Natural Gas odor

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Old 01-06-07, 11:23 AM
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Exclamation Natural Gas odor

YIKES!!

It was 1:30 am last night. I was still awake and I heard the furnace fan blower turn on as it normally does.

A few minutes go by, and I start smelling a faint odor of Natural gas coming from the vent.

I feel the vent, and it was blowing cool are. I had an issue with this blowing cooler air not to long ago, there's actually a thread in here about it.

I wasn't sure if it was just my senses acting up, but NG has a very distinct odor. I woke my wife up to verifiy, and she said she smelt some too.

I only could smell it in the master bedroom, in which it's the closest vent to the actual furnace and blower.

I immidiately got up and turned off the TStat.

Did not turn on or off any lights, didn't want to blow myself up if there was enough NG in the air.


It was a faint smell, and not overpowering.


What can cause this? This unit was installed in 82, and I believe it's a Carrier 58G model.
 
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Old 01-06-07, 12:26 PM
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maybe the ignitor didn't light the gas up as it should off.. You may got some gas order. but not enough to blow. Have you tried turning it back on, and watch to see if the pilot or Hot Surface Ignitor(Glows orange) came on?
 
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Old 01-06-07, 01:17 PM
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I don't want to sound like a worry wart, but usually the air movement is through a closed system eg. air enters the cold air return, passes through the blower and around the heat exchanger and back to the living areas through the warm air ducts.
If you smell NG through the warm air ducts, it could indicate a pin hole in the heat exchanger which could also transfer CO into the living area.

With a 25 year old furnace, I would inspect or have the heat exchanger checked. It could be on it's last legs - we don't want you to be that way.
 
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Old 01-06-07, 01:37 PM
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I agree with goldstar. Also if there was some sort of backdraft going on, it could have caused the ignition failure as well as the odor of gas. It would take much more gas than you smelled to cause an explosion but it never pays to use the match test to find out.

Ken
 
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Old 01-06-07, 01:41 PM
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I am not famiiar with your unit but prior to all the high efficiency units, many of the furnaces had open burners that blew into the heat exchanger.

If it is this type, I don't think what you smelled would be odd as when a unit fires up it obviously hass to run gas and then ignite it. If the ignition source was bad, you would have some unburned gas floating around.


If it is a sealed heat exchanger, then I would look to goldstar's suggestion about the heat exchanger.

Do you have a CO detector in your house? Everybody should. It wouldn;t detect the NG but if a you have a leaking heat exchanger, it could save your life.
 
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Old 01-06-07, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for the replies!

With the problem I was having previously (burners not igniting, but blower on) I suspect there might have been a little NG in the vents from trying to ignite.

It seems to be working ok now.

I think I will be getting ready to fork out the doe for a new HVAC system.

And I just went and purchased a $70 CO/Explosive gas detector just in case.

Thanks again.

While I'm on the subject, whats a good reliable brand of HVAC system? Carrier, Trane, etc?
 
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Old 01-06-07, 06:32 PM
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Furnace Brand

The brand of furnace makes little to no difference. Installation is the key. Find a contractor with whom you are comfortable & you have gotten to via recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. then use whatever brand he suggests.
 
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Old 01-07-07, 05:46 AM
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I agree with Grady. You also may want to ask dealers how easy/fast for them to get parts if they didn't have them in stock. (From my experince getting parts from Lennox around here is hard. Trane is very easy to get, and fast.)

Make sure the dealer does Manual-J and also making sure the ductwork is to size to handel the load.
 
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