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Steam radiators painted with aluminum paint, giving off noxious odor

tastyetastye Posts: 6Member
I painted 3 of the radiators in my house 2 weeks ago, I used Diamond Brite Aluminum paint, actual aluminum suspended in a liquid. When I try to heat the house, the fumes are so that it hurts my throat. Initially I tried a short high burn. It was bad. I called the paint company they said that that the new coat of paint was reacting to the paint that was already on the radiators. He said not to burn it off, but to leave my heat of for as long as possible, eventually the smell would go away. I've been living in a 45 degree house for 2 weeks. Keep trying the heat, it keeps smelling. I've talked to a couple radiator experts, none of them have heard of this solution. I would really rather not remove the 3 large radiators for sandblasting. It's going to be a little warmer here on Friday, do I crank up the heat, open the windows and go for the burn off? Is there something I can use to remove the paint, or put a new coat on? It's getting to the point that is uncomfortable to live.
Thanks.

Comments

  • FredFred Posts: 6,940Member
    Usually the heat, over a couple of weeks will cure the paint and the smell will diminish. I've never heard of not heating them. I suppose they will eventually cure but I would think it would take much longer. I used a latex paint on my radiators. No smell at all. Was the paint you used rated for high temp? The aluminum probably is not a problem but what is in the solution that it is suspended in? I wonder if there is a high temp clear coat that you could try on one of those radiators and see if that seals the smell in.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,906Member
    Oops... Diamond Brite Aluminium oil specialty products? Frankly, not a good choice.

    For two reasons:

    first, if this really is what you used, it's an oil base paint not intended for high temperature use. I can't tell you what will be given off as it heats -- I can't seem to find a SDS sheet for it -- but I doubt very much that it's good. Further, your only hope is to let it cure -- completely -- at low (i.e. room) temperatures, and that may take several weeks to several months before outgassing at high temperature isn't a problem. Heating it won't help.

    second, the use of this paint (or any other with metallic finish) will reduce the heat output of the radiator substantially -- 30 to 40 percent, minimum. Is this what you intended?

    The paint company's claim that it is because of a reaction with the underlying paint is hogwash...

    It is remotely possible that sealing it with a shellac base primer, such as Zinsser's Bin, might seal the surface enough; their Rust-Oleum automotive primer might also work. It would be a long shot, and neither might adhere all that well.

    The alternative is, yeah, take them out, sand blast them and then, since they are out, powder coat.

    As @Fred noted, for future reference, I and a number of other folks have used high quality acrylic house paints, such as Benjamin Moore's Aura, with excellent results. Besides, they match the walls or the trim...
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • tastyetastye Posts: 6Member
    @Jamie Hall Thank you for your response. Seems like I'm screwed for the next, who knows how long. I used the Diamond Brite, because I've used it before, 15 years ago, I do not remember this horrible smell. On the can it say, great for radiators. I had no idea about the heat output, I like the look of silver radiators. I'm not really in a position to haul 200+ radiators, I'll try to stick it out.
    Also, I read that the last coat of paint on a radiator is the only one that has an appreciable effect. Maybe in a week or so I can try repainting one white? I'm in a pickle.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,906Member
    tastye said:

    ...
    Also, I read that the last coat of paint on a radiator is the only one that has an appreciable effect. Maybe in a week or so I can try repainting one white? I'm in a pickle.

    Quite true.

    I think that what I might try is to take a smallish area of one radiator and see if Zinsser's B-I-N will hold on it. That stuff is shellac based, and has a pretty good record for adhesion. It also has a good record for blocking odours. If it holds, you can then put almost anything else you like over it (as I say, I use Benjamin Moore Aura, but Sherwin Williams and Behr have very good acrylics as well).

    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • tastyetastye Posts: 6Member
    Thank you. I plan on stopping by BM today, talking to the folks there.
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 796Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Here are some more tips on painting radiators: https://heatinghelp.com/blog/how-to-paint-an-old-radiator/
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • tastyetastye Posts: 6Member
    It's been weeks, they still smell. The paint company recommends removing the paint with acetone. Does this sound right to anyone?
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,906Member
    Acetone just may be the only thing that will get it off, short of sand blasting. But... acetone can only be used in a fume hood or other setting where there is superb ventilation. Never in an occupied space.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • FredFred Posts: 6,940Member
    I would also be concerned about any residual acetone off-gassing when the radiator heats back up. It is going to take a very good cleaning before repainting them. If the acetone isn't completely removed, any paint applied on top of it will likely remain tacky. I don't know if acetone is water soluble so do some research before washing them down. I almost feel like painting over them, with an appropriate paint, may seal the odors from this aluminum paint in and solve the problem.
  • Jim_RJim_R Posts: 204Member
    All catch 22 situations.. all dangerous, maybe you might be better off being cold for a while longer .
    Ok gracie that won't work will it ? Are they large Radiators with large Fins and you put it on heavy ? to cover in one coat and a little or alot randown the inside fins when you were getting the top sections really good ? Could you get a penlight and mirror to see if you have any globs thats pooled up because that will never dry and you can use a metal clothes hanger to scrape the globs and blobs up ..put a newspaper under the Radiators.. did you do every nook and cranny ? More work for you then.. is it tacky ? No ? Push harder . is it tacky now ?
    44 degrees and baked 2-3 times with Steam or Hot water ?
    I can't find a SDS either and find it hard to believe it's being sold without something available online..
    I wouldn't want to be breathing that in even unheated in a a enclosed area freshly painted all winter..
    Choices are few.. depending on your answers and don't be touching those things without nitrle gloves.. Any pets or children absolutely shouldn't be living there.. questionable about you.. .. This is too much responsibility .. I'd say get out and get tested, bring the can of paint and let someone else decide.. It's not like it's from Sherwin Williams .. What were you thinking ? Those companies need to get you answers .. I'm out.. you have decide yourself.. I'm not help you hurt yourself..
    Jim .. don't take no for a answer
  • tastyetastye Posts: 6Member
    @Jim_R , it's steam heat. They are slightly tacky when warm.


    I'd say get out and get tested, bring the can of paint and let someone else decide.. It's not like it's from Sherwin Williams .. What were you thinking ? Those companies need to get you answers .. I'm out.. you have decide yourself.. I'm not help you hurt yourself..
    Jim .. don't take no for a answer
    What should I get tested? I was thinking that I like the look of silver radiators, and I've used this paint in the past without this problem.

