When you turn on your heat pump or furnace for the first time this year, you may not expect it to make your home smell like dirty gym socks. But if your home does have a strong, unsavory odor, check your air handler's evaporator coil right away. The evaporator coil could be covered in bacteria, mold, and mildew. The following tips can help you clean your evaporator coil and freshen up your house now.

What's Making Your Home Smell So Stinky?

The evaporator coil keeps your house warm in the winter and cool in the spring and summer. But as the months pass by, the coil can build up with a host of contaminants, including balls of dust, mold spores, and bacteria. Once you turn on your heat pump or furnace, the contaminants can give off a strong stinky sock odor. This is called dirty sock syndrome.

Dirty sock syndrome isn't something that goes away by itself. The odor can pass through your air ducts and permeate throughout your home. The odor can be dangerous for people who have asthma and other respiratory disorders. Mold, in particular, can cause sneezing, coughing, and a plethora of other symptoms in some individuals. 

The best way to freshen up your home is to inspect your evaporator coil.

How Do You Get Rid of the Stinky Sock Odor?

If you're comfortable with working on your evaporator coil, you can inspect the device yourself. However, the coil may have something else wrong with it that requires professional maintenance from a heating and cooling contractor, such as bent fins or a frozen condensate line. In addition, evaporator coils can deteriorate from years of usage. If your evaporator coil is in poor shape, a professional heating and cooling contractor can let you know about it. 

After inspecting your evaporator coil, a contractor can either clean it or repair it. If your coil fails in the near future, a contractor can replace it for you. An HVAC contractor may suggest that you replace the coil on your heat pump as well. The outdoor coil may also be in poor condition. 

You can keep your home's air quality fresh by changing the indoor unit's air filter regularly. You also want to wipe down the surface of the air handler containing your evaporator coil regularly. By following these steps, you may keep your evaporator coil from building up with debris.

For more information about dirty sock syndrome and how to prevent it, contact a heating and cooling company like Arnold Service Co today.