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furnace smell problems

Any chance of condensate leaking on to the heat exchanger? That would definitely give an acid smell. Just a thought.
Rick in Alaska


  • wendy whitcombwendy whitcomb Member Posts: 17
    furnace smell problems?

    i have been having a furnace smell problem?i have had the installer out a few times and they assure me that its not carbon manoxide or natural gas,but whatever it is it makes your lips burn,your eyes burn,it gives you a nasty taste in your mouth,it make you sick to your stomache and lightheaded feeling,too name a one seems too be able too figure out what it is,and i know its something!it seems too get worse when the heater clicks on and then halfway through the blower cycle starts too let up some.does anyone have any ideas?please help.
  • EdEd Member Posts: 284

    Did they test for carbon monoxide? Do you have a CO sensor/alarm? Maybe you need to call someone else......
    A CERTIFIED gasfitter/service tech.
  • EdEd Member Posts: 284

    Did they test for carbon monoxide? Do you have a CO sensor/alarm? Maybe you need to call someone else......
    A CERTIFIED gasfitter/service tech.
  • MitchMitch Member Posts: 955
    sounds to me

    like your chimney is plugged...Get another PRO out there IMMEDIATELY and a CO alarm, if you can shut it down, the smell sounds like aldehydes a by product of flame impingement, and an indication of CO production.

    In any case a serieous problem. If you have a gas water heater, the burners a re known for being buried in scale. Have the ENTIRE system checked including the vent
  • WeezboWeezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    not a good thing.

    you need a second opinion. to day. i have passed out in schock from the stuff ,so ,let me assure you it is not a i 'll get a round to it type thing.*~/:)
  • S EbelsS Ebels Member Posts: 2,322

    You need to find a technician that has a digital combustion analyzer. PRONTO! It sounds to me as though you have a Carbon Monoxide problem. This could be caused by a great number of things so it's mandatory to have someone with the correct gear to check it out.

    For your own safety and health, don't delay and don't stay in the house until you have it resolved.
  • wendy whitcombwendy whitcomb Member Posts: 17
    furnace smell problems?

    i do have 2 manoxide detectors and ive had the furnace co.out five times(the 3rd and 5 time they found gas leaks)and assured me they were fixed.they found no carbon manoxide.not trusting them?i had the gas company out twice and he told me there were no more gas leaks and he detected no carbon manoxide.he did get the awful taste in his mouth,and the burning in his eyes ,but said he had no idea what it was-only that it wasnt gas or carbon manoxide? has anyone come across this problem?
  • Dave DeFordDave DeFord Member Posts: 57
    Not an expert..

    but are there any laundry chemicals (bleach etc.) that may be open and evaporating into the air or has anything else changed in the house or neighborhood around the time you started noticing this problem?
  • wendy whitcombwendy whitcomb Member Posts: 17

    not to my knowledge,i've checked everywhere and cannot find anything else that could be causing is the worse when the furnace runs.i had both the furnace and hot water tank installed about 4 months ago and i first noticed it really bad about 6 weeks ago.the funace is a 90+m3rl high efficent/direct vent condesing downflow furnace which has a sealed combustion unit and the hot water heater also has a sealed combustion unit.which they have told me cannot let any fumes in. but i know there is someting coming in from somewhere and again its worse when the furnace first kicks on and through the blower cycle and then starts to decrease, but theres always the symptoms metioned earlier,just worse when it runs?
  • Ken D.Ken D. Member Posts: 820

    To be safe, you should get your local Fire Dept. inspector out to recheck for gasses. Does this smell like someting burning? Perhaps something got sucked in through the blower and is laying on the heat exchanger and is giving off odors when unit is hot. This is not a normal condition. If this is a condensing furnace, perhaps the secondary heat exchanger is blocked, causing higher stack temperatures along with some outgassing of the materials in the furnace and exhaust construction. Maybe some of the insulation has fallen down and is touching the heat exchanger. Burning sensations also sound like an acid condition. Possibly a chemical reaction with something. Make a BIG issue of it. Get the manufacturer and authorities involved. What you don't know can hurt you.
  • wendy whitcombwendy whitcomb Member Posts: 17

    it doesnt have a smell at all to it just the taste and eye irratants and all the other syptoms like manoxide poising but what u say makes sense cause at times it does have a acidy or sulfuric type taste or even like a car exhaust type taste?like a chemical reaction?i did get ahold of the local enery division and health inspectors which have agreed to come out on fri. thanks again for your input.hopefully i get some answers me i have been making alot of noise in all directions and i dont plan on stoping until i get answers.i have a twelve year old son with a heart condition and i beleive you when you say what i dont know can hurt us, thats what ive been trying to tell everyone..thanks again.
  • MitchMitch Member Posts: 549

    What type of water heater most are not sealed combustion just a power vent, how close are the vents from the water heater to the furnace outside. Has anyone used a digital analizer capable of other gases than co. You could have products of combustion that will not set of a co alarm allot of digital analyzers also check o2 and co2.

    What vent material did they use is it pvc did they glue it properly. Did they test it for leaks. Are they sure the combustion chamber is sealed I have seen several units that were sealed combustion that had been compromised. Have you or the installer contacted the manufacturers rep.

