forced air oil heater smells

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-16-09, 08:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: massachusetts
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
forced air oil heater smells

Hi, a few years ago, someone posted this question:

"When my furnace fires up and before the fan starts blowing, the house vents let out a foul smell of combustion fumes that eventually dissipates when the fan starts blowing hot air out. I purchased a CO monitor and no CO is detected. I asked my landlord to have the problem fixed and the technician replaced the nozzle and tuned the furnace. He apparently did a smoke test which was normal. However, the smell is still there. In my understanding, there should be absolutely no mixing of combustion air with the circulation air if the heat exchanger is intact, and therefore no oil smells, either during or before combustion, should escape into the house. The negative smoke and CO tests seem to indicate that the heat exchanger is fine. My question is, is this normal and what could cause this? Thanks for any help."

Our furnace is having the same problem. Three separate technicians have come out and checked it-they did the "bomb" test, but I don't know if they did any CO tests. They could not find anything wrong and were unable to smell the odor. The smell is intermittent, and sometimes VERY noticeable, and other times much more subtle. We have had several houseguests confirm smelling it. Since then, we had it off all summer, and only just turned it back on for the winter, after having it tuned up. At the latest tune-up, the tech thought maybe it was dust in the vents. The problem is, that until today (2 weeks since turning it back on), it has not smelled at all. I noticed it for the first time again this morning. The only change is that the weather has turned more seriously cold...I had it vacuumed this morning and have smelled it since then. I only smell it before the fan dissipates
it.

Any ideas as to what to ask the technician to do that they may not have done as of yet?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-20-09, 08:12 AM
asm660's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Punta gorda Fl.
Posts: 62
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If it passed the bomb test ok I like to pull the whole thing apart to check the heat exchanger but that is just the way i do it look at least 2 houres to do it. you stated Intermittent smell.
1 I would look for delayed engision
2 pep hole door on closing
3 back pressure over fire
4 bad seal from fire box to heat exchanger
5 down draft from chimney when you smell it is it windy out side??
6 a tree higher than the chimney
7 a dorm added to your house or nabors??
8 is it a tight fit from your smoke pipe to the furance?? chimney base???

William
 
  #3  
Old 10-20-09, 09:22 AM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You can depend on a good many "repair" companies "finding" a cracked heat exchanger on pretty much every furnace they encounter.


When the repairman looks up into the heat exchanger, he just naturally sees a hundred dollar bill up there in commissions for scaring the customer into replacing the furnace.


Had your landlord called one of these outfits, your problems would be in the process of being solved.
 
  #4  
Old 10-20-09, 04:55 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
You can depend on a good many "repair" companies "finding" a cracked heat exchanger on pretty much every furnace they encounter.


When the repairman looks up into the heat exchanger, he just naturally sees a hundred dollar bill up there in commissions for scaring the customer into replacing the furnace.


Had your landlord called one of these outfits, your problems would be in the process of being solved.
Well stated SP. I've seen several good techs ruined by "commission" on sales. A few years ago a local firm was pestering me to come to work for them. After the interview I told the service manager "thanks but no thanks". Probably 75% of the "interview" was his pitching how much money his techs can make by selling new equipment usually by condemning the customers furnace.
 
  #5  
Old 10-20-09, 05:02 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Noodles

Mass. is pretty tough when it comes to techs who work on HVAC. That is not to say there aren't any fly by nighters out there or even certified techs who can get lazy. Did the tech do any electronic combustion analysis? If so do you have a copy of the results? Readings should be taken before & after the fan comes on. A change in draft, oxygen, or CO is cause for further investigation.
 
  #6  
Old 10-20-09, 05:48 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If say you have the unit in the basement, I'd pay attention to if the smell is present in the basement as well as the registers, - or if only at the registers. That be a big tip off it is in the exchanger or not.

Had one where chunk was out of exchanger, smelled only like a basement, in the basement, - but the registers gave off strong odor of fuel oil when it ran. That clinched the deal, for further internal inspection and confirmed proof.
 
  #7  
Old 10-21-09, 07:22 AM
asm660's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Punta gorda Fl.
Posts: 62
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes it is very sad when a co. does some thing like that all you need is one bad apple on the other note I was called in many times to look at a furance that a nother co. condemend. only to find not a thing wrong with it just a good cleaning is all it needed
 
  #8  
Old 10-21-09, 06:59 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Grady View Post
Well stated SP. I've seen several good techs ruined by "commission" on sales. A few years ago a local firm was pestering me to come to work for them. After the interview I told the service manager "thanks but no thanks". Probably 75% of the "interview" was his pitching how much money his techs can make by selling new equipment usually by condemning the customers furnace.


Heh, heh! As an added bonus, you don't actually have to fix anything!


Further Heh, heh! The service manager was probably relieved that he hadn't hired an honest guy by mistake. It might have ruined his averages and bonus.



Seattle Pioneer
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: