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soot

Mark Hunt
Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
How old is the duct system?

Was the duct system sealed?

The return air ducting on your system(s) does not pick where the air comes from. If you have leaky return ducting, it is drawing air from the places it travels through. If the ducting is in the basement, then it is drawing air from there. If you have mold issues in the basement, then the ducting acts as a highway for the mold spores.

I would be willing to bet this is the case. You are drawing air from the basement.

Mark H

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Comments

  • aldo_2
    aldo_2 Member Posts: 7
    what looks like soot

    Oil boiler, good draft, no puff back problem.two zone heat system, first and second floors. System piped to two seperate air handlers with ac coils.We just had to replace the rugs (both floors), clean all walls, all done by professional company. The filters in both air handlers were jet black, but no smell of oil.This happened a few weeks ago (heating season).As I said the boiler checked out fine, good draft, and no soot on boiler.No candles where being used.
    Does anyone know what could have caused this problem?
  • aldo_2
    aldo_2 Member Posts: 7
    soot

    the return air is taken from the i
    first floor, even though the air handler is in the basement. the return for the second floor is taken from the second floor air space.I've heard that if the high limit is to high , like 220 degrees ,then it can cause this problem. And the duct work is insulated.This baffels me .
  • aldo_2
    aldo_2 Member Posts: 7
    soot

    the system is two years old . Both air handlers were causing this soot problem.
  • aldo_2
    aldo_2 Member Posts: 7
    soot

    Come on guys, I need your help. I've seen this problem before and I dont know why it happens. Lets solve this problem, I'm sure its everywere and no one can solve it.
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Aldo


    If the duct is not sealed and I do not mean insulated, the return will pull air in from everywhere. ANY gap or opening on the return duct sucks air in. Filter openings on the system are a HUGE source for this.

    The systems are sucking air from areas OTHER than the house.

    Put a duct blaster on the systems. I bet you are amazed at how much air is being pulled from and blown into the basement. Does not matter where the return grills are.

    Mark H

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  • aldo_2
    aldo_2 Member Posts: 7
    duct blaster

    Mark , What is a duct blaster ?
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    It is


    a piece of testing equipment that allows you to test how tight your duct system is. Like a blower door test for duct systems.

    I have tested hundreds of systems and I can count on one hand the number that were even close to being tight.

    Mark H

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  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Vent?

    Perhaps you have a vent leakage where some of the flue product is being brought back into the conditioned space. And, what is the soot level on the heat exchanger, vent connector and vent/chimney? Is the soot coming out of the barometric damper. And, we had one where a diesel pickup idled in an attached garage. For us it's usually candles or oil lamps. Good luck.
  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931
    duct testing

    A duct blaster is a good way to go . Also alot can be learned from using a blower door infiltrometer and a flow hood to calculate leakage and see where it came from. we use this method i prefer it because with the infiltrometer you can look at the whole house.
    I concur with others the first place i'd be looking aside from the boiler is the ductwork . Does this house have a powerventer , wood stove , or fireplace??? all can be affected by the ductwork.

    Example we fixed a hydro air system that looked ok all was insulated we discovered that the return duct that went up through the garrage cieling was attatched to NOTHING the entire garrage cieling was the return, no wonder the house smelled like car exhaust.

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  • Bob Harper
    Bob Harper Member Posts: 1,026
    insurance

    Call your insurance company. They will pay for the clean up and if need be hire professionals to come in and determine the source. If you don't determine the source, what's to keep it from re-appearing? Once the source has been determined, let them duke it out with the ones responsible through subrogation. Meanwhile, you get your house back and don't have to worry about it. All you're out is your deductible.

    HTH
  • tim_38
    tim_38 Member Posts: 2


    do you have fresh air or combustion air to your boiler?
  • aldo_2
    aldo_2 Member Posts: 7
    more info

    the boiler is vented through an interior masonary chimney.Combustion air is taken from the cellar, more than enough air.The house has a stone foundation (old) and plenty of air leaks in.
    I believe it is a mold problem now that I've heard your comments.I'll seal the duct pipe and see how that works.The same problem exist in the second floor air handler (soiled rugs and walls), but that air handler is in the attic above the top floor bedrooms,accessed by pull down stairs.Any more thought on this?? THANKS
  • Rusty Powers
    Rusty Powers Member Posts: 30
    soot

    Get a sample of the soot to a lab and spend the $400 for a test. I did that 6 years ago on a similar job, turned out to be parafin based soot......candles after all, and the tenant SWORE they were barely used. I counted 32 on my initial inspection....

    Rusty

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This discussion has been closed.