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Smell in room over boiler?

paul12345 Member Posts: 2

I have a oil fired New Yorker boiler that does our hot water and baseboard radiators.

Since about February, we have been noticing a smell in the room over the boiler. I think it can best be described as a burning metallic smell. It does not present itself every time the boiler fires, but I seem to smell it more often now than I used to. Walking through the room disturbs it enough that you lose track of the scent. The smell is not centered in the room over the boiler; we seem to smell it right in the doorway, but more and more I think it may actually be coming from over the boiler and the air just settles in the corner by the door because of the way the room is shaped. I am not 100% sure but I think the smell actually comes up after the boiler shuts down.

I do not smell it anywhere near the boiler downstairs.

The fuel oil company has been out three times in the past six weeks to look at the problem and adjust the heater. A chimney company was brought out, identified cracks in the chimney liner, and the chimney was relined. The problem persists. After the latest adjustment from the fuel oil company, after the new liner, the smell went away for three days but came back.

There are attic hatches in the same room. I have sealed those, no difference.

Any advice? Half the people I talk to say, well, heaters smell, and the other half are like me and think there's a problem.




  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    sounds like

    It may have burnt thru the back or sides. Have the chamber checked, and look at the boiler jacket for signs of heat damage. Those are dry base steel boilers, and are prone to that.
  • JOE_104
    JOE_104 Member Posts: 15

    maybe the baffles are missing high stack temperature.insuficent combustion air to boiler room
  • R Mannino
    R Mannino Member Posts: 440
    My Guess

    is plugged or partially plugged chimney base or flue.
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    Is it a fairly new boiler ?

    We install the New Yorker steel base boiler from time to time . The boiler gives off a fairly pungent odor until the chamber breaks in . On a few occasions the boiler keeps giving off the odor for months .

    If it's an older version , I'd guess like the other gents  and say it's plugged or maybe burning through . What model NYer do you have ?
  • paul12345
    paul12345 Member Posts: 2
    it's old

    No, it's older, an S176AP. I have no idea how old but I would guess old enough to fail.

    I asked the heater guy about a burn through and he said he would be able to tell from the numbers he got when he adjusted it, is that true? Can't see anything amiss from the outside.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    that thing

    gives low #'s anyway, so trying to tell if you have a crack or hole somewhere by testing will probably not get an answer for you or them. Nothing beats the good ole eyeball, or feeling the jacket when it's firing. One visit is all it should be taking. Possibly time to call in someone else. All else fails, they should pull the burner, after they have taken a breech draft reading, and see what's there, or maybe not there.  peace
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    if you can get the test results, post them here. Many pros here that could tell if the readings are acceptable. The nozzle rating on the label, and what is installed would also be good to know. Over or underfired could be an issue
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,696
    edited April 2010
    Burn Through

    All you need to do is check the outer jacket . A burn through sigh would be burnt jacket paint ...

    On a call of yours you need to be a detective ... It can be anything in that room ... Light fixture , controls , cord less drill charging on the bench , pumps , motors , transformers , power supplies , strip outlets , smoke pipe sealing tape , smoke and carbon monoxide detectors , radios and TV. improper boiler room make up air .

    When I come on a service call like yours it can be tricky and you need to have an open mind , it can be anything.... As you mentioned you have a few minutes to find the general location until you get use to the smell. Walk back outside to clear your nose then return . Narrow it down to the general area ... You mention the smell is up stairs in the room above ... If it came from the boiler room ,it would carry the same scent down there ... Crank up the thermostat to see if its stronger then .... Did anyone drop anything in to the base board radiation ? Could it be a wall outlet ? Feel for heat on the covers .. Is there aluminum wiring in the house ? The connections loosen up ... Old electric wall clocks . Even some of the old clock thermostats that ran off a power supply could heat up too much . Do you have hard wired smoke detectors ? Check the one in the room ... Is there a fireplace ? Using a joint chimney ? is the smell concentrated around there ?
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
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