Radiator is leaking cigarette/cigar smoke-like smell at entrance


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Old 01-06-15, 08:52 AM
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Unhappy Radiator is leaking cigarette/cigar smoke-like smell at entrance

Hello,

I live in a 100 year old building that was a hospital and renovated into an apartment building in the early 1970's. I don't think they've changed the heating system since then. I believe it's a central heating water based system, but it could be oil.

In the winter time it gets down to -40 Celsius here, and so people start smoking inside. In December I came home from work an my apartment smelt like a chimney. Super aggravating. Can't make a positive air-flow, I decided to seal all the easy gaps (used a caulk gun with some sealant I got from the hardware store) and buy a HEPA-grade air-purifier. This helped a lot. But I could still smell it when I was watching TV. So I followed my nose and discovered the crappy renovation work they did when they install the furnace. There were gaps in the concave around the furnace that might have led to next door. There were also a 2 circles probably 2 inches in diameter going into the ground that had the heating pipes which are about half an inch in diameter. The smell is pungent here.

I went to home depot and the guy recommended I buy some foam piping and stick it in there. I said it was a bloody hot pipe and he said it won't be hot enough to melt the foam. I didn't want to drive back so I also bought this stone mason sealant rated up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (used for chimneys and stuff.) Guess what? Tried the foam first and it started melting. These are hot pipes!

I used the stonemason super heat resistant sealant. Half the canister. just started dabbing it on and sealed the hole. It is air-tight on both holes. I took parts of the foam tube and stuck it between the gap in the radiator and the wall (no direct heat there, won't melt) to block and chance of air seeping in from this area.

Result: still getting the terrible cigarette/cigar like smell from that specific area. Despite air sealing the pipe entrance, and the surrounding area, I believe it's coming from where the entrance pipe hits the long heating pipe, maybe it's loose? Or where the temperature knob thing attached to the pipes. This is made out of plastic as opposed to everything else which is metal, so maybe it's getting old? (also keep in mind this is one of those old heating systems that clangs and bangs from air-bubbles every few hours)

I turned the heater all the way to 0 (goes from an arbitrary 0 - 5, 5 being hottest.), waiting a couple hours, and the smell was bad. I turned it to 5 (the hottest.) The smell isn't as bad from that area, but then the rest of my place starts smelling like it. I think when it's at max heat it just rises faster and then flows around.

Any ideas aside from calling my landlord, which I'm going to tomorrow after I clean my place up? And am I dying? (certainly is giving me a headache)

Thank you!
 
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Old 01-06-15, 09:48 AM
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I don't see how we can help you with this issue.

This forum is for heating systems, not indoor air quality.
 
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Old 01-06-15, 09:52 AM
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This is an issue to discuss with your landlord.
 
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Old 01-06-15, 09:54 AM
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I thought someone would know why there would be a funky smell that sort of smells like cigars that is leaking from what is supposed to be a closed loop central heating system.
 
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Old 01-06-15, 10:08 AM
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Perhaps a previous tenant has smoked in the apartment and the smoke has coated the radiator...
 
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Old 01-06-15, 10:23 AM
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hmm, something I hadn't thought about. Maybe I'll look into getting it cleaned.
Thanks!
 
 

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