“Dirty Sock Syndrome”, a phrase coined by HVAC contractors nationwide to describe a microorganism growth problem in HVAC units, has plagued HVAC OEMs and independent contractors for far too long. All OEMs have acknowledged the problem without knowing of a long-term, effective, and efficient solution.
Since OEMs replaced copper with aluminum in coil construction, normal environmental bacteria and fungus have found a perfect habitat to grow and thrive. As microorganisms grow, they produce an off-gas, which builds up around the coils and in the air handling unit (AHU). When the AHU blower first turns on, it pulls this cloud of off-gas from around the coils, through duct work and the registers, and into the conditioned space. This “dirty sock” smell is typically noticeable for only a few minutes until it dissipates into the air. However, the puff of smelly air comes out every time the blower turns on, making the problem more noticeable since the inhabitants do not build an immunity to the smell. In addition to the smell, if the inhabitants are allergic to the species of microorganism that is growing in the AHU, they could have minor to severe allergic reactions to this puff of off-gas entering the space several times per day. Some species can be extremely harmful to anyone in the contaminated environment.
The technology of Signal Hygiene’s products coupled with our multi-step application protocols are proven, both clinically and in real-world application, to remove & prevent odor-causing particles. We stand behind our promises with renewable warranties for 5 years from a single treatment.
Trained Signal Hygiene technicians can treat any size or type of HVAC system, from mini-splits to large commercial units, in a single visit. Single family home systems typically take 3 to 5 hours, while larger commercial systems can be completed in one 8-hour shift with the right crew size. Upon completion, the odors will be gone and stay gone.
One solution some OEMs use involves removing the coils from the infected unit, sending them to a manufacturing or treatment facility to dip the coils in a multi-stage process, which provides a coating on the coils that inhibits microorganisms from growing on the surface. This process is expensive, leaves the environment unconditioned for several weeks (thus producing very unhappy customers), and doesn’t solve the root cause of the problem. The Signal Hygiene solution not only addresses the core problem, but is also less expensive and produces happy customers.
Is “Dirty-Sock Syndrome” a manufacturer warranty issue? Is it an installation problem, making the contractor liable? The answer to these 2 questions is “Absolutely Not.” Manufacturer warranties cover deficiencies in material and workmanship. The coils are not deficient; in most cases the system is functioning properly and is conditioning the environment. If this is the case, we also know the installation contractor performed their services effectively. The problem is not related to equipment or installation – it’s an environmental problem. However, the OEMs and independent contractors are the ones absorbing all of the costs. After our initial treatment, all of the liability shifts to Signal Hygiene, and we are responsible for solving the issue permanently.
As mentioned previously, this puff of smelly, microbial off-gas travels directly into the duct work system, through the registers, into the conditioned space, then back through the returns. An effective solution should include treating all these areas, which is exactly what Signal Hygiene does. A single treatment eliminates the root cause and byproducts or side effects of the problem.
We have such confidence in the technology of our products and our system that we can offer the homeowner a 5 YEAR RESIDENTIAL WARRANTY guaranteeing the smell will not return. Here’s how the warranty works:
If the system is more than 30 days old, a full treatment of the AHU and duct work must be completed. If it is less than 30 days old, a mitigation treatment can be performed at a fraction of the cost.
Included with the treatment is a year’s worth of ElimiShield HVAC filters (4 filters per return). One set will be installed upon completion of the treatment, then the homeowner must replace them every 90 days.
At the end of the first year, a Signal Hygiene technician will return to the residence for a minimal service fee, inspect the unit and the coils, replace the filters, and leave 3 additional filters for the following year. This will result in an additional year warranty on the treatment.
Annual inspections and filter replacements will continue each year for a total of 5 years. At the end of the warranty period, the technician will quote the homeowner a re-treatment cost, the entire system will be treated again, then the 5-year renewable warranty will start over.
Commercial units are warrantied for 1 year with an inspection performed 6 months after treatment due to the volume and pressure of the air flow. ElimiShield filters are also provided with the service. Retreatments are recommended each year.
D Lombardo says: “The service provided was worth the money spent. For over 20 years our HVAC vents had never been cleaned out and the dust and dirt that accumulated was unbelievable. There was no telling how much of that was being thrown back in the air and we were breathing it in. Brady spent the entire day cleaning the entire vents and duct work and filter. The job was done right, and the difference is amazing. The air is cleaner that we breath; for some reason my monthly electric bill is lower; and there is a fresh clean smell when the air or heater unit is running. I highly recommend SignalHygiene. They don’t just come out with a vacuum cleaner. They have the tools and time to do it right.”
B Hill says: “I am a property manager responsible for over 150 units. Our company manages over 2,000. Signal Hygiene is our go-to for inspection and remediation of all things “M” – mildew, musty smells, moisture issues, or mutt (and feline) odors. Brady is extremely easy to work with, responsible, and knows how to discuss things with both us, and the resident! With nothing more than an email he is on the job, scheduling his inspection, getting an estimate back quickly with pictures or videos, and stands behind his work. My job is easier thanks to Signal Hygiene!”
Anonymous says: “I’m a Mechanical Engineer at a hospital. We had some significant issues in a facility and tried many companies and so-called solutions to fix the problem but nothing had any lasting results. Then I tried The Signal Hygiene guys. After a single treatment, the problem was completely gone and hasn’t come back in over two and half years. They’re discrete, usually performing services during third shift, the technicians are unmarked as is their trucks and trailers, and they don’t talk to other staff or patients. These guys truly produce amazing results.”