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Oil smell

BrianBrian Member Posts: 7
I ran my AC during some unusually warm days recently, and noticed an oil odor coming through the vents. Upon entering the furnace room, the odor was also quite strong.

Any thoughts on what could be causing this?

I have a 3 year old Thermopride OH6 downdraft furnace with the Beckett burner. The furnace is located in an unheated utility room that is approximately 10x15 feet in size.

A second question that I have is whether or not this unit can be set up to directly receive combustion air from outdoors. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.


  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 1,542

    Since it's a furnace we have to assume the burner not running, so that rules out combustion odors. Is there an oil fired water heater in the same room? That could be the source.

    Or it could be an oil leak that has gotten into the unit or duct work. Wouldn't hurt to have a professional check it out.

    As far as fresh air goes, here in CT it isn't code to have outside air connected directly to a unit. We in the Fan In A Can made by Field Controls. They work pretty well for us.
  • BrianBrian Member Posts: 7
    Oil smell

    Thank you for your reply. Yes there is an oil fired water in there as well. I have suspected that there may be a lack of combustion air in the room, so I suppose the odor must be from the water heater. I hope that there is a solution that does not require a permanent vent to the outside to provide air. Even though the room is unheated, I use it as a workshop and I would like to keep it from becoming too cold in the winter.
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 1,542

    Is this room off your basement, or another part of the house? You could replace the door to the room with a louvered door to let air in. 
  • BrianBrian Member Posts: 7
    Oil smell

    It is actually a room that is attached to the main house, but the only access is from outside. So, there is no way to vent  air into the room other than from outdoors. I guess the fan in the can may be the only solution. 
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 1,542

    On the good side, it only runs when one of the units is running. Make sure it's wired to come on if either unit fire.
  • BrianBrian Member Posts: 7

    Thank you very much for your input. It is certainly appreciated,
  • Mac_RMac_R Member Posts: 117
    Oil Smell

    Take a paper towel to the pumps and nozzle line.  If you get red then you might have a leak.  Some times you can get a little seepage from the oil filter where the cup meets the top.  If the cup did not seal correctly it could drip.  Also check anywhere there is a flair connection.  Is your oil line under the concrete or is it above the floor? 

    Combustion air.  Nothing but a fan in a can will beat getting outside air connected to the burners.  The fan in a can is nice.  However there is more electrical connections and more chance to go wrong.  With the outdoor air kit for the Beckett AFG there are no moving parts.  The burner kicks on and it sucks air from outside.  No additional motors or wires.  I would run outdoor air to both units.  You need roughly 50Cf of air per 1,000BTU input.  So something burning at 1 gallon per hour you need 7,000Cf of air for that hour.  You also need to replace that air so you can burn another hour.  So you see these units require a lot of air.  It will also help to reduce any infiltration caused by the burners pulling the room or the house into a negative pressure.  One good way to tell if you have enough air to burn.  Look around the smoke pipe.  If there is soot around the smoke pipe from the draft regulator or other openings.  Chances are you do not have enough air to burn.  Outside air is always a good thing. 
  • BrianBrian Member Posts: 7
    Combustion air

    Thanks for the advice. I would prefer to use this method to get air to the burners. The way our Thermopride pulls air, I am certain that I am not getting enough replacement air.

    As far as the oil smell is concerned, that has disappeared as mysteriously as it started. I followed your suggestion and did not find any leaks. The fuel line is above ground leading from the outside tank, and the line looks good. I'll just wait and see what happens.

    Again, thank you very much for your help.
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