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New Weil-McLain EG / PEG Series 5 Boiler Install - It Stinks (Literally)

alheim Member Posts: 68
edited December 2015 in Strictly Steam
A family member in Wayne, PA had a local plumber install a new boiler in February of this year. She paid a pretty penny for the work. She says the plumber was a certified Weil-McLain guy. Now, almost a year later, she says that the boiler consistently emits a bad smell. Another family confirmed that smell exists, and both say that the smell is hard to describe.

Another plumber came to inspect and found no issues, but, against her will, he supposedly added some sort of scent additive to the system. This sounds like a stop-gap at best, and she was unhappy with the new smell, and with the idea of getting unknown chemicals in her air. (The artificial smell has since dissipated.)

The smell wafts from the basement to the upper floors. They leave two windows open in the basement to help air it out.

Now, I'm not much of a steam guy, but I can't imagine what would cause the problem. My guess is a small steam leak that nobody has found, with stink due to dirty, sludge-filled piping & rads.

The old boiler didn't smell. Any ideas?

Or, does anyone want to suggest a plumber in the Wayne, PA area?

Links to a few photos below. Cheers.






    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,750
    Are there air vents on each radiator?

    Is the smell always present in the basement or just when the boiler fires?

    Have dry floor drains and any other drain piping been checked for sewer gas.......it comes in many varieties of aromas.

    More pictures of the boiler that include all piping from floor to ceiling would show the competence of the installer. He did install a skim port which is a good indicator that he is reading the book.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    edited December 2015
    It is good to see the skimming port on a new install, but was the boiler ever skimmed?
    The water feeder meter does not show a large amount of water has been added, because of a steam leak.
    I see a "ring around the tub" in the sight glass, which would indicate to me the need for more skimming, which should be done several times with several hours per skim.
    Do a search here for skimming for a more complete description, of this which you can do yourself.--NBC
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,329
    Has anyone checked the gas input rate, to see that it's not over-fired?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • alheim
    alheim Member Posts: 68
    edited December 2015
    Thank you for the input. I will try to get a photo of the whole system. Good points re: gas input rate, skimming, sewer gas leaks. We will look into it.

    Theoretically: assume that there is no steam leak (water feeder meter shows a consistent & low number.) Also assume that the system has not been thoroughly skimmed, and there is excess oil in / on the water. Now, if there is no leak, where could the smell be escaping from, even if it is an oil-based smell? Maybe a very slow leak that stinks "just enough" to be an issue.

    I found another thread where a couple posters got rid of smells by skimming - and lots of it: forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/117519/new-steam-boiler-flushed-but-still-smells-please-help
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    The smell would escape from any main vents that might be on the mains/returns or any radiator vents if this is a one pipe system. Even if they were to seal 100% , which many are not fully air tight, those vents are 100% open until steam hits them and closes them.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,750
    Did the smell start last Feb. when new installation was done?
    Is the smell worse when the boiler is firing or is it always in the basement?

    It looks like the system is not using water, meaning there is probably not a steam/water leak..........But everytime it shuts off the pipes fill with air and everytime it comes on that air is expelled thru main vents in the basement and perhaps from the radiator vents if they have them......oil mixed with hot steamy water can smell pretty raunchy. This aroma could escape the vents as it comes on. As you have learned that skimming the oil off the top of the boiler is a necessary process. Draining and refilling will not get the oil out as it clings to the inside as the water goes down.
  • Stop leak chemicals have a very bad smell, but i can't think why they would have been used with a new boiler.
    My guess of the cause, is the need for skimming, and the lack of main venting, throwing all the smelly air removal into the rooms, by way of the radiator vents.--NBC
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Have they tried draining the boiler down and refilling it with fresh water? The water coming out might yeild a clue as to the source of the odor. If it is drained down the boiler should be brought up to steam after it's filled to drive off the oxygen in the fresh water.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge