Mildew Smell from Heater Vents - : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-10-2015, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Mildew Smell from Heater Vents

Hi Everyone,

Now that winter is here, we are getting a strong smell from the vents when the heater is blowing. It smells like wet carpet or towels after they begin to stink. It only smells when the heater is on. (maybe AC too but it's real cold out so I haven't verified that)

I haven't had a chance to troubleshoot yet but was wondering if anybody had any recommendations. My jeep is a VERY late 2013 with only about 6K miles on it and is garage kept. Low miles but it isn't our daily driver. It's never been in the rain while topless, etc...

The couple of thoughts I have are these possibilities:
1. Maybe used the AC the last time we drove it and it sat for many weeks and now there is some residual water/moisture that went stagnant or grew mold/mildew.

2. Possibly some mice found their way into the HVAC duct-work and answered the call of mother nature in there somewhere. Although, I really don't think it smells like mouse pee, I guess it is possible.

Other than these 2 possibilities, I'm stumped.

Any ideas on what I should check, how I should clean this to remove the stank, etc...?

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post #2 of 8 Old 01-10-2015, 01:58 PM
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You may have a leak that runs down to your carpet from the intersection of the top and the top of the door. Stick your nose down close to the carpet and snort. To get the smell out pour some Arm and Hammer over the carpet and pour it on thick. Leave it on a couple of days and vacuum. You can also buy some stuff thats made specifically for getting rid of mold smell. Good luck.

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-10-2015, 02:25 PM
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It's common to get that smell in the HVAC system when the condensate drain is plugged.

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-10-2015, 02:32 PM
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Older Jeeps had a drain tube that drained excess water out of the hvac box.Anything that gets into the hvac intake vent on the cowl goes through the heater box. Sticks/leaves/mud and plug the drain and water would stagnate in the heater box.

I assume the JK's have a similar drain. I bet yours is plugged with gunk.

I tried to find an image of it but could not. It should be a hose hanging down from the firewall on the passenger side of the engine somewhere, with a weird looking flat nozzle on it. I'm pretty sure it's the only one that does not run to anything. Clean it out, flush it with a hose and run water though from the cowl to make sure it's clean and draining, and you should be good.

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post #5 of 8 Old 01-11-2015, 08:30 AM
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mine was the same until I pulled the carpet out about 4 years ago.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-18-2015, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well, this is a bit embarrassing but I did say that had NOT yet troubleshot anything!

Turns out that it was my Husky floor mat on the driver's side. I guess I brought home some presents from our buddy's farm a month or so ago. Couldn't smell anything until hot air blew out of the floor vents and onto the mat.

Probably did 20 minutes of troubleshooting until I found it. I expected it to be coming from the duct work and was starting to lean toward a dead mouse. LOL Funny how a little poo doesn't really smell like poo with the proper set of circumstances.

Sorry for the false alarm.


Last edited by Jerry1; 01-24-2015 at 08:17 AM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-21-2015, 05:06 AM
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Don't apologize. You're finding the smell coming from your floor mat makes me think about pulling mine and cleaning the carpet before tearing into the HVAC system.
I've been getting the mildew smell in the mornings when I first start up the Jeep (more like anytime I'm not running it with heat).
I know the carpets are a mess.. there's more salt there than on the roads!

So thanks for the tip!
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-21-2015, 06:58 AM
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Ditched my carpet and bolted my floor mats in some time ago. No regrets. One day I will get around to bed lining the tub. Need to do it soon as I will be selling the pumpkin.

I have jeeps. I do shit to them.
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