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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    After having a reliable oil burner for nearly 30 years, it was recommended to me last year to have a new one installed. I agreed because the blower was making a strange sound and my hvac tech said that, due to age, the blower would be difficult/ impossible to replace. Not only that but there was a strange smell coming from the ducts every time the heater was running. It's hard for me to describe since I don't have a good nose, but all I can say is that I could hardly stand the smell. I wouldn't say it was a soot smell exactly- more like "rotten" soot is the best way I could describe it. I figured a new oil burner installation would cure this. Before the cold set in this year, I had a new unit installed. Everything was replaced with new except my heater ducts. The heater runs great and is much quieter than my old unit, but the same strange smell has persisted and it has not become less over time. I have concerns about breathing whatever this is and I am posting here looking for solutions to cure it. Any idea what could be causing it and how do I get rid of the odor? As long as the furnace isn't running, I don't smell anything but the minute air starts coming from the vents, the odor is nearly overwhelming.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Howell, Michigan
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    Makes me wonder if the burner has been properly set up and adjusted. I would call the installer back asap and have him look at it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Western KY/TN
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    Yep I'd have installer recheck burner
    and have your ductwork cleaned,
    Possibly a dead critter in there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Sounds like a critter problem

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    As you stated you had the other oil burner for 30 years with no odor would suggest this smell is NOT FROM ANY IMPROPER SET-UP,ETC. If it was, it would be a real coincidence that the NEW one has this smell too.
    Even IF it was a dead critter, after a few days or so it would eventually 'dry' out, thus no more odor.Unless of course a family of rodents has moved into a comfy corner of the duct
    Questions; did the smell start after approx 29 years of being ok?(no odor)? have you ever had the ducts cleaned?
    If you run the blower ONLY with NO heat does it still smell? Or does it only smell when the air is heated?
    Answers to these questions may help others to pinpoint your problem.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Leak in the return air duct allowing ambient air around the furnace or in the crawl space/basement to enter the ductwork? The return duct would suck air in if there was a place to do so.

    Vent in the supply side near the furnace somehow sucking air into the duct? Though this ought to be under pressure as opposed to vacuum.

    Some mixing of combustion side/conditioned air side somehow?

    We're homeowners with a new oil furnace too, no smell at all.

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