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WHEN: After the engine has warmed or possibly even after it's shut off for a few minutes. It could be coming from a radiator or heater hose, a failed intake manifold gasket or cylinder head. It might be coming from a leaky radiator cap or the radiator itself, especially if you smell it outside the car.

A strong odor inside the passenger compartment probably means a bad heater core. And no, drizzling Listerine down the vents won't fix it, in spite of what your brother-in-law read on the Internet.

Check popularmechanics. WHEN: All the time, especially after the vehicle has been sitting after a long drive.

ammonia smell coming from car vents

This means gear lube is leaking from the manual transmission, transfer case or differential housing. Sulfur compounds in this oil serve as extreme-pressure lubricants for the gears, and can get pretty funky after a few years in service. Look for sulfury-smelling dribbles of viscous, oily stuff under the car.

Unfortunately, leaks here typically mean a trip to the shop. On older cars--pre or so--some odor after a hot shutoff is normal from fuel afterboil in the carburetor float bowl. Modern cars have an evaporative-emissions system that's tighter than our managing editor's deadline schedule, so any fuel smell means something is wrong. There may be a leak from a fuel-injection line or a fuel-tank vent hose.

It's supposed to be converted to sulfur dioxide in your catalytic converter. This may be indicative of a fuel-injection problem, and can be cured by a sharp mechanic. But often it means a failed catalytic converter. The bad news: A new cat is expensive. The good news is it's probably covered under warranty. Check with your dealer. WHEN: At all speeds, particularly when you're working your way through the gears.

The odor is reminiscent of smoldering newsprint: like trying to burn the Sunday newspaper all at once in the fireplace, especially if it's been used to wrap sardines. The friction material is actually a paper composition, which explains the papery part of the smell. Either replace the clutch, or learn to stop riding the clutch pedal.

This is an acrid, burning smell. It's earthier and more nose-wrinkling than the odor of cooking oil used for french fries. If it's from a leaky crankshaft seal that's spraying oil all over, some of it will find the red-hot manifold--but most will be on the pavement.

A leaky valve cover won't necessarily leave a drip on the floor if all the oil drizzles onto the exhaust, vaporizing immediately. Look for smoke and try to stem the leak.Ammonia is a colorless gas frequently used in farming and manufacturing products like textiles and plastics. It's also a powerful cleaning agent.

Ammonia is marked by its foul, overwhelming odor, which can quickly overcome those who inhale the fumes. Any suspicious ammonia odor in a household should be investigated immediately. Some, including leaking ammonia cleaner in a confined space, can be dangerous, while other causes, like cat urine, are more of an annoyance than dangerous.

Ammonia is a byproduct of pet waste, especially cat urine.

The 8 Home Smells That Could Be Signs of Danger

Cat urine contains high level of urea, which is an ammonia compound and responsible for the strong ammonia smell.

You may smell ammonia from your pet waste if you aren't cleaning up after your cat properly. For example, cat litter that isn't changed often enough can lead to an ammonia smell. Or, your pet may have an incontinence problem or urinate inside for behavioral reasons. If these accidents aren't cleaned up promptly or discovered at all, you can smell ammonia. Additionally, your cat could have a urinary tract problem. If you are cleaning diligently and still smelling ammonia, encourage your cat to drink more water or have it examined by a veterinarian.

Most modern household refrigerators use freon as a coolant, but older models used ammonia. Additionally, many recreation vehicles still use ammonia in small refrigerators, as ammonia is not flammable, whereas freon is highly flammable. So, an ammonia smell could come from leaking refrigerant, either from an older model refrigerator or from an RV refrigerator stored in a home.

This is likely the case if the ammonia odor is centralized around an older appliance. The smell could, however, waft into air vents as well, distributing it throughout the household. Ammonia is widely used in both farming, as a fertilizer, and manufacturing various products, especially plastics. Additionally, ammonia is a byproduct of large-scale animal farms from the waste.

Why Does the Air Coming Through My A/C Vents Smell Bad?

Homes downwind of such operations may occasionally or frequently experience ammonia smells that waft into the house. You can test out this theory by asking neighbors if they're smelling ammonia in their own homes.

Or, check out a map to learn if factories or farms are nearby. A zoning map obtained from your town may be especially helpful in identifying nearby causes of ammonia odors. As a common household cleaner, many solutions and products contain ammonia and thus can carry a faint ammonia smell.

