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Help!! Strong Oil Smell

jpmyers15jpmyers15 Member Posts: 2
This morning, our heating oil tank was completely empty.  We can usually go 2-3 months on 100 gallons of heating oil, but we ran out much sooner than usual.  The temperature on the thermostat went down to 57 degrees as of 1pm today.  I left work early, called to schedule an oil delivery but they couldn't make it till Tuesday.  I stopped at a gas station and purchased 5 gallons of heating oil.  Took the oil home, poured it into the tank, then went through a short process to release air from the tank.  During this process, oil sprayed out onto the floor.  I cleaned it up as best I could, then hit the reset button to fire up the heater.

From the very beginning, there was a strong oil smell in the entire house.  Not so much in the basement where the oil tank and furnace are located.  I thought it would go away if I opened windows and left for a few hours, but it did not and when the heat comes on, it keeps the smell going.  Overall, after running out of oil, the furnace must have been off for several hours.  Can someone please tell me if this smell could be caused by a problem with the furnace or simply from the spilled oil?  I was just told to put some baby powder on the oil stains and any remnants of the oil spill, so I did that just a few minutes ago.  Please someone help!


  • jpmyers15jpmyers15 Member Posts: 2
    one more thing

    Wanted to mention also that I turned our dehumidifier on about 15 minutes ago to try to help dry up any remaining spilled oil.  It's possible that there could be some oil still under the furnace but I cannot get to it if there is.

    The heat still comes on just fine, it's just that it makes the house smell strongly of oil
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    Odor Kill

    I use the powder with speed-e-dry for any small spills, and for customers that complain about the smell I use the solid air freshener and for houses where the smell has made it into the living space, I use the spray...

    about half way down the page, you can get it at any plumbing heating supply store, remicheals, sid harvey, johnstone ect...
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Odor B Gone:

    From what you have described, you should be having your friendly oil service person looking at your problem. You shouldn't be getting any oil smells and not be seeing where it is coming from. If you have oil supply lines that go from the tank to the burner, that go under a concrete floor, they could be leaking under the floor and that is where the smell is coming from. If you have a warm air heating system, there could be other problems and the smell is being circulated through out the building.

    It doesn't take much leaked oil on the floor to make the house smell like the Exxon Valdez Tanker in Alaska. But your comment of higher than expected fuel use is troubling. You need an experienced oil person to look at your situation..

    Why and how did you get oil spilled in the house when you bought fuel at a service station and poured it into the tank? Did you remove a plug from an inside tank and pour it in from inside the house? If you filled it from outside, you shouldn't have gotten oil inside the house if everything was tight.

    Something is missing in this equation.
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991

    I think he spilt it while priming the pump, is my understanding...
  • Pughie1Pughie1 Member Posts: 116
    kitty litter

    Spread it over the spill & rub it in
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Split what?

    Split what?

    He said that he ran out prematurely. He poured oil into the tank and did something like purged the pump. I doubt a DIY would have a piece of hose to put on the bleeder and if he did, he is probably well experienced at doing it. How many people do you know that would go to the gas station and get a few 5 gallon cans of road diesel and pour it into the oil tank. He either opened the tank in the basement or poured it into the outside fill. Like I have done.

    If he leaked oil while purging the pump, he probably knew to drain it into a container but with no hose, he might have gotten some on the floor.

    His concern was that he ran out faster than he was normally expecting to. I asked where the oil line went and if it was under the floor. Does he have an oil leak under the floor? I wonder.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Grease Sweep:

    I always use Grease Sweep sold at auto supply houses. It works well. I recently was out of Grease Sweep so I used some kind of "Kitty Litter". Although both are based on Diatomacious Earth, it barely worked.
  • pipekingpipeking Member Posts: 252
    if its a small spot

    the best way is to spray brake cleaner on the floor and wipe it up, then repeat a few times.
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991

    I thought he was wondering how to get the oil smell out, hence the title of his post...
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    That may be the smell:

    That may be the smell but is the "furnace" that must have run for a long time, a warm air furnace or a hot water boiler? Did a WA furnace circulate the oil smell throughout the house? Did the "furnace" not lock out the burner and the motor and pump continued to run and drained the tank?

    I was just wondering if it ran out prematurly because of an un noticed oil leak. It wouldn't be the first time that happened.
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    Not sure where the op is

    but I know around here it has been a brutal winter, I ran out of propane for the first time in umm Ever, I have oil and coal systems as well as heat pump outdoor units, so I still have heat, but I have noticed a lot more customers running out of fuel than usual...
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    he said  "from the very beginning, there was a strong oil smell in the entire house". Sounds like a leak somewhere. We need more info.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Strong Smells

    My first point exactly.
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