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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    McDonald PA
    Posts
    289
    Homeowner has a 2 year old high efficiency Carrier GFA w/air and a very strong odor coming from the supply side of the system when the heat is on. They state that they heard a loud noise from the furnace and began to smell this odor shortly thereafter. The noise has since gone away, but the smell hasn't. Coil, pan and humdifier water panel are clean. To me, it smells like some type of chemical. I was in the home for an hour and experienced some irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract. Coil was fitted properly and there are no openings around it for anything to have fallen thru to the heat exchanger. Any suggestions?

    Thank you

    [Edited by options on 11-22-2004 at 05:20 PM]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,927
    An insulation burning smell?
    That's probably burning insulation.

  3. #3

    I'd

    Check the vents on the furnace and anything else they have that uses fuel. Have they done and staining or polyuratane, do they have A GAS STOVE OR DRYER. Burning eyes don't sound good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    south NJ shore area
    Posts
    360

    smell

    is the duct work and supply plenum lined on the inside? is the cooling coil leaking refrigerant?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    McDonald PA
    Posts
    289
    The furnace is vented thru pvc. No lining in either the plenum or the ductwork and it doesn't have any burnt odor to it. It appears to be localized to the supply side of the furnace and is at its strongest coming out of the two closest vents upstairs. This is a small home and the odor quickly spreads throughout. I did detect a slight odor near the outside, bottom rear of the blower cabinet, but hadn't checked there before the furnace had been fired. I'm not positive, but I believe that all other appliances in the home are electric. The furnace sits on a carpeted concrete floor. I checked for possible moisture in the flooring, walls and ceiling with a Tramex Leak Seeker.

    They had used 9-D-9 on a moisture problem in an adjacent room, but its odor is very different from this. They also said that they had used a drain opener in the laundry tubs a few days before and had forgotten about it, leaving it there for app. 4 hours before rinsing it out. Those tubs are 12' from the furnace and there is no apparent odor near either of them or the 4" drain they're piped into. They denied doing any type of staining or painting, etc. for the past several months. I also checked for open and leaking containers, but found no sign of any, nor are there any stored chemicals or storage areas near any of the returns.

    I had suggested that it might be a freon leak (refrigerant oil?), but their heating contractor is telling them that freon has no odor. I've never applied heat to freon, so I can't argue with this claim. Their contractor also said that he thinks this is likely to be dirty sock syndrome, and that he would clean the coil. I've smelled DSS before and this isn't anything like it.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    17,912
    Maybe one of the installers dropped something in the heat exchanger. Like some pvc or the furnace manual.
    " Kill a Commie for Mommy! "

    - Colonel David Hackworth (1930-2005), Korean War Vet

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    south NJ shore area
    Posts
    360
    lower back of cabinet? is the secindary heat exchanger located in that area? pull the blower wheel to check maybe it has a small leak.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Location!, Location!
    Posts
    929
    I think the insulation referred to was the cabinet insulation around the heat-x.
    What does puron cooking smell like - seriously, you should recommend a search, remove blower and look up, access heat-x from above and search - the usual routine. It won't be fast and easy, but how much time will you save guessing- if the heating contractor told them something- then that contractor knows about this and is offering no solutions? Are you the owner? Is this 2 yr old carrier a puron install? THAT would be interesting!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    3,400
    Originally posted by options


    ...I had suggested that it might be a freon leak (refrigerant oil?), but their heating contractor is telling them that freon has no odor. I've never applied heat to freon, so I can't argue with this claim....
    R-22 has little or no odor, UNTIL heated.
    However, it produces a very distinctive, toxic odor when burned. It irritates the eyes & respiratory tract.
    The temperatures in a gas furnace are high enough to cause it to burn into phosgene gas.
    Phosgene gas was used as a chemical weapon in WWI (mustard gas?). Low exposure can cause irritation, but high levels cause fluid to collect in the lungs, possibly resulting in fatality.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,868
    If its still working then I don't know but the run capacitor might have blew or the transformer. Good Luck

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    McDonald PA
    Posts
    289
    Initial problem was thought to be mold related and I was called in by their heating contractor to inspect and clean the affected portions of the system.

    I've asked the homeowner to view this thread.

    Thank you for your replies.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    south NJ shore area
    Posts
    360
    puron does have a smell when it get hot the same as all refrigerants do. remember they are a chemical compound. and when they burn/ or get too hot they release an oder. worth a check. at least you will make an effort and not say its a dds. that for those who feel they don`t have the time to do a proper investigation.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    East Stroudsburg, PA
    Posts
    13,215
    If it's a refrigerant leak, it'll stop as soon as it's leaked out. Shouldn't take too long.

    Hard to believe it would be refrigerant, though. The coil would be after the Heatx, and when the blower started, would dissipate anything in there pretty quick.

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