Basement smells like oil

Hello,
I just purchased a new house to fix up and then perhaps live in, but most likely rent and keep as an investment. The house is 79 y/o and has an oil furnace, while the surrounding suburbs are all on NG. My current home has NG and we have always been told that if you smell ANY GAS you should call 9-11 and get the heck out. Well, is this true with oil? There is a strong smell down there but there is a tank inspection sticker that is fairly recent.
On a lighter note, this furnace may interest some of you. It has one and only one vent, directly above it, seen here: http://tinyurl.com/9hzgb
Here is the unit from below: http://tinyurl.com/ar8su Can anyone tell me what that tank is next to the furnace, and that small black thing as well? Here's a close up: http://tinyurl.com/ax8f6
If the gas smell isn't a problem, would it be hard to switch to NG?
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On 7 Feb 2006 21:04:51 -0800, "Elliott Plack"

Strangely, that is a date and 911 is a phone number. :-) I wonder if that is a coincidence.

No.

Even if the tank or line is leaking, it's not going to explode.
It's hard to burn fuel oil. It has to be pushed at rather high pressure through a nozzle to atomize it, and then the ignitor has to be right below the spray. I guess that means the spray actually goes through the spark, but I can't see that part so I don't know.
I also have always thought that the sparking runs continuously, as long as the fire is burning, and if the sparking stops, so will the fire, but something someone here said made me wonder if I have this straight. ???
OTOH, if you smell oil when the furnace is running and not other times, I think it may mean that you are getting your walls dirty. Especially if you also smell the same thing even faintly upstairs. Someone else here will tell you if that is true. ???

My oil furnace and I assume all of them have a door you can open to look at the flame. There are probably several things to look at to decide if it is a good flame, but all I know is it should be what I would call roaring, even though it only makes a little noise. It should be quite a flame.
I've had bad flames that looked good to me, so I suppose if it doesn't look good, it is certainly bad. Needs adjustment somewhere.
The door will be very hot. Use a stick or something at least a foot long to open the door.

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My daughters basement smelt like oil at one time and the oilman said she needed a new furnace.
The oilman showed her what it looked like after the new one was installed.
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On 7 Feb 2006 21:04:51 -0800, "Elliott Plack"

They are furnace attachments.
Do you have steam heat? You appear to have no steam.

I don't know.
How much did you pay for the house? I live in Randallstown, but would consider moving.
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It's not normal to have a strong smell of oil in a basement with an oil furnace. I would get a company out to service it. They should be serviced once a year, as oil furnaces require more regular maintenance than a gas unit. You may want to ask neighbors for recommendations.
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Sounds like you may have had a leak. Since the smell persists, you might have a lot of oil "stored" in and under the floor- potentially a big problem, one that should have been disclosed by the seller/agent. It's a long-term health problem.
I'd get an impartial expert to find the source of your problem. Then you may want to take his findings to your attorney. Really.
J
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snipped-for-privacy@sme-online.com wrote:

Just a me-too. The oil vapors present a genuine health problem regarding respiratory illness. Don't let anyone brush it off as simply an offending odor. Jim
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