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  1. #1


    I have just had a Carrier Infinity 96 installed by a heating sub-contractor in Portland Oregon as part of a basement remodel.

    They have made a real mess of the job. The first mistake they made was sealing the ducting with Vulcum caulk which stunk the whole house out with a toxic cocktail. I have spoken with other heating contractors who have told me this was a big mistake.

    Our general contractor had the heating sub-contractor tear out all the ducting and replace it with new ducting with taped seems. The Vulcum smell has gone away but there is still a burnt plastic/chemical smell that comes from the ducting vents when the heat is on. Is this normal? Is this a new furnace smell that should dissappear after a week or so?

    This whole experience has been very stressful and we just want to make sure the installation is now correct. My wife is pregnant and the last thing we need is toxic air in the heating ducts. I'm considerring having an independent heating contractor do an inspection.

    Any comments/thoughts will be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Most furnaces when they are first fired will have a odor and usually some smoke for a short period of time. This usually goes away in a couple of hours of run time, some last slightly longer but will dissapate in a few days at most. This is normal and to be expected. Most contractors advise the homeowner of this so they are not alarmed.

    This odor and smoke is the result of oils used in the manufactureing process, burning off the heat exchanger.
    If all else fails....Try reading the directions!

    Tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.

    Any views or opinions stated here are strictly my own.

  3. #3
    Plain spoken - thanks for the response.

    the furnace has been installed now for a 9 days and we still have the burning smell. At what point in time do we need to be concerned that the smell is something other than the initial new furnace burning off its oils smell?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    I would think that after 9 days of use any unusual smell from a new furnace would be long gone. Call your contractor and have them check the unit asap.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Agreed. Call the installer and have it checked.
    If all else fails....Try reading the directions!

    Tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.

    Any views or opinions stated here are strictly my own.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago, IL
    a burnt oil smell is normal on a new furnace for a day or so. A burnt plastic smell is not normal on any furnace. does the air coming out of the vents seem exceptionally hot? do you have a thermometer you can measure it with?

    It is possible that an improper installation is causing the system to overheat and burn the plastic parts of the air conditioning coil. another possibility is that something was accidentally dropped into the furnace during installation (such as a plastic handled screwdriver)

  7. #7
    I beleive there may still be some Vulkem caulking inside the ducting that was not removed when they replaced the ducting after the intial Vulkem caulking issue.

    I'm going to ask our general contractor to inspect inside the ducting and inside the furnace itself for any remaining caulk.

    What would happen if any plastic or caulk got onto the the burners? How difficult is it to inspect the burners?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    They can pull the blower out and inspect the heat exchanger. or they can open the coil. it could be the manual. I have seen where the manual has fallen into the heatexchanger(comes in a plastic bag). Could be your plastic drain pan if the furnace is overheating.

  9. #9
    The heating contractor slid the AC coil section to the side sslightly so I could smell the air coming directly off the burners. They did not remove the AC coil section completely as they did not want to remove the AC coolant pipes.

    The air coming from the burners smells clean (at least when the fan is running in slow mode). What we did'nt do was check to see if the air coming from the burners smells clean when the furnace is running full steam. Does this furnace use more burners when it runs full steam?

    With the funace running there is definitely a smell in the AC coil section, the smell is definitely stronger when the furnace is running full steam. The contractor is trying to tell me that the smell is coming from the insulation and glue (holding on the insulation) withing the AC coil section of the ducting. One solution they proposed was removing the insulation from the AC coil section and putting the insulation on the outside of the AC coil casing.

    What I want them to do is completely remove the AC coils section so I can:
    1)check the underside of the AC radiator fins for any foriegn material that may be cooking above the burners
    2) check the smell of the air coming off the burner with the furnace running full steam.

    Does this seem like a logical approach ?

    I really appreciate everyones advice.


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