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Old 01-16-2022, 10:33 PM   #1
SailinAway
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Default Changing furnace filter

I have an oil furnace. There's a slight smoky smell in the house. I checked downstairs for leaks around the flue and don't see any. The furnace also seems to be cycling on and off too often. So I conclude that the most likely cause of both problems is a dirty filter. When was the last time I had the furnace cleaned? I don't dare answer that.

It can take quite a while to get an appointment for a cleaning. In the meantime, can I change the filter myself? Anything I need to know about doing this? Does Home Depot sell filters? Or can I vacuum the filter?

I read online that you're supposed to change the filter every 3 months. That seems excessive to me, but I conclude that every 3 years is bad. Very bad. I have a carbon monoxide detector (recently replaced). I will call the oil company tomorrow if they're open.
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:44 PM   #2
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Is it a forced hot air system?


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Old 01-16-2022, 11:02 PM   #3
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I'm unaware of any filter for a forced hot water system, but the machinery should be serviced annually for best efficiency, new jets, etc. In the mean time, if it is cold out, it will cycle more frequently and any deficiencies will show up more obviously. Your oil delivery company should have a tech on duty 24/7. The sooner you call, the sooner you will move up the list.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:03 PM   #4
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Is it a forced hot air system?


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Radiators. I was just reading about CO2 poisoning. I think I'll sleep with the window cracked open tonight. I sent a request for service to Dead River.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:03 PM   #5
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Smell? Get the furnace human to do a tune up.

Cycling a lot? See above AND it's been very cold out.

Also...
Make sure nothing is open to the outside such as an unlocked double hung window with an upper sash that has dropped a bit.
If you have a whole house fan that is open to the attic it must be covered from above.
Are any cellar windows opened a crack?

Filter? Make note of the direction the air travels. You'll want to install the new one the right way. The filter has its size in inches on its edge. For example it might be 20"x20"x1".

Filters come in varying capability. The hardware store, big box or small, will have guidance on that so you may pick your level of paranoia.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:06 PM   #6
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My post above refers to a forced hot air system.

If that is not what you have then never mind.

A filter on a system with radiators might apply to the one that protects the oil burner from impurities in the oil.

That one is best left to the furnace technician.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:06 PM   #7
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I'm unaware of any filter for a forced hot water system, but the machinery should be serviced annually for best efficiency, new jets, etc. In the mean time, if it is cold out, it will cycle more frequently and any deficiencies will show up more obviously. Your oil delivery company should have a tech on duty 24/7. The sooner you call, the sooner you will move up the list.
I was thinking the same. The furnace had to work pretty hard this past week and that was the first time I noticed the odor.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:11 PM   #8
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..Make sure nothing is open to the outside such as an unlocked double hung window with an upper sash that has dropped a bit.
Wow, you're amazing! I did have exactly such a window! I discovered it yesterday. I couldn't get the top sash to stay up so I had to stuff insulation in the crack. I think you're saying that an open window will draw fumes up from the basement?
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:21 PM   #9
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The open window will make the house cold and thus run the furnace more.

I suspect your oil burner needs a cleaning to make the smell go away.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:22 PM   #10
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BTW Carbon monoxide is the poisonous gas that you have detectors for. That would be CO.

CO2 is carbon dioxide, like they use in fire extinguishers and dairy bar whip cream dispensers.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:25 PM   #11
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BTW Carbon monoxide is the poisonous gas that you have detectors for. That would be CO.

CO2 is carbon dioxide, like they use in fire extinguishers and dairy bar whip cream dispensers.
Oh right, sorry about that. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 01-17-2022, 12:13 AM   #12
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Your flue needs to be cleaned... badly.
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Old 01-17-2022, 12:41 AM   #13
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Oil burners need to be serviced yearly by a pro. If you have any appliance that burns anything, you should have a carbon monoxide and smoke detector in the house.
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Old 01-17-2022, 02:39 AM   #14
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Red face

You just need to have the furnace serviced.

There is a filter. It’s called an oil filter and your least likely problem.

You really need to service oil burners every year. Two at most, depending on how many gallons you run.

You are not smelling CO. It’s odorless.

Your burner is not firing up properly and you smell soot because it’s igniting late.
It causes a big burp when it does that and you get that soot / diesel oil smell in the house.

Service guy will typically put a new nozzle, change the oil filter, check/clean or replace electrodes, and clean the flue. It all has to get done.

As long as it’s firing up your fine. Especially if it just started but get it serviced ASAP. Now you’ll be competing with people that have no heat because you procrastinated. Don’t F’k with oil burners. They HAVE to be serviced.

I used to do mine myself Purred like a kitten.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:24 AM   #15
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The filter that gets changed often is to clean the air that gets blown back into the house. Yours may be so clogged that the burner is running to the time limit without putting enough warm air into your house. You do need to change that to reduce dust in the ducts and house. It is a simple procedure in most furnaces.

If your system has not been serviced in a while you should definitely schedule that ASAP. At best, a dirty burner is less efficient. More seriously is the chance your flue is clogged (as suggested above.) This will eventually lead to a buildup of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, both of which are dangerous.

When you come inside and feel your lungs become irritated you are probably feeling the CO2 buildup. You will not feel the CO but that is more dangerous because it displaces and blocks oxygen abortion on your red blood cells.

Don't wait. Call today for service. Also, people who burn fuel in their homes should have at least on carbon monoxide alarm.

Good luck!
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:52 AM   #16
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Thank you very much for all these helpful responses. I had the carbon monoxide checked last night and fortunately it was 0%. I was able to schedule a cleaning for tomorrow. I do have one carbon monoxide detector upstairs and a smoke detector upstairs and downstairs, both recently replaced.

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Old 01-17-2022, 11:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by SailinAway View Post
I have an oil furnace. There's a slight smoky smell in the house. I checked downstairs for leaks around the flue and don't see any. The furnace also seems to be cycling on and off too often. So I conclude that the most likely cause of both problems is a dirty filter. When was the last time I had the furnace cleaned? I don't dare answer that.

It can take quite a while to get an appointment for a cleaning. In the meantime, can I change the filter myself? Anything I need to know about doing this? Does Home Depot sell filters? Or can I vacuum the filter?

I read online that you're supposed to change the filter every 3 months. That seems excessive to me, but I conclude that every 3 years is bad. Very bad. I have a carbon monoxide detector (recently replaced). I will call the oil company tomorrow if they're open.
Air filters are easy and cheap. The size will be written on it when you pull it out, just buy a new one at Home Depot and slide it in. Just make sure you check the arrows for direction of flow. Turn off your red power switch to the furnace and swap it out. Ours is visible with no cover over the end of it, some systems may have a screw to remove a cover.

Every few months is recommended, more if you have pets. We have 4 dogs, so I have to change monthly.
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Old 01-17-2022, 12:28 PM   #18
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Air filters are easy and cheap. The size will be written on it when you pull it out, just buy a new one at Home Depot and slide it in. Just make sure you check the arrows for direction of flow. Turn off your red power switch to the furnace and swap it out. Ours is visible with no cover over the end of it, some systems may have a screw to remove a cover.

Every few months is recommended, more if you have pets. We have 4 dogs, so I have to change monthly.
He doesn’t have air filters. He has “radiators” (i.e. Forced Hot Water). And it wouldn’t cause the problems he sees (smells) either.
If you had a clogged air filter it would over heat the heat exchanger and shutdown. Or if you have a modern system it would tell you (one that actually measures air flow rates). Or the blower would trip a breaker due to excessive load (if it doesn’t burn out first). It would not start stinking up the house with fumes. For hot air systems the air flow is completely isolated from combustion chamber.

Now if the system is clean and it’s a hot air system and you get fumes. You might have a heat exchanger leak. That would be bad. That only happens with forced hot air too. Also have to watch out that you’re not pulling fumes into the house from the chimney.

BTW I always ran a chimney cap. Moisture in your chimney does not function well.

I always tend to see Oil is Forced Hot Water and Propane / Natural Gas is frequently Forced Hot Air but sometimes forced Hot Water too, but not as often. I don’t think I’ve even seen oil fired Forced Hot Air but I always assumed they existed.

The “filter” Sailaway it probably recalling from his last service is probably the oil filter. If that clogs up. You are shut down. You really have to go a long time before those clog up.

The most common issue on oil burners is a bad nozzle (they get worn and gum up) and dirty/worn electrodes causes it a to have a long time to ignite. You’ll hear the blower run and a long delay before it ignites. Then the smell. You need a perfect spray pattern and clean perfectly spaced electrodes for it to ignite instantly. Clogged flu is way less common. Nozzle and electrodes is almost always first. If it’s a bad installation with sat long horizontal exhaust pipes then clogged flu is more plausible. Partial blocked flu will cut efficiency.

If it takes to long to ignite the burner safety will eventually trip. If it’s been running like this I would not hit the reset button on the burner. It usually means there is lots of oil in the chamber if it trips. Unless you are in risk of freezing to death If you do, prepare for a boom if it ignites The time between it getting slow to ignite and smelly and tripping burner safety is usually VERY long. Typically months. It’s crying for help though. Most oil companies will come out with in 24 hrs if you have no heat in this weather. It’s a very common first sign of needing service. It also tends to start during a cold spell.

After it gets serviced. Listen to it carefully start. Know your system. Hear the blower start and the roar of the flame. When you hear the flame roar like 5 seconds after the blower, it’s not running optimal. It should be nearly instant. BTW I’ve seen “Professionals” totally botch a service job. I trust none with my families safety. Not electricians, plumbers or auto mechanics. I do hire them when absolutely required. But I watch them like a hawk when I do. It’s not their house and family, it’s yours. Most are very willing to educate you. And I never hesitate to ask questions.

Hmmm, those mini splits are looking more attractive aren’t they.
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Old 01-17-2022, 12:38 PM   #19
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Hmmm, those mini splits are looking more attractive arenít they.
Yes they are! Getting ready to move and am thinking of doing the whole house in them. There are 2 pellet stoves and 2 fireplaces as well, but mini splits and some provision to offset a portion with solar is my thought.
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Old 01-17-2022, 12:42 PM   #20
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... I did have exactly such a window! I discovered it yesterday. I couldn't get the top sash to stay up so I had to stuff insulation in the crack. I think you're saying that an open window will draw fumes up from the basement?
By "stuff insulation in the crack" I assume you used a scrap of fiberglass batt insulation. That's not a super tight seal. Air filters are made out of that stuff; dust collects on the fibers, but the air flows through it easily enough. By really packing enough of that material into a crack, the leakage of air through the crack is reduced but not totally eliminated. It might be useful to apply a strip of blue painter's tape over the crack, on top of the FG stuffed in there. That will provide a better air leakage barrier. In the warmer weather you can do a proper fix.

Air leaks, especially in the upper level of the house, are worse in bitter cold weather, due to "stack effect." Air at zero F is about 15% more dense than inside air at 70 F. That's a relatively huge difference. The taller the column of warm interior air "immersed" (in a sense) in cold outside air, the greater the pressure difference. Its much like diving down into the lake, where the pressure increases steadily due to the weight of the water above any point. Think, too, about the need to have sufficient chimney height above a wood stove to get adequate draft.

Most homes could benefit from a thorough air sealing effort. Typical leakage places are up high, through wiring holes in top plates of the upper story (caulk those with orange can foam), can lights in upper story ceilings (replace those with low profile LED fixtures, sealed to the ceiling), and under the sill at the top of the foundation and where there are any openings to the outside for electrical or plumbing. Also, a chimney often can have a huge open space around it up in the attic.\

There is a wealth of information online. A quick search on "air sealing existing home" turns up many. Here is but one: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com...g-homes-part-1

Reducing the leakiness of a house makes a huge difference not just in heating cost but also in comfort. Air leakage, at its worst in bitter cold and windy weather, flushes out interior humidity produced by human occupancy. Excessive leakage results in exceedingly dry air, so uncomfortable that many resort to active humidification. Needing that almost always is a dead giveaway that the house is far too leaky. Humidification is not the answer; the first step should be tightening up the house. Deliberately adding humidity to a house runs the risk of condensation on cold exterior sheathing and roof decks, with associated mold and rot.
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Old 01-17-2022, 01:04 PM   #21
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He doesnít have air filters. He has ďradiatorsĒ (i.e. Forced Hot Water). And it wouldnít cause the problems he sees (smells) either. . . .The ďfilterĒ Sailaway it probably recalling from his last service is probably the oil filter. If that clogs up. You are shut down. You really have to go a long time before those clog up.
Yes, I have forced hot water radiators. The filter I'm referring to is on the side of the furnace. It's about 20" x 20"or so. I know I have one because I watched the last cleaning and I remember the technician told me I could remove the filter and vacuum it. Thanks for the info about the nozzle and delayed start time in relation to the smell. I'm sure the nozzle is old.
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Old 01-17-2022, 01:06 PM   #22
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20x20 should be a forced hot air furnace. I haven't seen one on a boiler before.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:33 PM   #23
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20x20 should be a forced hot air furnace. I haven't seen one on a boiler before.
Yeah, something doesn't sound right.

Maybe he has an air intake for the Oil Burner Blower with a filter on it or something.

@SailAway can you post a picture?
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Old 01-18-2022, 01:37 PM   #24
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Default And the answer is . . .

I got the furnace cleaned and serviced today. The cause of the smoke smell was that the flue pipe was a bit corroded. The technician wrapped silver tape around it and said it will last until spring.

Regarding what I was calling a "screen," y'all were right. There was no screen. It was just the clean-out panel on the side of the boiler.

The technician's theory about the short cycling was cold oil or a downdraft during that really cold weather creating a firing delay. The flue is not blocked; draft measured good today.

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Old 01-18-2022, 01:51 PM   #25
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By "stuff insulation in the crack" I assume you used a scrap of fiberglass batt insulation. That's not a super tight seal. Air filters are made out of that stuff; dust collects on the fibers, but the air flows through it easily enough. By really packing enough of that material into a crack, the leakage of air through the crack is reduced but not totally eliminated. It might be useful to apply a strip of blue painter's tape over the crack, on top of the FG stuffed in there. That will provide a better air leakage barrier. In the warmer weather you can do a proper fix.

Air leaks, especially in the upper level of the house, are worse in bitter cold weather, due to "stack effect." Air at zero F is about 15% more dense than inside air at 70 F. That's a relatively huge difference. The taller the column of warm interior air "immersed" (in a sense) in cold outside air, the greater the pressure difference. Its much like diving down into the lake, where the pressure increases steadily due to the weight of the water above any point. Think, too, about the need to have sufficient chimney height above a wood stove to get adequate draft.

Most homes could benefit from a thorough air sealing effort. Typical leakage places are up high, through wiring holes in top plates of the upper story (caulk those with orange can foam), can lights in upper story ceilings (replace those with low profile LED fixtures, sealed to the ceiling), and under the sill at the top of the foundation and where there are any openings to the outside for electrical or plumbing. Also, a chimney often can have a huge open space around it up in the attic.\

There is a wealth of information online. A quick search on "air sealing existing home" turns up many. Here is but one: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com...g-homes-part-1

Reducing the leakiness of a house makes a huge difference not just in heating cost but also in comfort. Air leakage, at its worst in bitter cold and windy weather, flushes out interior humidity produced by human occupancy. Excessive leakage results in exceedingly dry air, so uncomfortable that many resort to active humidification. Needing that almost always is a dead giveaway that the house is far too leaky. Humidification is not the answer; the first step should be tightening up the house. Deliberately adding humidity to a house runs the risk of condensation on cold exterior sheathing and roof decks, with associated mold and rot.
Dick, thank you for this interesting and detailed information. I sealed the crack between the window sashes with foam insulation and put tape over it. About 15 years ago I had the whole house draft tested and resealed. The whole basement was sealed with spray foam. It's imperfect though---I no longer have the ambition or ability to put up storm windows every winter. I didn't realize that leakage lowers the humidity; thanks for that information. I run a small humidifier but it only helps a bit. I definitely had very dry air during that cold period last week---16%, which I know isn't good, especially for sensitive musical instruments (guitar, piano).
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Old 01-18-2022, 02:58 PM   #26
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I got the furnace cleaned and serviced today. The cause of the smoke smell was that the flue pipe was a bit corroded. The technician wrapped silver tape around it and said it will last until spring.

Regarding what I was calling a "screen," y'all were right. There was no screen. It was just the clean-out panel on the side of the boiler.

The technician's theory about the short cycling was cold oil or a downdraft during that really cold weather creating a firing delay. The flue is not blocked; draft measured good today.
Just for clarification, a furnace is not a boiler or vice versa. Sounds like you have a boiler, a furnace generally refers to a forced hot air system that is fossil fuel powered.

Glad you got it fixed. You need to get an oil fired appliance serviced every year or it will let you down eventually. Servicing includes changing the oil nozzle and cleaning the system. Oil filters if needed.
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Old 01-18-2022, 03:03 PM   #27
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Glad it all worked out without major problems. Always great to have feedback after these discussions and hear about the solutions.
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Old 01-18-2022, 08:10 PM   #28
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Just for clarification, a furnace is not a boiler or vice versa. Sounds like you have a boiler, a furnace generally refers to a forced hot air system that is fossil fuel powered.
Yeah, I know. I was raised calling it a furnace regardless of the type of heat. Even in this thread people refer to it as a furnace. At some point someone usually corrects the terminology.
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Old 01-18-2022, 08:40 PM   #29
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Yeah, I know. I was raised calling it a furnace regardless of the type of heat. Even in this thread people refer to it as a furnace. At some point someone usually corrects the terminology.
I always called Steam heat a Boiler and the rest a Furnace.
Because only Steam heat "Boils" the water
I believe that's where the original term "Boiler" comes from.
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Old 01-18-2022, 09:04 PM   #30
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Default Carbon monoxide

I owe you guys some more serious thanks for this thread. A couple of posters mentioned carbon monoxide early on and that made me understand the seriousness of my situation. Without that, I probably would have waited a few days to take action. My parents taught us kids about carbon monoxide poisoning when we were very young. Remember Family Safety magazine in the 1950s and 50s? My parents used to make us read that every month and then gave us a written test on it. Carbon monoxide was a popular topic.

On Sunday night while I was reading your responses to my questions, I googled "carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms" and came across the story below at the Quota website. As soon as I read it I called the fire department at 10:30 at night for a carbon monoxide test and then called the oil company for service. Unwarranted panic or smart? I decided I'd rather be alive and look foolish.

This chilling story from the Quora website is long but a good cautionary tale about carbon monoxide:

Quote:
My father and I went to our lake house to do some repairs and prepare for the next tenants one winter night. When we got to the house we found it was warm and realized the heat had been left on from the previous tenants over a week ago. Though we had planned to work on the house that night, we decided instead to rest and watch a movie. About 30 minutes into the movie, my father decided to go to bed. I fell asleep on the couch soon after, too tired to go to my bed. At the time this just seemed like a random decision, in hindsight there was much more to it.

I woke up because my heart was racing unnaturally fast and forceful, like nothing like I've ever felt, even with intense exercise. I had sweat through my clothes, and the cushions of the couch were completely saturated like a wet sponge. I suspected I had a severe flu. I called out to my father upstairs and he called back that he was getting out of bed but he never came after some time passed. I tried to get up to go to his room but my body felt too heavy. At some point I fell back asleep, but awoke again due to the same symptoms, and now when I called to my father there was no response. I forced myself up and made my way up the staircase which appeared distorted and eerie, like a haunted house, which I later found is a very common perception with carbon monoxide poisoning. I found my father lying unconscious on the bed.

After some difficulties and fumbling which are difficult to remember I luckily found his cell phone and called 9-1-1. I told the dispatcher that both my father and I might have the flu and that I thought I was having a panic attack because my heart was beating extremely fast. Carbon monoxide never crossed anyone's mind. I didn't know the exact address of our lake house, and I couldn't revive my father to ask him. She told me to take deep breaths, so I laid on the bed next to my father and controlled my breathing. With every breath I felt I was going deeper into a fog. My vision started to go black like when you stand up too fast. Up until this point I was panicked and hyperactive, but before going unconscious I do remember feeling a heavy sleepiness and calm.

I woke up to fire truck lights flashing and plain-clothed firemen in the bedroom shouting and opening the large glass sliding doors. Through the commotion, the word "carbon monoxide" struck me immediately and everything came together. I remember at that point I was soaking wet in sweat, my heart was beating rapidly, and I felt terrified, which I think is partially attributed to the confusion I was feeling. I also could not feel my body, and moving was very difficult. I was lying in bed moving my arms and legs around trying to feel any kind of sensation. My father was still unconscious on a stretcher and I was picked up and carried out.

In the ambulance my father woke up and was actually angry, insisting he was only asleep and he wanted to go back to bed. I remember that his face was unusually red, which I later found out was a symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning since carbon monoxide makes red blood cells more red than oxygen (meats are sometimes treated with carbon monoxide to appear brighter red). The paramedics explained to him that he was poisoned and that if I didn't call 9-1-1 we would have been dead within 30 minutes. They told us that the concentration of carbon monoxide in his bedroom was the highest they had ever seen, 1,000 ppm, measured after the windows were opened. For reference, allowable workplace levels are 25 ppm and levels of 1,600 cause death in 2 hours. The firemen also said they suspected it was carbon monoxide when the dispatcher told them there were two victims. I don't know why the dispatcher was not trained with this knowledge.

In the hospital, our oxygen saturation was critically low, and we were treated in hyperbaric oxygen chambers. The physician counseled me that carbon monoxide binds 240 times more strongly to red blood cells than oxygen, and used the metaphor that once carbon monoxide takes a seat on a bus it stays in its seat longer and there is one less seat for oxygen. Once the seats fill up with carbon monoxide, there will be no transport of oxygen to the tissues, particularly the brain and heart. This is why my heart was speeding up, as a last ditch effort to get whatever oxygen was left in my blood to my tissues. We were discharged after about one day when our oxygen saturation was at normal levels.

What I find unusual about carbon monoxide poisoning is that my father and I had very different reactions. My understanding of the event is clearer and more accurate than my fathers. He is elderly and fell asleep very deeply, and also woke up much more disoriented than I did. I, 25 at the time, was showing severe flu-like symptoms, and was waking up from sleep in a panic due to those symptoms. If not for my atypical reaction, without a doubt I would not be writing this today.

The reason the house filled with carbon monoxide is because there was a leak through the upstairs bathroom to the basement that corroded a hole into the furnace, which had been left on for an extended period. The batteries from the carbon monoxide detector were removed by the last tenant, likely because it was going off.
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Old 01-18-2022, 10:02 PM   #31
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I owe you guys some more serious thanks for this thread. A couple of posters mentioned carbon monoxide early on and that made me understand the seriousness of my situation. Without that, I probably would have waited a few days to take action. My parents taught us kids about carbon monoxide poisoning when we were very young. Remember Family Safety magazine in the 1950s and 50s? My parents used to make us read that every month and then gave us a written test on it. Carbon monoxide was a popular topic.

On Sunday night while I was reading your responses to my questions, I googled "carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms" and came across the story below at the Quota website. As soon as I read it I called the fire department at 10:30 at night for a carbon monoxide test and then called the oil company for service. Unwarranted panic or smart? I decided I'd rather be alive and look foolish.

This chilling story from the Quora website is long but a good cautionary tale about carbon monoxide:
Did you have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?
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Old 01-18-2022, 10:19 PM   #32
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Did you have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?
Yup. One CO and two smoke alarms, recently replaced.
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Old 01-18-2022, 10:34 PM   #33
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I always called Steam heat a Boiler and the rest a Furnace.
Because only Steam heat "Boils" the water
I believe that's where the original term "Boiler" comes from.
That would be correct.
When we moved to radiant baseboard with an active system rather than the radiators with the gravity system... they just kept the term boiler.
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Old 01-19-2022, 10:20 AM   #34
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Yeah, I know. I was raised calling it a furnace regardless of the type of heat. Even in this thread people refer to it as a furnace. At some point someone usually corrects the terminology.
Not really a big deal, it just makes it harder to help when the terms get mixed. It's tough to remember to service them, I have two oil fired boilers in two homes. The company in Mass. sends me a card with a date on it every year. The lake house company doesn't, but they are good at getting it done when I call. I was late this year, got it done in late November. I usually try to get it done in August, they aren't busy then.
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Old 01-19-2022, 03:41 PM   #35
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Default Back to square one

After two service calls, the smoky odor persists. What has been done so far:
  • Annual tune-up (nozzle etc.)
  • Reinforced flue pipe where it was corroded
  • Resealed flue pipe connection to chimney
  • Cleaned soot out of chimney cleanout door so the door would shut better
  • Trimmed some kind of lining in the boiler that was bent wrong and was contacting the flame (sorry, I forget exactly what it was)
  • Cleaned around the boiler cleanout panel
  • Checked to make sure the chimney is not blocked
  • Rechecked the first guy's work

The second technician confirmed that the odor is coming from the furnace/boiler/heating appliance. Parting words: "This should be much, much better."

Has anything been missed here?
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Old 01-19-2022, 04:59 PM   #36
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But, once that oil smell gets into stuff it is so difficult to remove. Try lightning a candle or two. Itís a old oil painting trick


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Old 01-19-2022, 06:21 PM   #37
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After two service calls, the smoky odor persists. What has been done so far:
  • Annual tune-up (nozzle etc.)
  • Reinforced flue pipe where it was corroded
  • Resealed flue pipe connection to chimney
  • Cleaned soot out of chimney cleanout door so the door would shut better
  • Trimmed some kind of lining in the boiler that was bent wrong and was contacting the flame (sorry, I forget exactly what it was)
  • Cleaned around the boiler cleanout panel
  • Checked to make sure the chimney is not blocked
  • Rechecked the first guy's work

The second technician confirmed that the odor is coming from the furnace/boiler/heating appliance. Parting words: "This should be much, much better."

Has anything been missed here?
Smoke pipe should be replaced not fixed with metal tape. Yeah you can use it as an emergency patch, but it will burn off the glue and eventually fall off. Did they leave a copy of the combustion test from a print out from a printer? Obviously there's something still wrong. You maybe getting delayed ignition, which can be from a bad nozzle, wrong nozzle, or bad igniter. It can also be from a plugged fuel line, filter, or strainer. Have you been hitting the red reset button on the primary control?
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:35 PM   #38
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Go watch it light off, make sure it's well lit, look for puffs of smoke when it lights. Also, hopefully they looked up the chimney for birds, nests, broken liner.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:46 PM   #39
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But, once that oil smell gets into stuff it is so difficult to remove. Try lightning a candle or two. Itís a old oil painting trick
The odor is in the air. I went away when I opened a window and a door to the outside. It returned when the furnace came on again.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:49 PM   #40
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Smoke pipe should be replaced not fixed with metal tape. Yeah you can use it as an emergency patch, but it will burn off the glue and eventually fall off. Did they leave a copy of the combustion test from a print out from a printer? Obviously there's something still wrong. You maybe getting delayed ignition, which can be from a bad nozzle, wrong nozzle, or bad igniter. It can also be from a plugged fuel line, filter, or strainer. Have you been hitting the red reset button on the primary control?
Yes, I agreed that the smoke pipe should be replaced now. Yes, they left a copy of the combustion test and said everything checked out fine. Two people have checked the work, so I assume the parts are the right ones. Thanks for the suggestion about the plugged fuel line, filter, and strainer. No, I haven't touched the reset button or anything else.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:52 PM   #41
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Go watch it light off, make sure it's well lit, look for puffs of smoke when it lights. Also, hopefully they looked up the chimney for birds, nests, broken liner.
I can't really do anything myself with the furnace. I have zero knowledge of these things. The second guy said he put his hand in the chimney and saw light on his hand, thus it's not blocked. I asked if he used a mirror; he said no.
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Old 01-20-2022, 02:32 AM   #42
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Go watch it light off, make sure it's well lit, look for puffs of smoke when it lights. Also, hopefully they looked up the chimney for birds, nests, broken liner.
Good tips.

