Oil smell in house

fran1523December 9, 2008

My hot air, oil fired furnace is over 30 years old and tests at about 70% efficiency when I have it inspected. I have had the heat on for over a month now, but have noticed a really strong oily smell in the house air the last couple of days. I also noticed a lot of oily smoke coming from the chimney this afternoon. Repair man is coming tomorrow. What do you think I can expect. I guess it's time for a new furnace. What do you think that will cost?

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mr_havac

Whats the difference? You got 30 years out of the old furnace, it doesn't owe you a dime! How many cars have you had in that same amount of time. I can tell you this much, this new furnace will cost more then the last on did.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 9:52PM
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zl700

Hey that's my line

Posted by zl700 (My Page) on Mon, Mar 24, 08 at 21:33

Well, when new it as in the low 90's, given proper sizing, setup and ducting.
You mean to tell me your controlled explosion combustion furnace hasn't blown apart at the seams yet?

Read the alert above but, since 1984 you have probably had 4-6 new cars, purchased for safety and reliability reasons, time to apply that common sense to a new furnace.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 10:45PM
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baymee

It could be something as simple as lint or animal hair blocking the air inlet slots of your burner for the black smoke in the chimney. For the smell in the house, it could be a cracked heat exchanger or a blockage in the exhaust.

By the way, restricted air inlets to the burner can cause both things to occur.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 6:19AM
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mr_havac

fran1523, I don't want to scare the holy heck outta you but if your oil tank is as old as your furnace you may want to consider retiring it too.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 11:05PM
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joeplumb

"fran1523, I don't want to scare the holy heck outta you but if your oil tank is as old as your furnace you may want to consider retiring it too."

Hey, let her recover from the new furnace first. Remember, we are in a recession.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:07PM
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zl700

You could always turn the old oil tank into a barbeque and sell 1/2 chickens on the Sundays on the corner for extra cash.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:34AM
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vstech

is the furnace in the living space? if so the smell could be simple improper combustion from a need for service. the blower wheel could be plugged up or impaired. is there any soot in your registers? if so, then your heat exchange could be cracked. have your system inspected, and cleaned if not cracked. keep debris away from the burner, and see if it improves. oh, your "chimney" could be plugged with a birds nest too...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 6:52AM
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mr_havac

"Hey, let her recover from the new furnace first. Remember, we are in a recession."
Look, I don't come here to console anyone! Maybe theres another forum for that! You got a 30 year old oil tank, doesn't that tell you something? Why get a new heating system and then a short distance down the road you end up with another major problem. I'm not talking like a shady salesman joeplumb, I'm talking from over 30 years experience in this trade all in the heating dominant northeast. And I've seen more then my share of oil leak disasters. What kind of soft words would you tell these people if the smell of oil was so bad it would make the house uninhabitable? Or do you think the EPA gives a ---- about a recession when the cost of an oil clean will be more then the house is worth! Did you ever see that happen mr plumb? I have!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 10:06AM
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markjames

Most all oil furnace/boiler/water heater related oil smells we experience are from poor combustion caused by poor tuning, plugged or restricted filters, lines, fittings, strainers, nozzles, poor or restricted air/draft, improper fuel flow, pump pressure, incorrect nozzle size/spray angle/spray pattern, ignition, nozzle after-drip, check valves, high vacuum etc.

Newer oil burners with oil solenoid valves, pre-purge, post-purge, intermittent ignition tend to burn much cleaner.

However, the vast majority of our oil related smell complaints are due to weeping fill & vent pipes, weeping valves, weeping Firomatic valves and weeping filter housings, fittings, flares etc.

If the furnace heat exchanger is sound, we generally fix most oil smell complaints during a service call since they're related to poor installation, neglect or poor service.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 1:46PM
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