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.
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
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
Right and this if anything cuts the length of the service call, reducing
It is indeed outdated now, but from a convenience perspective and
because the digital meter costs the same as the old chem kit.
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
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
Ah, so that's how you passed your test eh? No open book tests in the
class I was in.
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
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.....
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,
"Remember, an amateur built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic."
So what would *you* get? Let's say a 25 yr old oil burner- hot air-
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.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.