Also make sure exhaust is not getting sucked back into house.
How quick do you smell it? Is it near the boiler right after it fires up or does it take a while to smell it through out the house?

The oil burner draws in air. Quite a bit. It basically gets it through all the leaks in the house. If you have a leak near the top of chimney it can pull that exhaust back in. Try opening a window closest to boiler, shouldnít need much, just a few inches. Does that stop the smell?

Also, like I said. A wet chimney is not good. Itís harder to get a draft going if itís cold and wet. That can cause a poor start.

Might get a chimney guy out to inspect the chimney. Good idea to do once in while any way.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:32 AM   #43
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I can't really do anything myself with the furnace. I have zero knowledge of these things. The second guy said he put his hand in the chimney and saw light on his hand, thus it's not blocked. I asked if he used a mirror; he said no.
Just to be clear, by well lit, I mean shine a light on it to see if you can see smoke escaping somewhere when the fire lights.


Occasionally getting a whiff of smoke happens and usually isn't an issue. You have functioning smoke and co detectors so I wouldn't be too concerned. If you had a big problem those would be going off.

Also, fuel oil is pretty pungent. It takes only a little for it to smell. Put kitty litter or sand on any drips you see from the maintenance. Obviously make sure you don't have any leaks.
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:19 AM   #44
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How quick do you smell it? Is it near the boiler right after it fires up or does it take a while to smell it through out the house
I don't smell if right away. This morning it took about 30 to 45 minutes before I smelled it. First the odor comes to the top of the cellar stairs. Then it starts to flow throughout the downstairs. Just now I stuffed towels under the door from the cellarway. All of the windows in the cellar where the furnace is are sealed shut with foam.
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:23 AM   #45
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Just to be clear, by well lit, I mean shine a light on it to see if you can see smoke escaping somewhere when the fire lights. Occasionally getting a whiff of smoke happens and usually isn't an issue. You have functioning smoke and co detectors so I wouldn't be too concerned. If you had a big problem those would be going off. Also, fuel oil is pretty pungent. It takes only a little for it to smell. Put kitty litter or sand on any drips you see from the maintenance. Obviously make sure you don't have any leaks.
It's not a whiff of smoke---it's enough that it's affecting the indoor air quality and I'm concerned about breathing it.
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:20 AM   #46
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And you should be. I have a oil burner with forced hot water and never smell smoke or odor from it. Our understanding is you have had two different service companies in or is it two individuals from the same company?


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Old 01-20-2022, 10:25 AM   #47
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How old is the furnace (I mean boiler) and chimney?

Like mentioned, I donít think you have to panic but it should get resolved promptly.

The fact that your flue pipe rotted through could mean there are other underlying issues.

One other outside chance is that, now that itís fixed it might take a little time to settle in. Oil in chamber to burn off and soot was stirred up.

Like someone said it can stay around.

I donít know how finished the area is, but try a thorough vacuum and cleaning might help. Wipe down furnace too. Bet you there is a layer of black soot on everything.
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Old 01-20-2022, 11:29 AM   #48
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At this point I don't know if I should call back the same oil company or try someone else? I'm concerned about paying for a 3rd service call from the same company, although both technicians seemed to know what they were doing.
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Old 01-20-2022, 12:18 PM   #49
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Never one to spend someone elseís money, however, in this case I would call a different company. Tell theyou are looking for a solution to the problem you are experiencing and this is what has happened to date. Show them the service records from the first two technicians. Personally, I use Foley Oil and have been happy with them. Keep in touch


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Old 01-20-2022, 12:29 PM   #50
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How old is the furnace (I mean boiler) and chimney?
The furnace is 15 years old. House was built in 1929. The second technician said the odor was coming from the furnace itself.
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Old 01-20-2022, 03:05 PM   #51
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I think it may help to get a free opinion from a non-oil dealer.
1. Most fire depts have somebody who will do an inspection, at least for safety, but they are used to tracking down airflow in strange places. Some will have infrared cameras to highlight leaks. Equipment oil companies don't usually have.
2. Disaster cleaning companies e.g. Service Master or ServPro, do clean up after fires, floods, furnace puff-back, etc. They often deal with insurance companies. Your homeowners insurance won't pay for furnace/boiler maintenance, but if there is smoke/fumes absorbed into curtains, carpets, upholstery, etc. they may pay for cleaning. Usually the criteria is "sudden and accidental". Gradual damage from omitted maintenance is on you, but this sounds like a new phenomenon. (How many winters have you been in the house?) The estimator from the cleaning company will know. They usually will come out and make proposals for free. As suggested above, if this has been going on for a while, getting the smell out may be more than just fixing the boiler.

Seems to me you had some roofing work done last fall. I tie that to the suggestion above about a wet chimney and chimney or air leaks. If this is a 1929 chimney, I'd guess it is not lined and hasn't been repointed for awhile. The FD will likely look at that too. (I had a new roof last fall, and they missed some seal around the chimney. Leaks into the interior ceiling were fixed by the GC. Point is, it does happen.)
This is an interesting thread. I feel bad for your problems, but thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-20-2022, 03:18 PM   #52
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I have a suggestion that is unrelated to your combustion problem directly but indirectly may help, bleed your uppermost radiators. Most hydronic systems the age of yours will have a central Spirotherm vent or something like it, but air still somehow seems to get into the system and can become trapped in the radiators. This is especially true if the radiators are original vintage. Bleeding on old radiators is simple, look for a small vent valve near the top of the radiator and use a small screwdriver to open the vent long enough for the air to bleed out. You'll know when that is done becuase the vent will begin to pee out fluid instead of air. This simple bit of maintenance can make a huge difference in the efficiency!
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:42 PM   #53
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I have a suggestion that is unrelated to your combustion problem directly but indirectly may help, bleed your uppermost radiators. Most hydronic systems the age of yours will have a central Spirotherm vent or something like it, but air still somehow seems to get into the system and can become trapped in the radiators. This is especially true if the radiators are original vintage. Bleeding on old radiators is simple, look for a small vent valve near the top of the radiator and use a small screwdriver to open the vent long enough for the air to bleed out. You'll know when that is done becuase the vent will begin to pee out fluid instead of air. This simple bit of maintenance can make a huge difference in the efficiency!
My previous ancient furnace had an expansion tank. I regularly bled large amounts of air from the radiators. With the current furnace there is more or less no air to be bled. I don't heat the upstairs of the house, except for the bathroom. I just don't like to sleep in a heated room. Hence the radiators in the bedrooms are turned off.
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:10 PM   #54
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Are you running the old cast iron radiators, or the new hydronic baseboard?
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:20 PM   #55
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Are you running the old cast iron radiators, or the new hydronic baseboard?
Both, because the house was built in two sections at different dates.
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Old 01-21-2022, 08:26 AM   #56
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The furnace is 15 years old. House was built in 1929. The second technician said the odor was coming from the furnace itself.
have you had any work done in your home in the past year? New appliances installed, etc? When did you first notice the odor? Please be aware I I did this kind of work for years and just recently retired. I spent most of my time doing service on heating equipment and fixing problems either created or overlooked by others. Can you tell me what you have for a heating system... manufacturer, model, burner,etc.
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Old 01-21-2022, 08:49 AM   #57
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have you had any work done in your home in the past year? New appliances installed, etc? When did you first notice the odor? Please be aware I I did this kind of work for years and just recently retired. I spent most of my time doing service on heating equipment and fixing problems either created or overlooked by others. Can you tell me what you have for a heating system... manufacturer, model, burner,etc.
The roof was replaced this year. I turned the furnace on in October and there was no problem. The smoke odor only started last week. I will check the manufacturer etc. later today.
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:32 AM   #58
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Do you have a fireplace that uses the same chimney ?
And does anything else use the same chimney?
How many chimneys?
Is the chimney lined or just bricks?
If you don't know. Ask someone. Easy enough to find out.

