That stinks! Getting rid of a furnace oil smell

July 8, 2014

When a furnace is new, it may give off a furnace oil smell when it is first used. However, if the smell persists or if the furnace is old, your plumber will be able to quickly find the problem and save you a lot of worries.
What can cause a chronic furnace oil smell? It could mean a failing oil tank. The plumber will tell you if you need a new one or if he can simply repair what’s broken and get things running smoothly again.

That stinks! Getting rid of a furnace oil smell

Did heating oil spill in the house?

If the smell lasts a long time, it could be from a spill. Spills need to be dealt with immediately. Not only are they unpleasant to live with, but they may cause allergic reactions in some people. The actual risk level caused by this kind of problem varies according to the size of the spill, the duration of the exposure, and the sensitivity of the people in the household. There are some solutions available to make a clean sweep of things.

  • Use fans and open the doors and windows to allow fresh air to enter and circulate around the house for several days, as required.
  • Clean the site of the spill. Sprinkle kitty litter on it to soak up any excess. Pour a solution of vinegar or baking powder dissolved in water on the affected area.
  • Rinse with water and repeat the procedure as many times as required. The furnace oil smell will dissipate progressively with the washes.
  • If these steps aren’t enough, call the plumber, who may have special materials designed to deal with stubborn spills.

Fresh air, please!

If you are experiencing any eye or throat irritation, headaches, or nausea, and you suspect that the furnace oil smell may be adversely affecting the quality of the air in your home, call a plumber straight away. Your home needs to be safe and comfortable, not a smelly and toxic cave.

What if it’s carbon monoxide?

Above all, make sure the furnace oil smell has nothing to do with carbon monoxide emissions in the house. Because it is colourless and odourless, carbon monoxide gas is very difficult to detect without a carbon monoxide detector, a small device that can be bought at a hardware store.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • A low level exposure can be accompanied by headache, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
  • A high level exposure or a long-lasting low level exposure results in dizziness, chest pain, fatigue, vision problems, and difficulty in concentrating.

Greener appliances

Today, home heating systems are a lot cleaner than they were a few decades ago. Better designs and up-to-date equipment are much more efficient and considerably reduce the emission of particulates. In other words, most people in Canada have switched to eco-friendly mode. If you’re sick and tired of a furnace oil smell, maybe it’s time to call the plumber and see about a new, cleaner way to heat your home.

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