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  1. #1

    Retirement Apart HVAC - R22 leak?Phosgene gos?

    I've read all the posts - can't possibly be phosgene gas.
    Does anyone have any thoughts??
    But after sealing the air return and all vents the noxtious odor all but disappeared.
    My nose is good. It is not mold - unless mold smells like phosgene gas.
    Definately a chemical.
    I felt burning eyes, throat and "high" -not pleasantly.
    Odor was first noticed in Oct. and never dissipated, even worse with warmer weather.
    It is a heat pump system, unit is inside.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Rochester, NY, USA
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    14,030
    Quote Originally Posted by noseknows View Post
    I've read all the posts - can't possibly be phosgene gas.
    Does anyone have any thoughts??
    But after sealing the air return and all vents the noxtious odor all but disappeared.
    My nose is good. It is not mold - unless mold smells like phosgene gas.
    Definately a chemical.
    I felt burning eyes, throat and "high" -not pleasantly.
    Odor was first noticed in Oct. and never dissipated, even worse with warmer weather.
    It is a heat pump system, unit is inside.
    Thank you.
    ok first off, lets try to make complete sentences and thoughts

    so you have a retirement Apartment with a strange odor? Phosgene gas is created when you burn Refrigerant, which could be possible if the tenants smoke and there is a refrigerant leak, but then the system will not be cooling. The Tenants would have to be smoking 24/7

    How do you KNOW you don't have a mold issue, your nose doesn't count as a research instrument. Burning eyes and throat could be a lot of things. Like my ex-wife's meatloaf, even the dog was crying when she made that
    "Arguing with liberals...it's like playing chess with a pigeon; no matter how good I am at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board and strut around like it's victorious." -- Anonymous

  3. #3
    Ok,
    I'll try again.
    My mother moved into a retirement apartment in October. I noticed what I thought was new carpet odor. We replaced it in January. The odor remains.
    Is there any outside-the-box way for the coolant to get hot enough to burn?
    I am told there is nothing else that could give off a 'chemical' smell.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Houston area
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    I'll bet the farm it's not phosgene. Phosgene, in the HVAC realm, is formed when refrigerants rapidly decompose under high heat and generally dissapates quickly in a well ventilated area. I've smelled it, tasted it and created it and it's not real pleasant.

    The odor may be a VOC of some sort.
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

    `. .` .>(((>

    `... `. .` .>(((>

    .` .>(((>

    LMAOSHMSFOAIDMT

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
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    Also, r-22 does not form phosgene when it burns.

    Only CFCs form phosgene gas.

    There are other nasty chemicals formed by 22 and other refrigerants, but Phosgene isn't one of them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Rochester, NY, USA
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    besides that, "Phosgene Gas" was know by another name.

    In WWI, I believe they called it Mustard gas.

    again, if your Mothers A/c is still working, the refrigerant is NOT the issue.

    Is this a new building or one that has been around for awhile? was this apartment recently remodeled?

    The odor could be from drywall glue, or something to do with the drywall.
    "Arguing with liberals...it's like playing chess with a pigeon; no matter how good I am at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board and strut around like it's victorious." -- Anonymous

  7. #7
    It is not a new building.
    Maintenance has said they recently replaced the unit.
    Yesterday I sealed off the entire unit: air intake and all vents with plastic. Today, the odor is SOOOoooo much better, but there was still a faint lingering bit. I found a hole through which the duct work passes into the unit and blocked that too.
    Now the question is, what chemical could be coming from a HVAC unit that smells like a noxious gas, burns eyes and respiratory tract, and causes wooziness??
    Several people smell it but they say it smells like new carpet - not unpleasant necessarily. But the odor has not dissapated but only gotten worse when the A/C unit was used for summer.
    Thank you so much for your replys.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Rochester, NY, USA
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    anyone? I'm out of ideas here
    "Arguing with liberals...it's like playing chess with a pigeon; no matter how good I am at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board and strut around like it's victorious." -- Anonymous

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Oct 2003
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    las vegas
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    do a search on aldehydes
    could possibly be a combustion problem with water heater or boiler.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    I don't think the peoblem source is the ac unit. It may be a contributing factor, in that it moves air, and if the air has something in it, you may notice it more.

    I'm around every type of unit, and the only time I smell something bad is when electric strip heat comes on in the fall.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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