Buy a couple of battery operated carbon monoxide detectors. And place them throughout the house. You don't have to screw them to the ceiling or wall. Just place them on a shelf or table.
Your local hardware store should have some.
or A/mazon
LINK

About $15.00-$25.00
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:06 AM   #59
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The roof was replaced this year. I turned the furnace on in October and there was no problem. The smoke odor only started last week. I will check the manufacturer etc. later today.
It sounds like nothing changed from the beginning of the heating season even though the roof was replaced. No new home fans , dryers, or other appliances?
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:18 AM   #60
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If the odor is that bad you have a leak somewhere. You've checked the boiler, the stack pipe is sealed, that leaves the chimney. Get that checked, especially if it's an older chimney. Chimneys are required to have liners now, your's may not. If something settles or cracks the crack can allow flue gases into the house. Hold onto your wallet if that's the case.

The only thing puzzling me is that if the flue gasses are getting into your home, it should be setting off the CO monitor as there is CO present in those gasses.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:21 AM   #61
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Do you have a fireplace that uses the same chimney ? And does anything else use the same chimney? How many chimneys? Is the chimney lined or just bricks? Buy a couple of battery operated carbon monoxide detectors.
The woodstove and furnace have separate chimneys. I'm not sure if the chimney is lined. I do have a CO detector and also had the CO measured by the fire department a few days ago---it was 0%.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:24 AM   #62
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It sounds like nothing changed from the beginning of the heating season even though the roof was replaced. No new home fans , dryers, or other appliances?
Yes, that's correct, no other changes.

I will add one thing (probably should have said this before, sorry!). The technician said, "I sure would like to look inside the boiler." But apparently two screws that give access to the boiler are fused and he didn't want to force them for fear of "making things worse." I'm probably not reporting this correctly, as to which part he was referring to.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:26 AM   #63
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If the odor is that bad you have a leak somewhere. You've checked the boiler, the stack pipe is sealed, that leaves the chimney. Get that checked, especially if it's an older chimney. Chimneys are required to have liners now, your's may not. If something settles or cracks the crack can allow flue gases into the house. Hold onto your wallet if that's the case.

The only thing puzzling me is that if the flue gasses are getting into your home, it should be setting off the CO monitor as there is CO present in those gasses.
The technician stated that he could smell the smoke coming from the boiler, not the chimney.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:34 AM   #64
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The technician stated that he could smell the smoke coming from the boiler, not the chimney.
Sounds like it's time for a new boiler.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:41 AM   #65
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Yes, that's correct, no other changes.

I will add one thing (probably should have said this before, sorry!). The technician said, "I sure would like to look inside the boiler." But apparently two screws that give access to the boiler are fused and he didn't want to force them for fear of "making things worse." I'm probably not reporting this correctly, as to which part he was referring to.
Oh boy... is this a furnace or boiler. Warm air or hot water or steam? He could of removed the burner to gain access to the chamber is he really wanted to inspect it.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:53 AM   #66
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Oh boy... is this a furnace or boiler. Warm air or hot water or steam? He could of removed the burner to gain access to the chamber is he really wanted to inspect it.
Boiler with hot water, radiators. I know he did inspect something inside, but I'm not sure what it was. He said that some piece that arches up over "something" (the chamber?) was bent inward and making contact with the flame so he cut it down to eliminate the contact. Please forgive my lack of precision; he told me a long story with terms I'm not familiar with.

ITD, the boiler is only 15 years old so hopefully not time for a new one.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:01 AM   #67
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I know you said it is only 15 years old. Todayís boilers thatís a lifetime. We must also take into account its lack of yearly scheduled maintenance. Which will shorten its life. As I have said before, I hate to spend otherís money, but in this case I must.


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Old 01-21-2022, 11:11 AM   #68
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Boiler with hot water, radiators. I know he did inspect something inside, but I'm not sure what it was. He said that some piece that arches up over "something" (the chamber?) was bent inward and making contact with the flame so he cut it down to eliminate the contact. Please forgive my lack of precision; he told me a long story with terms I'm not familiar with.

ITD, the boiler is only 15 years old so hopefully not time for a new one.
That really depends on what it is. A steel contractor boiler might be done at 15 years. From what you describe, screws fused into their holes, rusted out flue pipe, flue gasses escaping the boiler, it doesn't sound good.

A cast iron boiler should last longer. I have an ultimate cast iron boiler that is over 30 years old and still going strong.

Without pictures it's hard to really help from the internet. If your contractor thought there was danger they would condemn the boiler. But the issues you are talking about are not easy to live with. I hope you get it figured out and it doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:20 AM   #69
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Chimney that old is probably not lined.
Even if it was, I bet it’s a mess, based on your history of “maintenance”

If you have CO detectors (I’d make sure you have a few) you can probably let it go until spring.

You can have an inner liner put in. You should probably do that regardless.
Not sure what was inspected where one person cut something away from the flame and yet didn’t see inside the boiler. You should replace the rotted pipes, tape might not be sealing good.

They should have taken the top off boiler and brushed out the heat exchanger. This is the longest part of the job. Messy too. And critical.

It’s common for bolts to rust up. They usually turn. If they snap, they can deal with it.

Sounds like you need a better service company.
When you said they tapped up the rotted holes on the flue pipe that was a red flag to me.

For the record my 1996 house needed work on the liner !!
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:26 AM   #70
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I have an ultimate cast iron boiler that is over 30 years old and still going strong.
I'm afraid I have you beat for boiler age. The original cast iron 1929 boiler was replaced in 2007, when it was 78 years old! Seriously. It was a monster. It took several strong men to haul it out of the basement.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:42 AM   #71
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Boiler with hot water, radiators. I know he did inspect something inside, but I'm not sure what it was. He said that some piece that arches up over "something" (the chamber?) was bent inward and making contact with the flame so he cut it down to eliminate the contact. Please forgive my lack of precision; he told me a long story with terms I'm not familiar with.

