heat Pump Coil
LESLIE: James in Texas is dealing with an odor from a heat pump. Tell us about the problem.
JAMES: Well, it’s just that occasionally there is a bad odor that comes out of the heating vent and I’ve been told that it’s called the Wet Sock Syndrome. (Tom laughs) Stinky Sock Syndrome.
TOM: It’s called the Wet Sock or the Dirty Sock Syndrome; more accurately, it’s musty.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Gross.
TOM: It’s like a musty coil syndrome. What happens is the coil – which is the evaporator coil; it’s on top of the furnace – gets covered with a fungus and that fungus is what has the awful odor. So what has to happen here is it has to be cleaned and so you’re going to have to have a heating pro come in and probably do this. It’s a little bit difficult to do it yourself but it has to be cleaned. It needs to be sprayed down with a mildicide or perhaps even bleach would work.
And that’ll kill the fungus and then it should be clean so that if there’s any – there’s actually like a brush that can go in there and clean this out, so that you get rid of any fungus parts that are sort of left behind. And that should make the place smell a whole heck of a lot better, James.
TOM: It’s a growth. It’s a very moist, damp area so it’s a common place for it to grow.
JAMES: Yeah, they said otherwise they have to replace the coil like for $3,000.
TOM: Nah, I don’t think you have to replace it, James; I think just a little housekeeping here will do the trick.
TOM: You know who might be able to do this for you? A duct cleaning company, come to think of it. They may be able to do it as well, because they have the equipment to really get in there. But it does have to be treated with a mildicide; I just want to caution you about that.
JAMES: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.