Wierd Smell From Oil Furnace

My husband and I just bought an older home that we are fixing up. We have been in the home less than a month and have already ran into a problem with a strange smell coming from the ducts in the house. The smell seems to be very strong when the heat first kicks on and smells like fingernail polish remover to me.
We have been painting a lot over the past few days and had new carpet installed in several rooms. Could the smell be coming from this or is there other problems we should be concerned about.
The furnace (we believe) is the original from when the house was built (1979). We know we are going to need to replace it. Is it just at the end of its life? Also, this is the first we have had oil heat, so we aren't really sure what an oily smell would be. It has an underground tank, could something be wrong there?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. We are new to all of this and have no idea how to fix this.
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Daisymoonz wrote:

If you're using oil based paint and/or storing it near the return air intake that could be it.
More likely would be a cracked heat exchanger in the furnace allowing combustion gasses to get into the house air stream. This can happen with gas furnaces as well, however it is far more noticeable with an oil one because of the different combustion gasses.
This is a *dangerous* condition as it will allow CO into the house which can kill you. Have the furnace inspected *immediatly*, and while you are waiting for them to come, open a few windows and go buy a decent CO detector.
Pete C.
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a cracked heat exchanger is very serious...
I also had a similar situation....if the heat was off for a day or so , there would be a funny smell for a few minutes when the heat was first turned back on..
I did not have a cracked heat exchanger...
I think the heat exchanger may have some rust and pick up moisture if not used for a few days. Then when the heat is turned on, the moisture is driven out and you smell it...kinda a rust smell..
if it is that, it is not serious...
but it can be hard to tell which case it is...
a CO detector is a good idea anyway...
Mark
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Mark wrote:

The "strong nail polish remover" (acetone) description makes me think it's an initial whiff of raw #2 at startup or oil paint fumes being sucked in the return. Condensation / rust shouldn't smell that strong.
Pete C.
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...
Ignore it. If anybody drops dead of CO poisoning, then check the furnace.
Or perhaps you should bring in a professional now? Isn't the wellbeing of your family worth $60?
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wrote:

$60 !!?? To do a professional cleaning/tune-up of an oil fired furnace? Think again, Einstein. I wont clean an already clean furnace for $60. Bubba
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On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 21:26:53 GMT, Bubba <> wrote:

$60 is just to have it checked.

Try thinking even once, idiot.

And I guess you won't even bother bringing somebody in just to check it. No problem. Go with my first suggestion. You're too fucking cheap to do anything else.
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wrote:

You need a fucking brain, Nimrod. Im not the customer. Im the heating company. And once again, just because you are too stupid to understand..............Most companies wont even drive up to your door for $60. You are living in the past. Remember too, Im not talking about your drunken trailer buddy with a screwdriver and a 69 Chevy pickemup truck. Im talking about a professional HVAC company with digital combustion efficiency test instruments and a technician that can read, interpret and repair what he finds. Now can you wade your sorry ass through that simple explaination and figure it out this time? Nahhhhhh, I didnt think you could. Bubba
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"Bubba <" wrote:

Hmm, the last oil furnace checkup I had done, in ('03 when I had an oil furnace) was I think $110 with tax. More than $60, but not by much.
Pete C.
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wrote:

Ummm, in case you missed math class, that is a little more that "not much". That is almost double in cost and you are talking 3 yrs ago. .......and again............an oil filter change and a nozzle is NOT a proper tune up. Find a reputable company that knows how to properly tune an oil furnace with digital combustion efficiency equipment. You may save several hundred gallons of oil in a season. You should have just thrown your $110 in your oil tank. Bubba
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"Bubba <" wrote:

Perhaps you need to get a clue.
First off the checkup was not just a filter and nozzle, it also included a full cleaning and combustion check.
Second off, with the exception of NOx emissions measurement (which won't save you any oil), digital combustion measurement equipment does not do anything that the older mechanical / chemical measurement equipment doesn't do. Digital just adds convenience and makes it easier for a barely competent service tech (you perhaps) to properly use the equipment. Last time I checked, the digital meter hadn't replaced the old pump smoke spot tester either.
Just for reference, I have a clue. I've had oil burner service training (and passed with the only 100% score in the class). What I didn't have at the time was the test equipment, a soot vac or the time to actually do the job myself.
Pete C.
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wrote:

Bullshit. NO Company does a COMPLETE cleaning, COMPLETE combustion efficiency testing, filter and nozzle change for $110. If they do they are losing money.

Bullshit again, Darwin. If you think the old chemical analyzers with the CO2 and O2 readings fluids with their archaich slide scales are as accurate as a digital meter your are a god damn total retard. The digital will also do continuous readings where the chemical is a "one at a time" reading. It was great "in its time". Its old outdated shit now. Cmon, tell the truth. You still eyball a damn oil burner and wait for the yellow tips to "dance", dont you? You are a sorry tech (if thats even what you are) and a total bafoon. You shouldnt be allowed anywhere near oil equipment. My guess is you are too damn stuipid to know how to use one and too damn cheap to buy one.

Gee, you're a genius!

What you didnt have was a clue how to test, interpret and repair oil equipment. Gee, an open book test, with the instructor out of the room and a test designed for a 3rd grader to pass. Wow, you are one smart cookie. Bubba
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"Bubba <" wrote:

Yes, they probably are. Since they also sell oil I would assume they price the service low as a loss leader of sorts. At any rate that's what it cost and they did indeed do all the tasks listed as I was about 20' away doing some plumbing work at the time so I know exactly what they did.

I never said they were as accurate, however they are more than accurate enough in relation to home furnace combustion adjustments. In a burner in a chemical plant more accuracy would be relevant, not in a home furnace.

Right and this if anything cuts the length of the service call, reducing the cost.

It is indeed outdated now, but from a convenience perspective and because the digital meter costs the same as the old chem kit.

Nope.
Yea, that's why I scored higher than anyone else in the class. I also never claimed to be a service tech, I make far more money at a different job. I also have no need to spend $500 on test equipment I'd use once a year.

Must be. I'm certainly smart enough to know that "digital" does not automatically equate to better. Of course the general population and apparently you as well have been brainwashed to believe that. I bet you love watching you digital TV that looks like crap from compression artifacts too.

Ah, so that's how you passed your test eh? No open book tests in the class I was in.
Pete C.
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---------SNIP---------
THAT explains it all. They will make it up somehow. They would prefer to have their customer's furnaces operating safely, although, maybe not at top efficiency. They price their services such that you'll go to them, rather than paying the full shot to a tech who has no motivation other than doing it right. A little less money now, more oil sold over time.....

----------SNIP-------
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Mo Hoaner wrote:

They also had the best oil prices in the area so they were not price gouging on that end either.
Pete C.
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In wrote:

Of course digial is better. It can have greed and red lights for "good" and "bad" or even say the words. You don't have to know how to read... <Jim runs for cover> :) Probably gonna wish I never jumped in here,
--
Jim
"Remember, an amateur built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic."
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-snip-

-snip-
So what would *you* get? Let's say a 25 yr old oil burner- hot air- complete tuneup.
And where are you? If you're anywhere near Schenectady, NY I'm due for a good cleaning. I'd like to see your work.
I've been here 20 yrs and have always had the same outfit clean and tune my furnace every other year. The past 2 times they did such a lousy job I had to reset the ignitor by eye after one trip and fix a leak they created the next. I won't be calling them again.
Jim
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