ITD, the boiler is only 15 years old so hopefully not time for a new one.
Sounds like the chamber was collapsing so he just cut out a piece? Honestly it sounds like you should get someone out there that really wants to solve your problem. If this is a larger oil company ask for someone more experienced with boilers... if it's a private heating company you may have already got their best and you may need to call someone else. You should only be charged once not every time someone comes out there. Most of the time you don't need a new boiler you need a new service technician. Hope you actually get someone who cares enough to put a little effort into your problem.
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:14 PM   #72
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Sounds like the chamber was collapsing so he just cut out a piece? Honestly it sounds like you should get someone out there that really wants to solve your problem. If this is a larger oil company ask for someone more experienced with boilers... if it's a private heating company you may have already got their best and you may need to call someone else. You should only be charged once not every time someone comes out there. Most of the time you don't need a new boiler you need a new service technician. Hope you actually get someone who cares enough to put a little effort into your problem.
I had the impression he was referring to a piece inside the chamber. The company is Dead River. Any experience with their service? There's a technician near me, Roy Hubble. Anyone know his work?
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:24 PM   #73
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If you have CO detectors (Iíd make sure you have a few)
Thank you. I don't think that concept sunk in to OP.
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:29 PM   #74
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Post a picture of unit.
If unable to post a picture.
Post the name and model number of boiler/furnace.
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:39 PM   #75
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If you have CO detectors (Iíd make sure you have a few)

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Thank you. I don't think that concept sunk in to OP.
Actually I've said a few times that I have a CO detector, up to date, and the fire department verified that the level of CO in the basement and the house is 0%.
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Old 01-21-2022, 03:24 PM   #76
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Here are some photos. I have more if there's something specific you want to see. The service card is from the first technician. The second one didn't leave a service card.
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Old 01-21-2022, 04:49 PM   #77
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Here are some photos. I have more if there's something specific you want to see. The service card is from the first technician. The second one didn't leave a service card.
That's not a combustion test! The only way for sure you know one was done is with a printout from the combustion analyzer. They shouldn't have had any issue opening that up. The HB Smith is cleaned from the side panel. Make sure the side plates are lined up properly. Lift up that side panel, turn the heat up all the way to fire the boiler, go down stairs in front of where the panel was, shut off the lights, and see if you can see any flame or light. It doesn't say what nozzle , filter , strainer, he used or anything he did. Did he actually brush the boiler pins, remove the smoke pipe, vacuum the breech and smoke pipe and inspect the chimney to make sure it wasn't blocked? there's no proof he did any of those things except what he told you.
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Old 01-21-2022, 05:23 PM   #78
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VLp05Htzx8
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Old 01-21-2022, 08:07 PM   #79
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That's a good boiler. Time to try another technician.
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Old 01-22-2022, 02:52 AM   #80
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That's not a combustion test! The only way for sure you know one was done is with a printout from the combustion analyzer. They shouldn't have had any issue opening that up. The HB Smith is cleaned from the side panel. Make sure the side plates are lined up properly. Lift up that side panel, turn the heat up all the way to fire the boiler, go down stairs in front of where the panel was, shut off the lights, and see if you can see any flame or light. It doesn't say what nozzle , filter , strainer, he used or anything he did. Did he actually brush the boiler pins, remove the smoke pipe, vacuum the breech and smoke pipe and inspect the chimney to make sure it wasn't blocked? there's no proof he did any of those things except what he told you.
I think the checkmarks indicate most everything was done.
But yeah, they usually always state what nozzle they put in.
Itís very odd technician said bolts were to rusted to remove.
They typically donít remove that large plate, just the burner.

Dead River is good and fairly good size. Iíd ask for someone more serious.

How long was it not serviced for?
Maybe it was so plugged up that a standard cleaning isnít getting it all out.
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Old 01-22-2022, 09:12 AM   #81
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I think the checkmarks indicate most everything was done.
But yeah, they usually always state what nozzle they put in.
It’s very odd technician said bolts were to rusted to remove.
They typically don’t remove that large plate, just the burner.

Dead River is good and fairly good size. I’d ask for someone more serious.

How long was it not serviced for?
Maybe it was so plugged up that a standard cleaning isn’t getting it all out.
The check marks mean nothing without proof a combustion analyzer was used. The only way to prove it is to have a printout printed. I always left one at the customers and one attached to my paperwork. Having one can keep you out of court. I hate to say it, but most companies today are losing their most experienced techs due to retirement and burnout. I don't blame the homeowner for being upset... he should be!
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Old 01-22-2022, 09:35 PM   #82
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The check marks mean nothing without proof a combustion analyzer was used. The only way to prove it is to have a printout printed. I always left one at the customers and one attached to my paperwork. Having one can keep you out of court. I hate to say it, but most companies today are losing their most experienced techs due to retirement and burnout. I don't blame the homeowner for being upset... he should be!
That's great you do/did that but...

I've had 3 oil burners over 40 years and 5-ish oil companies and have never seen an analyzer printout. In fact, I don't believe any of them had the equipment to printout anything on site.

I'm not saying it's not a good thing to get, but I think you might have been a rare bird.
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:22 PM   #83
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I'm afraid I have you beat for boiler age. The original cast iron 1929 boiler was replaced in 2007, when it was 78 years old! Seriously. It was a monster. It took several strong men to haul it out of the basement.
This old boiler that we replaced in 2017 may have been from the same era. It was covered with sheet metal panels so it didn't look quite as scary in my basement:
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:20 PM   #84
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That's a good boiler. Time to try another technician.
Good advice.

Over many decades, have had real good technicians do service/repairs wilst a few were absolutely useless.

Another way to check source.
Keep off for a long enough time to let all odors leave house.
Then turn on or up thermostat to on.
Start in basement and attempt to find where the odor is coming from.
If not in basement.
Do procedure again. Go to next floor and attempt to find where odor is coming from.
Maybe find a friend, neighbor, relative to help "sniffing".

On another note the Smith company no longer makes residential boilers.
LINK

There used to be some independent serivice people not affiliated with any oil/fuel company. Don't know of any right now.

.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:48 PM   #85
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...There used to be some independent service people not affiliated with any oil/fuel company. Don't know of any right now.
Right. Al Terry and Heritage do a lot on TV. I've never used either of them. Angie's list probably has some local names, plumbers and HVAC folks who are not oil dealers.
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Old 01-23-2022, 06:50 PM   #86
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Good advice.

Over many decades, have had real good technicians do service/repairs wilst a few were absolutely useless.

Another way to check source.
Keep off for a long enough time to let all odors leave house.
Then turn on or up thermostat to on.
Start in basement and attempt to find where the odor is coming from.
If not in basement.
Do procedure again. Go to next floor and attempt to find where odor is coming from.
Maybe find a friend, neighbor, relative to help "sniffing".