    Were is the smell more, in the furnace room or in the house can you isolate the location.

    Mitch S.
  • dondon Member Posts: 199

    Have you techs tried running the furnace with out the unit being fired ?

    By running the blower that circulates the air in the home only it will help you pin down the problem.

    In other words. If the problem is still present you have something wrong other then a combustion source problem


  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,173

    I think Rick's onto someing... Is the condensate drain actually hooked up and working? Sounds like condensate is being evaporated on start-up.

    Yours, Larry
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 1,995
    90 plus gas ?

    What model furnace is this ,and find out if this a multi pose unit that can be used in a vert or hortizontal postion if so i would check to make sure that the extra exhaust and intake postion are capped ,also check all the glue joints and outside termation kit .I would also check to see if there is a factory condensate trap tyipcally installed by the installer ,Are the exhausting pipes the correct distance from windows ,doors and other exhausting applainces and are ther any fresh air intake ducts close to the units exhaust .If the promblems is still occurring i would cut a access and visual check the primary and secondary heat exchangers before i would also check the return air duct connection you may be pulling in combustion gases through the return from another gas fired applaince are the return ducts large enough for the units rated cfm's and finally is there a return grill cut into any of the duct work in the mechincal room or basement .I know alot of questions sorry but there would be less if any of us where there face to face looking at it .peace and good luck clammy
  • mickeymickey Member Posts: 13

    Does this unit have a variable speed motor? The fact that the smell starts with the blower and lessens the longer the unit runs might indicate that the motor has a start up problem. You could be smelling windings burning. also not a good thing to breathe. I would insist that the manufacturer's rep come out. Good luck
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 1,995
    good thought

    good suggestion mickey didn't even think of it .I will have to remenber that may be to high a staic on the retrun side may a amp reading on that blower of course with the door on yes
  • rotoductrotoduct Member Posts: 1
    Duct Work

    Have you had your duct work inspected? While remote, it is possible that someone left something in the duct work while working on the system. I once had an "Burning My Eyes" call and after a video inspection of the heat exchanger and all the duct work, I found a 3lb can of Flux laying in one of the vents. Most Duct cleaning companies do charge a minimal fee for the inspection, but even if after you have the inspection done and you find no such items in your duct work, at least you know what is in there.
  • wendy whitcombwendy whitcomb Member Posts: 17

    it starts when the furnace first clicks on(heater) even before the blower motor starts so i dont think its the blower motor
  • wendy whitcombwendy whitcomb Member Posts: 17

    i,m going to print out everyones suggestions and when the insp. come on fri or possibly a new heat contractor today. i'm going to make sure that they check each one out.thanks again with everyone help on trying to get to the bottom of this problem.
  • wendy whitcombwendy whitcomb Member Posts: 17
    still having problems?

    does anyone know of a good heating contractor in the mauston,wi area?the insp.didn't give much light on my situation i think they had their minds made up before they came because they are assoc. with the installers.they said my new oven/burners were giving off manoxide that i need to get that serviced but i've only used that once since installed so i know thats not the only source,but i know its something.they really did'nt want to discuss the postings,or check any of the possibilities mentioned,so now where do i go from here?this system around here is the craziest i've ever encountered.there has to be someone that can help.this all started after i had the furnace and hot water tank installed so i know it has something to do with one of them,its now just getting someone to listen.
  • MitchMitch Member Posts: 549
    Manufacturers rep.

    Did you have the rep of the company that made the furnace come out yet and see the install.

    Have you tryed running the unit on fan only to see if there is a smell with no ignition.

    Mitch S.
  • JimGPEJimGPE Member Posts: 29

    Good suggestion - fan only, no heat. Still smell?
  • John H.John H. Member Posts: 38
    Condensing unit.

    Look into the furnace trap to make shure it is installed correctly and has water in it. Sometimes they are on the positive side of the vent system.
  • Ken D.Ken D. Member Posts: 820

    You have gotten some good advice here. If you suspect some sort of collusion between the installer and inspector, call the manufacturer. The major mfgs. are usually pretty good at handling technical complaints. Threaten to call the EPA and/or the state enviromemtal dept. if you have to. If no satisfaction, do exactly that. I really don't think this is something that can't be fixed.
    There probably is a top notch company that will do a job for you around your area. Research and call them. You may have to pay more, but you get what you pay for.
  • JW222JW222 Member Posts: 1
    Fighting same problems / Sick for years

    I have 5 Ruud UGRA 90 units in my house.  One or two of them appear to evaporation the flu condensate instead of draining it.  It can be a very subtle and faint odor that others many not notice.  I have been exposed for years and been very sick over the whole winters.  We did 2 mold checks and a bunch of medical test done with no help.  The last cold spell we had in the NW 3-4 weeks ago stressed because a couple of units were down, putting the full cold weather demands on  two units working around the clock.

    I got super sick with huge headache for a couple of weeks before I started looking into HVAC system,  I start getting sick within a few minutes, others that havn't been around may notice

    I have mostly torn apart to access the system down to look for leeak.  We have seen some irregularities but no smoking bullet, showing the problem.
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