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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have looked in the manual and can't seem to figure this out. I have 2013 Outback with manual air. Withe fan in the off position and the temp regulator in the middle or any other position, I am still getting air through the vents. One vent type selector is always on with no way to turn it off. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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It's normal. The way to turn off the "natural" flow of air through the vents is to use the "recirculate" switch.

The car is equipped with a flow-through always functioning vent system. There are exhaust vents at the back of the car, hidden under the rear fenders. When the car is moving air can come in through the heater/AC intake duct at the front and then exit out the rear vents, even when the heater/AC fan is off. This helps prevent any build up of harmful gases in the car.

When using the heater or the AC fan, the system will normally draw air in from outside, heat or cool it, and blow it into the cabin through the selected vents. The air then is vented out of the cabin through the rear vents (especially if all the windows are closed.) This is the "normal" way the system functions to heat/cool the car and maintain fresh air inside. However, in some circumstances, such as trying to cool a very hot car just after getting in, it can be faster if the inside air is recirculated through the AC system rather than drawing in new, hot, air from outside. In this regard, there is a button identified as "recirculate". When this is switched on, a vane in the intake duct changes position, closing off the duct to the outside. The fan will then draw in air through an opening under the dashboard, thereby recirculating (recycling) the inside air. If the fan is turned off, but the "recirc" is left on, the outside air is still shut down, so no air will come in.

If you want to prevent the natural flow of air through the car, switch on the "recirc". This works even when the fan is not being used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks

Wow, I have owned a lot of cars, I have never had one where you can't shut the the HVAC system. Thanks for the detailed answer.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i premium CVT, all weather package
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so glad to read this...I've had the same problem...guess it's not a problem but normal???
 

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That's right -- it's not a problem.

Many cars have had some form of flow-through ventilation since, I'd say, the '60s. In some cases, it's integrated with the HVAC, as with the Subaru, so that even with the fan off, there's still some natural airflow. In others, such as my 76 Suburban, the fan is always on - there's no "Off" position, and even if there were, the duct setup is similar to the Subaru so air would still flow through naturally. Yet others will shut down the heater/AC system when it's switched off, but they have additional ducts and vents for the flow-through system. I seem to recall the flow-through ventilation being a requirement at one time (might still be) in order to avoid the possibility of exhaust and other fumes building up inside the car.

See also: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/61-general-discussions/26373-flow-through-ventilation.html,

the first paragraph here: How the heating and ventilation systems work | How a Car Works

and, Ventilation systems
 
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