AC and heating units blowing in outside smells

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  #1  
Old 01-03-14, 03:18 PM
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AC and heating units blowing in outside smells

My husband smokes cigarettes in the garage with a never fully opened door in the winter since it cold. He'll open it about a foot. Every time the heat kicks on (or AC in the summer) it'll blow the smells from the garage into the house. It doesn't matter what room it is either, the smell comes from all the vents. It's completely disgusting. The furnace is in a closet in the garage, the AC unit is outside, and the air intake vent is located inside the house but shares a wall with the garage. We are renting so I can't and won't do any major work, but is there a way to seal off the units from sucking in outside air?

Also, I know, make him smoke outside, right? I've tried. He needs to just quit.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-03-14, 08:36 PM
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Are you saying that the smoke inters the mechanical closet in the garage or comes into the house through the open doorway?

If it is the first you may have a return air leak.
If it is the second problem, he will need to close the door to stop the smoke from entering the house.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 08:43 PM
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He opens the actual garage door. I mentioned that to clarify that the garage doesn't turn into a hot box; the smoke has somewhere else to go. I don't know how it's coming in, the smoke smell gets everywhere only when the furnace kicks on. I don't know if it's entering through the furnace or through the shared wall between the air intake vent and garage.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 09:30 PM
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It's probably entering directly at the air handler. It wouldn't take much of a leak to bring in the smoke smell. You may not be able to find the leak and seal it.

You'd think with the possibility of CO entering the house from the cars that the installation would have been a little tighter.

You could use a candle or some type of smoke generator to find leaks. With the unit running.. the candle flame (or smoke) will be drawn into the leaking point.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 09:34 PM
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Sounds like you have a return air leak.

Holding a light in the return air chase and inspecting outside of the duct may help find the leakage.

Running the fan and holding your hand near the duct may also help find return air duct leakage.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 09:46 PM
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I will check it out some time. I swear this house has added immensely to my list of what to look for in my next rental home.
 
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Old 01-05-14, 02:15 AM
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Peachsnapple (I prefer the Applesnapple myself but Peach is good also) Have you talked to your property manager about the problem? I doubt that he will want anything being done to the HVAC system without him knowing about it? Heck he might offer to fix it right up for you. Valid point on CO fumes being pulled into the house that could create a hazard for the residents. Do you have a Carbon Monoxide detector?
 
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