On another note the Smith company no longer makes residential boilers.
LINK

There used to be some independent serivice people not affiliated with any oil/fuel company. Don't know of any right now.

.
The second technician said the smell was coming from the boiler. He just couldn't figure out exactly where. There are independent service people. I just have no way of knowing their level of skill. I was asking about Roy Hubble. Does anyone know of him?
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:05 AM   #87
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That's great you do/did that but...

I've had 3 oil burners over 40 years and 5-ish oil companies and have never seen an analyzer printout. In fact, I don't believe any of them had the equipment to printout anything on site.

I'm not saying it's not a good thing to get, but I think you might have been a rare bird.
That's the difference between professional and non professional parts changers. I'm not aware of any large company that don't have them. What you've seen are the lazy technicians that don't care.
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:44 AM   #88
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The second technician said the smell was coming from the boiler. He just couldn't figure out exactly where. There are independent service people. I just have no way of knowing their level of skill. I was asking about Roy Hubble. Does anyone know of him?
It's taken me over 20 years but I've found a fabulous independent service tech. He formally worked for the company that installed my current Buderus Hi Eff boiler but has gone out on his own in the past year. This is the type of guy who fully understands the systems he works on and doesn't just change parts for a living. I strongly recommend him and would not let anyone else work on my heating system. He comes from Nashua but well worth the travel time and extra expense of that travel.

Jorge Sanchez
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Old 01-24-2022, 12:36 PM   #89
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The second technician said the smell was coming from the boiler. He just couldn't figure out exactly where. There are independent service people. I just have no way of knowing their level of skill. I was asking about Roy Hubble. Does anyone know of him?
The procedure would be the same whether it is you, a friend, or the up coming technician.

The metal exhaust vent going from boiler to chimney appears to have metal tape on it. Could be as simple as replacing that metal vent pipe.
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Old 01-24-2022, 04:46 PM   #90
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The procedure would be the same whether it is you, a friend, or the up coming technician.

The metal exhaust vent going from boiler to chimney appears to have metal tape on it. Could be as simple as replacing that metal vent pipe.
Haven't we covered that? Wouldn't exhaust gases set off the C O detector? Would the reading from the Fire Dept. still be 0%?
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:08 PM   #91
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That's the difference between professional and non professional parts changers. I'm not aware of any large company that don't have them. What you've seen are the lazy technicians that don't care.
Dead River and Fred Fuller were two of them. Another was the company that Fred Fuller bought out which I can't remember their name. They all did perfectly fine and systems never failed. Couple old quacks now and then.

Rhymes just bought Fred Fuller.
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:29 PM   #92
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Dead River and Fred Fuller were two of them. Another was the company that Fred Fuller bought out which I can't remember their name. They all did perfectly fine and systems never failed. Couple old quacks now and then.

Rhymes just bought Fred Fuller.
Did I misunderstand? I thought Fred Fuller took a lot of advance payments, then didn't deliver and then went out of business. Rymes (no 'h') took over to make good to people who were caught in the middle.
https://manchesterinklink.com/fred-f...es-bankruptcy/
Not really related to this thread, is it, since Fuller has been out of business for many years?
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:46 PM   #93
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The procedure would be the same whether it is you, a friend, or the up coming technician.

The metal exhaust vent going from boiler to chimney appears to have metal tape on it. Could be as simple as replacing that metal vent pipe.
If everything is running normal, even if that pipe had holes in it, it would not smell. Ever see a draft balancer on an oil burner where it's not sealed around the damper. That doesn't have to be "air tight".

Now it may come out the holes if things are NOT running correctly.
The holes he had before the tape, didn't appear overnight, but his smell problem did, that should be a hint.

If the smell is coming from the furnace I suspect it's not firing up correctly.
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Old 01-25-2022, 10:14 AM   #94
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Did I misunderstand? I thought Fred Fuller took a lot of advance payments, then didn't deliver and then went out of business. Rymes (no 'h') took over to make good to people who were caught in the middle.
https://manchesterinklink.com/fred-f...es-bankruptcy/
Not really related to this thread, is it, since Fuller has been out of business for many years?
When we moved in with my mom in 1996, she used Fred Fuller for oil (kerosene) and service. Technicians were great. After mom's passing in 2000, we continued with Fuller for years until they started having legal issues. We then changed over to Eastern. We already had Eastern for propane, and with the Our Town discount, things were great.

We have used Eastern technicians since the changeover and have been satisfied with their service.

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Old 01-25-2022, 01:54 PM   #95
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If everything is running normal, even if that pipe had holes in it, it would not smell. Ever see a draft balancer on an oil burner where it's not sealed around the damper. That doesn't have to be "air tight".

Now it may come out the holes if things are NOT running correctly.
The holes he had before the tape, didn't appear overnight, but his smell problem did, that should be a hint.

If the smell is coming from the furnace I suspect it's not firing up correctly.
You are correct... if it's a chimney there should be a negative draft in the smoke pipe. If he still smells oil or combustion there's still something wrong and needs to call the company and request someone else. I suspect nothing was done except for a filter and nozzle change.
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Old 01-25-2022, 02:16 PM   #96
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Dead River and Fred Fuller were two of them. Another was the company that Fred Fuller bought out which I can't remember their name. They all did perfectly fine and systems never failed. Couple old quacks now and then.

Rhymes just bought Fred Fuller.
I've had furnace cleanings from AD&G, Dead River, Kidder, and a small local company. I never saw or heard of these printouts.
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Old 01-25-2022, 03:09 PM   #97
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I've had furnace cleanings from AD&G, Dead River, Kidder, and a small local company. I never saw or heard of these printouts.
In all our years with Fuller, every year we got a new large tag that had all the "pertinent info" handwritten on it. In the past year or two, Eastern has left a printout.

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Old 01-25-2022, 08:42 PM   #98
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You are correct... if it's a chimney there should be a negative draft in the smoke pipe. If he still smells oil or combustion there's still something wrong and needs to call the company and request someone else. I suspect nothing was done except for a filter and nozzle change.
So tell her who you work for and she will know what company to call for service.
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Old 01-25-2022, 11:54 PM   #99
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I have two service calls on my bill now: annual cleaning plus 2nd visit when the smoke odor continued. Doesn't it seem like I should call back the same company and get them to fix the problem, instead of calling another company? And get the flue pipe replaced right away? I emailed the service manager a few days ago; no reply. I'll call again tomorrow.
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Old 01-26-2022, 12:07 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by SailinAway View Post
I have two service calls on my bill now: annual cleaning plus 2nd visit when the smoke odor continued. Doesn't it seem like I should call back the same company and get them to fix the problem, instead of calling another company? And get the flue pipe replaced right away? I emailed the service manager a few days ago; no reply. I'll call again tomorrow.
You can try the same company. But they shouldn’t charge you dime. Or if they do need to replace something it better be a money back guarantee. Tell them it’s unacceptable and you will find someone else if they can’t.

I doubt replacing that pipe will solve it so I would not focus on that to much.

They should know the root cause and not guessing.
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