Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 36
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    6

    Terrible Smell, bad headache...please help!

    My husband, daughter and I are currently staying with my parents while we renovate our house. My dad just had the upstairs furnace and A/C unit replaced today and there is a terrible smell coming through the ductwork. It is giving me a headache. The technician told me that it was perfectly safe and that it would dissipate in a little bit. He explained that it was just the motor oil that is in the unit from the factory just like a "new car smell". Well, I already have a headache and I was only upstairs for about 5 minutes collecting laundry. We just had two systems installed over at our house (the one being renovated) and both of them are up and running. We NEVER got any sort of smell from them. I do not believe this guy at all.

    Can anyone tell me if I should be concerned. My daughter is only 10 months old and I don't want to bring her upstairs and expose her to this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    17,995
    New furnaces have a mineral oil coating on the heat exchanger. When you fire up the furnace for the first time, it will burn this off and dissipate.
    You may want to open a couple of windows for a few minutes if the smell bothers you that much.
    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,350
    What does the odor smell like?

    Are you running the furnace right now? Or the a/c?

    If the odor is causing you headaches, something isn't right. Some people are more sensitive to volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and offgassing odors from new materials than others. If it's just the heat exchanger burning off the protective coating, you'll have to open some windows until the odor dissapates. The other concern is that if you're having headaches, and you're running the furnace, the furnace may not be venting properly. But...see if the odor dissapates after running the furnace awhile. If it does not, there may be an ongoing cause for it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    1,234
    DO NOT OPERATE YOUR HEATER!!!!
    If it's that bad it could be aldehyde you are smelling which means there is a problem with the unit/installation. Call the gas co. out to verify what you are smelling. Don't rely on what the installer is telling you. He may be correct but if you have ANY doubts it is better to get another opinion than to suffer the consequences, that could be very detrimental.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    6
    Thanks everyone...my dad is on his way home right now. I am not going to have him smell it. I could just be o verly sensitive but I don't want to take a chance wiith my daughter. VOC's are especially terrible for kids (as I am sure you guys know). I have all the windows open upstairs trying to vent it out but the unit is not running.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Sharpsville, PA
    Posts
    27
    Quote Originally Posted by coolwhip View Post
    New furnaces have a mineral oil coating on the heat exchanger. When you fire up the furnace for the first time, it will burn this off and dissipate.
    You may want to open a couple of windows for a few minutes if the smell bothers you that much.
    agree...theres nothing to worry about other than maybe some smoke detectors going off and the bad smell.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    1,234

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron G View Post
    agree...theres nothing to worry about other than maybe some smoke detectors going off and the bad smell.
    How can you be sure if you aren't there smelling or checking it? Haven't you ever been around a new install that wasn't properly vented? Not being critical but if she is getting a headache I wouldn't tell her there's NOTHING to worry about. IMHO

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    16,176
    Quote Originally Posted by woody19 View Post
    How can you be sure if you aren't there smelling or checking it? Haven't you ever been around a new install that wasn't properly vented? Not being critical but if she is getting a headache I wouldn't tell her there's NOTHING to worry about. IMHO

    Agreed, she needs to get it checked out. There was an incindent in Michigan where some guys installed a furnace, temped it in until the morning. Only thing was they connected the intake vent and not the exhaust, when they returned in the morning the H/O was deceased.

    Get it checked out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,037
    The burn off smell usually lasts just a very short time. Have it checked out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    306
    The machine oil burn off would have been well finished long before you finished writing that post. The longest one I've ever encountered was about 5 minutes...most only about 10-30 seconds. I'm wondering if maybe a venting problem or a refrigerant leak in the evap coil? Definitely have it checked out by someone else...not something to mess with.
    Leadership...the ability to move forward even when you've burned your foot.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,171
    Might be just the burn off, could be something serious.

    Better to have it checked out, then to be sorry later.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,453
    Quote Originally Posted by HeyBob View Post
    Agreed, she needs to get it checked out. There was an incindent in Michigan where some guys installed a furnace, temped it in until the morning. Only thing was they connected the intake vent and not the exhaust, when they returned in the morning the H/O was deceased.

    Get it checked out.
    Not even worth guessing. If I were the installer I would be right there to check it out, I would not be able to sleep until I knew for sure. Anyone ever get half way home and think "did I put the plug back in the port on the gas valve" and drive back just to see that you did. It is still worth the piece of mind to know for sure.
    "It's always controls"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,748
    Quote Originally Posted by skwsproul View Post
    Not even worth guessing. If I were the installer I would be right there to check it out, I would not be able to sleep until I knew for sure. Anyone ever get half way home and think "did I put the plug back in the port on the gas valve" and drive back just to see that you did. It is still worth the piece of mind to know for sure.


    usually its halfway home from an install and i'm calling my brother or he's calling me to see if one of us relit the water heater..........

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event