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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    488
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    Fiberglass Duct

    When you bought the house, did it smell when the system was running?

    Fiberglass duct is made with a thermosetting resin(glue) that has urea as one component. When it is used in the correct amount, distributed evenly through the matrix of the board, and dried COMPLETELY, there is no problem. When it is used too heavy, concentrated in the matrix, and/or left too wet from the factory it smells like --- URINE (and several other unpleasant descriptions I have heard).

    Another reason for fiberglass duct smelling may be that the system is introducing moisture from the cooling coil onto the surface of the duct. There are times when the air velocity through the cooling coil is too fast and condensation will blow off the coil, onto the duct surface, soaking the duct surface. Another one I ran into was a drain pan that was sloped away from the drain opening. The condensation that was supposed to be running out the drain couldn't and overflowed from the coil drain pan onto the duct surface. That house really smelled bad!

    Solution if the duct board is wet, is to replace the duct. Don't let anyone tell you it can be dried successfully for the long term. If the condition were stopped very early in the beginning of the problem, this would have been possible. The drying process would have had to happened quickly. What has happened by now, is the conditions for mold and/or mildew growth have existed for too long, and it is time for the wet portions of the duct to go.

    Do not apply top coating products that the manufacturer of the ductboard does not supply. These top-coatings/sealants may deterioriate the resins and cause lots bigger problems than you have now. To identify the manufacturer of the board, look on the outside of the duct. Every piece of board is made with this information on it.

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Perth - Western Australia
    Posts
    775
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    who pissed in the ducts ? have that crap replaced with metal.

  3. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    maple ridge, bc
    Posts
    113
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    urine smell-human

    My neighbour once asked me to look at his hi-boy furnace because of a real strong urine smell coming out of it. Turns out his two little boys were using the control cabinet/burner deck as a latrine. Yes, the urine ruined the deck.

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Gretna
    Posts
    5
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    im gonna go with rats if not look and see what the shape of your coil is if youve had your ducts cleaned recently call them back they should have cleaned the evaporater coil


    i have seen where returns located near kitchen will get a good coating of grease through the system it smell like pee when it gets old

  5. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Gretna
    Posts
    5
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    Talking

    it was me i like top pee on customers units this way i can get more work and the istant relief

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,793
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    its really simple,

    inspect the duct for damage by vermin. It is always pretty obvious where they chewed their way in and leave a traffic trail. If there are no openings, there are no vermin so look elsewhere. IMHO

  7. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    30
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    my first question is: Is your son peeing in the air duct? (I've seen this before) or how about a pet? (seen that too) Also any time you have mold resident in your furnace, coil or air handler it is in you whole system. The whole thing needs to be treated more than likely it would be better to replace the whol thing installing a air cleaner and a UV light installed below the coil.

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    88
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    Odors = volatile organic compounds or other chemicals that you are smelling. The source of the VOCs might be mold, urine, decaying organics (dead stuff), bacteria, or off gassing from the chemical compounds in building materials. UV lights don't do anything for VOCs and can create a potentially hazardous situation from breakage. Actually effectiveness on "killing" microbials such as mold and bacteria depends upon dwell time and intensity. Too much of the exposure to UV radiation can be bad for plastics. Carbon filtration may remove VOCs from the airstream but don't do anything to eliminate the root cause. Oxidation of compounds, whether they be VOCs or nanoparticles such as carbon black, based on University research results reduce the toxicity levels significantly. EPA findings on Advanced Photocatalytic Oxidation processes in their 1998 Handbook help to explain why Photocatalytic Oxidation reduced and virtually eliminated VOCs.

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    833
    Post Likes
    Ahhhh dont you love the smell of strong urine in the morning?

    Why did this old thread get bumped again? I need to get off the mailing list for this one!
    eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    9
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    Thread Starter

    Another update on the stench in our duct

    I have lost track of this thread, but wow, thanks for all the input.

    Embarrassingly this issue still has not been solved - partly because the uriney-damp smell comes and goes and partly because I am not sure what path to take to getting this solved. Given that the smell is bad again (the air conditioning is currently off) I really need to get this fixed!!

    We had the house inspected multiple times for mold and vermin and even tented it so the smell is definitely is not peeing or rotting vermin. I've also made several calls to ask about having the air ducts sealed but as I am not even 100% certain this will solve the problem, I've been reluctant to throw more money at the problem...

    H&C Guy mentioned damp fiberboard and I was thinking some more about this:

    The foul smells come through the air duct in our downstairs kitchen. Due to some bizarre construction, the kitchen is the only downstairs room that is cooled by the upstairs ducting system. The upstairs duct travels via the master bath and twists its way downstairs to the kitchen. Currently the master bath does not have an extractor fan to remove moisture.

    Could it be the case that the dampness from the bathroom gets caught in the twisting duct and causes the foul odor downstairs in the kitchen?

    If this could be the cause of the problem - what do we do and who do I call to fix?

    Thanks and I hope that my next posting is to tell you this has been solved


  11. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    198
    Post Likes
    had this same problem with one of my customers rental houses, turned out it was the son weeweeing in the vents, check your vents(supply & returns) and see if they have rust on then, and will probally find you have the same situation. Funny thing about it was they moved out and the weewee smell moved out too





    “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

  12. #38
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ALABAMA
    Posts
    32
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    Lightbulb

    an old thread i know but a new idea..i dont think it was mentioned hps or furnaces but the smell could always be coming from a drain..if mains are dropped into a plumbing stack instead of outside and are not down into the water then with the negative pressure of a heat pump the smell could be sucking up through the drain pipe and into the unit..mold grows in the plumbing stacks as they dry out over the winter when no water is coming trough..if the drains are ran outside they could still have mold in them especially if there is any part that is level or ran up hill..surprised no one mentioned drains before..ive ran into several times and it smells pretty bad

  13. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    2
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    ezhfjs I realize it's been years since you posted about the smell coming from you air ducts, so you may never see this post. I have duct board in my air duct system and have recently had a mice infestation where the were living in my duct work. The smell is so bad I wanna move out! I am wondering what you did to solve your problem, besides have ducts cleaned. I have had my cleaned, but because of the fact that they are made of duct board the company was not able to use a rotary brush to scrape the duct work. Basically all they could do was suck out all the mice poop and other debris. Any input from anyone that can help is appreciated. It's a sad and bad situation! Thank You

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