Investigate your cleaning products if you experience a sustained ammonia odor in your home. Lift up the bottles to check for signs of leaking, such as a wet or dried moisture ring. Shake the bottles gently and watch for signs of a puncture, such as leaking cleaner. Test all caps and seals by tightening them and turning the bottle upside down to see if any leak. Dispose of any leaking bottles immediately according to your local laws. It's best to wear protective gloves while testing for leaking cleaners, as any that spill on your skin can be caustic, and conduct this test in a well-ventilated area.

Tallulah Philange has worked as a journalist since Her work has appeared in the "Princeton N. Packet," "Destinations" magazine and in higher education publications. She also has edited and produced online content for those publications. Philange holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from American University and a Master of Arts in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University.

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Why does my central heater smell of urine? Why would that be? Our house is a 's one-story ranch build on a concrete slab. We've owned it since August. The home inspector didn't see any signs of rodent activity, neither did the pest inspector, and we've had an exterminator out since then to spray for bugs and inspect once more.

ammonia smell coming from car vents

We don't run the heater as often, this being New Mexico, but yeah, when we do, it reeks! We've changed the filter, and that didn't help. We've looked for pet accidents with a blue light around the air intake and found nothing. We've checked the carpeting all over the house and found no pet mistakes anywhere.

My guy says that he smells "a little bit of something" but to me it stinks to high heaven.

How to Find and Repair Exhaust Leaks EASY (Without a Welder)

The only difference between the summer and now is that the ceiling fans have been turned off because they need cleaning. Also, we had to replace the condensation pump this was after the smell started because the old one blew up all over the utility closet -- water everywhere!

This could be unrelated, but since late fall, but I've developed a dry cough, ended up in the ER with said cough, and am now on an inhaled steroid I have asthma. Are they fiberglas ducts? Some types of fiberglas and the resin used for glue will emit this kind of odor. Ammonia is one of the off-gassing ingredients, which is probably what you are smelling. It would be more evident with hot air than cold air. Possibly a duct-cleaning contractor can go through with a sealant spray. Some possibly relevant info.

Is there a possibility that you have rodents in the ductwork itself? The bedding and urine of the rodents remain long after the rodents are gone. If the air conditioner uses the same ductwork as the heater, try turning on the air conditioner to see if the common ductwork is providing the odor. If the air conditioner in the winter does not produce the same odor as the heater in the winter, then the problem might be with the heater the odor of rodent will be less pronounced with cold air, of course.

I know that odor. One time an empire of mice thrived under the upper intake manifold of the van.When you turn on your central heating system in your house, you expect a warm blast of air to enter through the vents and bring your home to a comfortable temperature. If the warm air is accompanied by a foul odor, you'll likely be reluctant to keep it turned on. While shutting it down completely may stop the problem temporarily, you should diagnose the cause of the smell so that it doesn't interfere with the heating of your house again.

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Turn on your heating system and let it run for a few minutes if the smell is a mild burning smell if this is the first time the heat has been turned on this season.

Over the warmer months when the heat is not in use, the dust from your home can settle in the vents and around the heating elements or combustion chamber in your furnace. When the heat is turned on for the first time since this dust accumulation, it will often result in a burning smell from the burning off of the dust. It will go away momentarily and should not return during regular use. Change the filter on your furnace's air intake.

These filters are inexpensive and you can replace them yourself. A dirty filter can cause a musty smell or lead to overheating and a burning smell as well as a fire hazard. Flip the clip that holds the filter in place and pull the dirty filter out. Place a new one into the slot where the old filter was and replace the clamps. Be sure you install the filter with the proper side facing outward. There is generally an arrow indicating which way the filter should be installed.

Inspect sewer lines for leaks to see if methane gas from the sewer is leaking into the air intake. If you smell sewer gas when the heat is on, you may have a gas leak near the air intake or near ductwork that is allowing fumes into the ducts, which are then circulated throughout the house.

A professional should repair a sewer line leak immediately. Inspect all the ducts connected to your heating system so make sure there are no gaps. Any odor that drifts into the duct system will lead to odor all through the house as the blower pushes the smell out through the vents.

Usually this is the result of gaps in the ducts caused by rust or other damage. Schedule a thorough cleaning of your duct system. Sometimes rodents or other vermin can make their way into the ducts and die. The smell of the decaying animals will drift into the home through the vents when the heat is running.

Mold can also grow in vents causing a musty smell to circulate through the home.

ammonia smell coming from car vents

Professional duct cleaning services can eliminate these smells. Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

If you smell something foul coming from your heater vents, diagnose the problem. Step 1 Turn on your heating system and let it run for a few minutes if the smell is a mild burning smell if this is the first time the heat has been turned on this season. Step 2 Change the filter on your furnace's air intake. Step 3 Inspect sewer lines for leaks to see if methane gas from the sewer is leaking into the air intake.

