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White Mist/Steam/Smoke Coming From Center Vents

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Old 07-18-2009, 08:05 PM
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White Mist/Steam/Smoke Coming From Center Vents

Today wasnt a particular hot day in SF but I went down to the peninsula and I needed some AC. But on route there, it wasnt cold nor hot so i just had the air on, but no AC.

Well I was intermittently switching the AC button On and Off when I got to my destination in an attempt to dry out the vents and also to adjust temperature when it got too cold. All of a sudden, when I had the AC back on, my rear passenger noticed white mist or steam or smoke (no smell to it though) coming out from the front center vents only. The air was still cold, and this continued for a good minute until I switched off the AC.

When i switched on the AC, no more came out. This was just really strange to me. Could it be that the cold and hot temperature of my surroundings created the perfect conditions for the condensation to turn to a mist?

Anyways, just wanted to get some advice on whether or I should get it checked out asap.

Thanks
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:51 PM
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Icing on the coils might cause this, and you're switching it on and off frequently may have led to the situation.

For now, I'd leave it alone, try it again on another warm day and see how it works. If it persists, I might take it to a dealer. Probably won't persist, though.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by joshg1001 View Post
Today wasnt a particular hot day in SF but I went down to the peninsula and I needed some AC. But on route there, it wasnt cold nor hot so i just had the air on, but no AC.

Well I was intermittently switching the AC button On and Off when I got to my destination in an attempt to dry out the vents and also to adjust temperature when it got too cold. All of a sudden, when I had the AC back on, my rear passenger noticed white mist or steam or smoke (no smell to it though) coming out from the front center vents only. The air was still cold, and this continued for a good minute until I switched off the AC.

When i switched on the AC, no more came out. This was just really strange to me. Could it be that the cold and hot temperature of my surroundings created the perfect conditions for the condensation to turn to a mist?

Anyways, just wanted to get some advice on whether or I should get it checked out asap.

Thanks
I have noticed this water vapour on very humid days. I put it down to warm moist air entering the evaporator, being cooled , & now cannot hold the moisture at this cooler temperature therefore producing water vapour. We see this when warm moist air pushed higher by mountains to form clouds.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:56 AM
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This is normal. It's just like the icy vapor wafting around a frozen beer mug on the counter. I would either leave the AC on or leave it off but not go back and forth as the moisture could end up giving your the AC vent the "funk" if you start growing something in the moist air tubes.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by joshg1001 View Post
Could it be that the cold and hot temperature of my surroundings created the perfect conditions for the condensation to turn to a mist?
Yes.

Hey, what's a drive in Frisco without a little fog?
I'll be taking a road trip up there next week, looking forward to it.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 2tonOfun View Post
Yes.

Hey, what's a drive in Frisco without a little fog?
I'll be taking a road trip up there next week, looking forward to it.
Bring a down vest. "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." - Mark Twain
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by iblaho View Post
Bring a down vest. "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." - Mark Twain
Yeah, I've always liked that one too.
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:54 PM
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right now im in my room staring out to a gray sky. its a really despressing place to live when its like 100 degrees everywhere else but in SF. lol.

Actually, it is just certain areas of the city. if you say by the coast (ocean beach area), you will get the fog, especially at night rolling in. But stay downtown and there is sun!

I would either leave the AC on or leave it off but not go back and forth as the moisture could end up giving your the AC vent the "funk" if you start growing something in the moist air tubes.
funny, I do what I do so that there wont be anything growing there. my reasoning is that the warmer air from not turning on the AC would dry the vents. anyways, thanks for everyones help
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by C300Sport View Post
This is normal.
If James Bond was in your car, yes - if not, this seems a bit weird to me. I've done the same thing up/around/in SF and never had this happen. Then again, I had the dealer treat my evaporator coils because they were musky/moldy, so that may have had an impact, too.

Good luck w/this one.
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by joshg1001 View Post
Today wasnt a particular hot day in SF but I went down to the peninsula and I needed some AC. But on route there, it wasnt cold nor hot so i just had the air on, but no AC.

Well I was intermittently switching the AC button On and Off when I got to my destination in an attempt to dry out the vents and also to adjust temperature when it got too cold. All of a sudden, when I had the AC back on, my rear passenger noticed white mist or steam or smoke (no smell to it though) coming out from the front center vents only. The air was still cold, and this continued for a good minute until I switched off the AC.

When i switched on the AC, no more came out. This was just really strange to me. Could it be that the cold and hot temperature of my surroundings created the perfect conditions for the condensation to turn to a mist?

Anyways, just wanted to get some advice on whether or I should get it checked out asap.

Thanks
Have the the dealer inspected, that's not normal.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:02 PM
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Had the same issue this morning coming to work.. A little more humid today than average, but nothing crazy (I'm in the NW we don't know what humidity is).

Odd... adding to the list of dealer fixes
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by blue00r6 View Post
Had the same issue this morning coming to work.. A little more humid today than average, but nothing crazy (I'm in the NW we don't know what humidity is).

Odd... adding to the list of dealer fixes
There is nothing wrong as it's just condensation.

Just yesterday here in Seattle the humidity was 97% (unheard of here and an all time record) with an outside temp over 70 deg F. Since I leave my AC on automatic all the time (and why not?) this never happens to my car.

Yesterday's dewpoint was about 2 deg below the temp and if it had been colder we would have had fog except for the sunshine, I guess.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:13 PM
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Yeah, I'm down in Portland and it has turned out to be a VERY muggy day.. I feel like I'm sweating just sitting in my office. Well good to hear that it's not a big deal (the AC gas of death)

I felt like I was in some Austin powers movie and someone had rigged laughing gas to flow through the vents..
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:43 PM
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High humidity!

Ever sat on the ground in an aircraft in Singapore or Bangkok waiting for clearance. Aircon blows plenty of water vapour into the cabin.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:50 PM
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I've seen that happen in all of my cars.
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