Thank you for you comments on my past post--When the contractor left
Tues am, he said that the smell was "new burn", and that they had not
sealed the flue in the bedroom before running on Monday night. They
accomplished that on Tues (apparently). Tuesday evening, the furnace
smelled like a diesel truck when blowing throught the vents, and when I
got home last night, the horrible smell was back, coming through the
Unfortunately, I'm not well-versed in describing smells, but this was
acrid, and burned eyes, throat and caused a headache. Turned it off,
went down to the basement, where I discovered the furnace was leaking
oil underneath, and was also collecting in the bottom areas inside the
The company was back out this a.m. They applied more cement to the
flue (as still it was not completely sealed in the bedroom), tested for
CO (none), replaced copper pipe from the filter to the furnace (source
of leaking oil), and put kitty litter down on the spill and shoved it
up under the furnace (I would have liked them to have pulled it out
then cleaned underneath, but they didnt), and sprayed a deoderizer.
The serviceman said that the leaking oil had gotten into the return and
thus was cycling throughout the house. Said it should burn off in 1-2
hrs, but may take a while for smell to go away in the house.
Can I just shop-vac up the kitty litter? I imagine that would be harsh
on the shop-vac. Any ideas how I can get the remainder of it out from
under the furnace, or spread more? (looks like there is about an inch
Cement on flue in bedroom! Kitty litter under a furnace for an oil leak!
Leaking oil in return without cleaning it! A leaking oil pipe! I would
sure stop- pay and go get a permit pulled and beg for the inspector to
come out today. You probably have other "hacked in" issues besides the
danger you smell. And you have not gotten your own Co unit yet im sure.
: Cement on flue in bedroom! Kitty litter under a furnace for an
: Leaking oil in return without cleaning it! A leaking oil pipe!
: sure stop- pay and go get a permit pulled and beg for the
: come out today. You probably have other "hacked in" issues
: danger you smell. And you have not gotten your own Co unit yet
I think I'd have to agree with that - the OP certainly got
shined, I'm afraid.
Then once everything's up to snuff and inspected/passed, I
think I'd have to talk to the BBB minimum about this work.
Sweeping kitty litter under anything is stupid, and leaving it
there is a sure sign of a lazy slob who doesn't know what he's
doing, IMO. As long as the oil soaked litter is there, the smell
will remain there, and will enter the air supply easily. It's
also hard on bare concrete.
Until I got it settled, I'd probably also put a stop-pay on
the check he was paid with and if it turns out as I suspect it
will, never pay him any more than I legally was forced to.
Than, I'd likely seriously consider taking him to small claims
court for any costs in excess of the installation job he quoted
on, plus any extra work he created in the process. Like properly
fixing the flue inthe bedroom, cleaning up the kitty litter, etc
etc etc.. You might be surprised at the length of the list.
I also don't think the smell of oil inside the return will go
away very fast - his cleaner will only disguise it for awhile.
Also, from what I know, I'm not in that business, running lines
so fuel could get inside a return is definitely wrong! Can you
imagine dropping a lit match or lighter down a return register?
I've probably misinterpreted a couple of points, but any way you
look at it, this was a schlock job - others should be protected
Oh, a shop vac might get the litter out if you can get into the
area, but have a couple or three filters handy for replacement if
there's much of it.
In (slight) defense of the slob:
When we have had oil spills, we will usually leave the kitty little down for
a few days to help soak up the oil. The stuff we use has powder mixed in it
to absorb and neutralize the odors. BUT! You come back in a couple of days
and clean it up.
I agree that just shoving it under the furnace more than likely won't do the
job. Pain in the butt, but the furnace should be moved and a proper cleaning
Another thing: If it got into the ductwork (or the blower compartment!!)
it's not just going to go away. They need to get in there and wipe
everything down with a cleaner/deodorizer or else it will stink forever.
I removed an old oil tank and finished my basement years ago but there
is an area up high I guess we reused some of the oiled dirt from under
the tank, well 3 years later even though the dirt is cover in plastic it
still stinks. Id imagine the EPA would call what you have a Hazzard. Oil
in the return, sure take it apart remove and clean, likely a days job.
Oil under the unit, remove the unit and clean with soap. Yes stop
payment now but get an inspector out too, now. You hired the "Hack
boys", for sure.
New burn, as you call it...lasts only minutes..not hours.
and the new smell you talk about, in the duct system..thats oil
Oil as in fuel oil.
In a nutshell, in simplist terms...
VAc it up...aint gonna hurt a thing..
Second thing to do is, call the owner of the company, and bitch..I mean
Ask for a tech that knows what in hell hes doing, and if he cant come
through, hold back on payment..you havent payed them yet have you?
This must be one of those life lessons...
I really do thank you for considering my situation and replying with
your thoughtful opinions. I think my general line of thinking is...1)
poor workmanship 2) mistakes happen but you clean them up really good
and apologize 3) payment will be made when this is resolved and 4) I do
need an unbiased inspector to come out.
I did stop payment on the check today, notified the contractor/owner of
this, and called the county. The county will schedule an inspection at
no charge...I'm just waiting for that call. I have every intention of
completing the payment as soon as this is resolved.
You know, I wanna say that you the OP is just stupid and wont listen
to what is told in here BUT, I'll refrain for now.
Did you get the cheapest bidder to do this? Ok, dont answer, I really
dont care. It sounds great that you are willing to pay if he does the
job right, .....thats cool too. Toss the piece or pieces of duct that
got oil soaked and properly clean the rest of the things that got oil
NOW, do yourself a favor. Most likely the inspector you get from the
county isnt going to know diddley about an oil furnace.
YOU NEED your furnace setup properly. Call the company and ask them if
they can supply you with a tech that can come out and do combustion
efficiency testing with some digital equipment. He will need to take
oil pressure, stack temp, ambient temp, draft over fire, CO2/ O2 and
smoke test. Then he needs to know what to do with that info. If they
cant, then you are screwed. Call a company that can and do it before
you use your system.
: This must be one of those life lessons...
===> Yeah, too bad they're such exasperating lessons, isn't it?
I just paid $228 to have two furnaces and a water heater
"preventive" maintenance done. It's supposed to be done yearly,
but I only do it every two years; some people go a lot longer, I
know. One furnace had quit though, and it was cheaper than a
service call plus the maintenance, so ... <g>. Turned out there
was a huge, cooked bug on the ignitor; his charred remains were
messing up the spark. I'll bet that was one surprised bug when
that ignitor turned on! It would have been less, but i forgot to
tell him to not change the filters; I do that myself and get them
: I really do thank you for considering my situation and replying
: your thoughtful opinions. I think my general line of thinking
: poor workmanship 2) mistakes happen but you clean them up
: and apologize 3) payment will be made when this is resolved and
4) I do
: need an unbiased inspector to come out.
===> I've actually known one or two that did #2 above; a rare
find these days. These guys have to realize that the most
important product they have to sell is Quality, and really lose
Glad it's being handled; let us know what the inspector said and
how it works out?
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