Step 4 Inspect all the ducts connected to your heating system so make sure there are no gaps. Step 5 Schedule a thorough cleaning of your duct system. Share this article. Lee Morgan. Show Comments.All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.

Hottest Questions. Previously Viewed. Unanswered Questions. Air Conditioning and Coolant. Why do you smell ammonia when the air conditioner is working? Wiki User It sounds like there is a leak inthe evaporator section of your air conditioner.

If this continues, the air conditioner will no longer cool and you may have to replace several components of the system. The smell is that of atomized esther oil. Asked in Home Appliances Smell coming from reverse cycle air conditioner?

A smell coming from a reverse cycle air conditioner may be a signal that the filter needs to be cleaned. A smell like engine exhaust might be present if the air conditioner motor is in need of repair. Your air conditioner blower may have stopped working because the blower motor isn't working.

You can replace the blower or replace the air conditioner.

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An air conditioner should not smell like smoke when turned on or when turned off. I would have to suspect that the electrical insulation is burning. How can I tell if the coils are clogged in my central air conditioner?

Auto Diagnosis - What's That Smell?

Well, you can open it to find out. But mostly, you will know they are not working if the air conditioner blows hot air, or stops working all together. A Toyota Echo air conditioner is designed to cool the vehicle. If the air conditioner stops working, it could be low on freon or the motor could have seized. Asked in Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning What is the difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump?

An air conditioner if functioning as air warmer or air chiller can be called as a type of heat pump. If an air conditioner is working as an air de-humidifier then it no more a heat pump.

Freon mixed with refrigerate oil will have a slight smell Asked in Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning What happens when the air conditioner unit stops working?Recently I've been getting a chemical type of smell in my volt. Has anyone out there experienced this. Just checking before I give the dealership a call. I have heard stories of teen vandals pouring liquids in the are intake area of parked cars to cause this problem No odd smells yet, but it has not been through a hot summer week yet I searched the forum and most suggested turning the AC off before you get home.

Sorry, I don't want to do that and shouldn't have to do that.

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Also, when the AC runs for the battery, there's nothing you can do. If others have had this and gotten it fixed, please tell me how! I noticed the same in my volt last summer, it was over 90 degrees the last few days until today in iowa, and I did not notice the smell.

I am thinking it is probably something used in the manufacturing process, in my experience - it went away during the first year. Seems like it involves condensation with the AC. Fixed by turning it off in advance of arriving home, though a nuisance. Same fix worked for me too. About a week ago, I noticed an incredibly appalling chemical smell from my Volt, definitely coming through the AC.

It isn't very strong, but just about knocks me out, it is so nauseating. I have no idea what might be causing it, but the specific smell is so bad if they can't fix it I'm going for the lemon law.

I like my volt, but when I'm driving it like this I want to stop and leave it in a ditch. My girlfriend noticed earlier and suggested I 'trade it in for a new one', I guess she didn't want to admit it was only the smell. I don't find the suggestion of turning off the AC before I get home appealing. There has to be a bettwr answer.These areas are moist and enclosed — the perfect habitat for bacteria.

There are several ways to treat this, but the best solution is not to experience it in the first place. Additionally, always try to run the fan without the air conditioning on for at least two minutes before turning off the engine again, this is to help dry the system and avoid creating a habitat conducive to mildew and mold growth.

The problem can also be treated by spraying a disinfectant through the fresh air intakes under the hood, as well as using a foaming system cleaner both of these should be done by a professional. Another potential cause here is that your cabin filter s needs to be changed. Over time, the filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust, and pollen. Mold and mildew can grow here as well. Some cabin filter s can be found behind the gloveboxbut it takes a considerable amount of teardown to remove and replace them.

If you need assistance inspecting or repairing your air conditioning system, contact a certified mobile technician from YourMechanic.

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Smell in the car Inspection. Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2, U. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair. Schedule Smell in the car Inspection. Service Area. Average rating from 62 customers who received a Smell in the car Inspection.

How to prevent bad smells There are several ways to treat this, but the best solution is not to experience it in the first place. Next Step Schedule Smell in the car Inspection The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Smell in the car Inspection. Home Articles. The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details. Related Articles. Related Questions.

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Relay contacts degrade over time and use, and can stick together when burned.