  • Jim_RJim_R Posts: 204Member
    What's up with your priorities ? Between your first post about this 3 weeks ? ago and a coincidentally timed similarly worded one https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/editor/rd/yg8sl09nhrbo.jpg
    which the last comment bears a striking familiarity..
    What have you done timeline 3-5 weeks since this started ?
    You called the company and spoke to ? whoever answered the phone 3 week's ago and they told you to run the heat as long as you can take the smell but don't "burn" it off ? I'd assume that was meant while (in my area at least) while it was still above freezing... and most likely with evey window open and multiple fans sucking and blowing the fumes out of the house, flat, studio or whatever... But for some reason you didn't or couldn't and now 3 weeks later your realizing paint doesn't cure well on cast iron below 40 degrees.. Have you been turning the heat up just until they start getting warm and turn the heat off so they don't stink ? Are there any others radiators perhaps that you didn't paint ? If so do the valves close on the painted ones ? Can you close them and turn the heat on and see if they keep the radiators from getting stinky ? If they can then maybe you can try opening one valve a bit for some heat to get inside but not until it gets Stinky.. you don't want to be getting the radiators hot inside without the outside getting the heat also as the paint will not dry under the skin which is the Sticky feeling when you press on the paint.. you would want it to run longer not as hot to get stinky thah shorter and hotter..and you would want to aim a fan above the top of the radiator to blow the air fumes towards a window with a good fan facing out.. not in.. don't try all 3 Radiators at once . Start with one.. but first you have to close the three vavles to see if they reduce the steam below stinky.. and obviously it would be best to get them all very warm for as long as possible and try not let them get cold with the windows open and fans blowing... If you make it anywhere near being able to do this chime back in.. but watching paint dry for 3 weeks.. I think your tired of the cold.. check back in. ... Turn off the Valves first and see what you have ( turn the thermostat up )
    Gl
    Jim
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 796Member, Moderator, Administrator
    @Jim_R, please be respectful in your responses. People come here to learn and saying things like, "What were you thinking?" and "What's up with your priorities?" is not in the spirit of what we're doing here. This tone is aggressive, disrespectful, and will get you banned from the site if it continues.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • Jim_RJim_R Posts: 204Member
    My apologies first to you Erin as I could only recently have come to see that some responses by some members aren't what I have come use to hearing and what has been written about.. the essence , foundation of what I have come to expect and when I read of these "Non specific broad brush " responses with their knowledge that I admit is vast , referring to older , more difficult as systems to know the intracacies ? that perhaps others know but haven't seen yet as many are busy now it reminds me of the reason I ended up here.. fortunately it was by somebody that his co-workers recommended after 4 of them , 4 different calls each did the slow down walk and Mumble as they saw the system and got closer they really had no clue what they were supposed to do with it , other than drain some water, and they all jumped when trying to "blow down" the LWCO when they flipped the handle and instead of draining through the outlet it would start sucking air in instead and make a sound that's hard to describe especially when the electric water feed kicked in and they'd do a quick close of the handle and give a look like , what the hell is going on with this thing... Eventually someone figured out the system was in vacuum.. BUT they all knew this guy that works with them but wasn't assigned to my area .. he was assigned maybe 30 + miles away but he knew Steam , he knew more than any of the guys assigned to 6-8 county area.. I said I better get him before he retires, figuring only one left.. nope.. a younger guy that took it upon himself that the other stuff came easy to him and they had all different kinds of resources to deal with "modern" equipment.. They were a utility with Service Maintenance contracts so they pretty good with normal calls .
    He had a personal calling to Steam and the systems Dan would write about.. I believe he attended... OK.. he came ( after telling the dispatcher if they send someone else to set another service call appointment until they get the right guy) Now he didn't do much physical work because those other guys did the cleaning but he did alot of looking and alot of questions.. Now it's not like the contract covered checking radiator traps etc. Or water sea. .. well he showed me enough and taught me enough and gave me this Site to learn more or get some help.
    And I've been here since

    So back on subject ,
    To be honest Erin this is your business, I don't expect to see Dan with the answers to especially the things he could probably rattle off the top of his head.. I see members getting into alot of threads I assume help out with questions already being addressed.. and calling fixing 100 year old parts Living in the "Dark Days"..of steam... Well I do alot of reading and research and the "Dark Days" were when Simple Joe was bringing his invention to Chicago for a show where he was hoping to go into business and find a partner or investor and by chance along the way.. right.. he got a offer, went into business with this company.. his name right on the item.. doesn't like the way the partners are going.. wants to cash out.. well his actual invention didn't work as designed and the partners redesigned a few things and got the patent themselves.. and his name, that he couldn't put on anything, and though sales were great he didn't get any money because his item didn't work and he wasn't a part of the fixed version..
    And I know Businesses just as bad today with quick talkers , telling the guys still breaking their hump with ancient technology..Hey guys, just fall into line.. your way isn't worth it.. Well I look at the source and the timing and I won't stand by while some company man Talks down about their style of work.. That man has no intimation Power over me and I've met some and I paid but I got my licks in.. you can see right through it.. So they play their heart tugging card and avoids answering any questions. Thread gets closed . Mission Accomplished..ⁿ Using acronym's WM is just to keep from getting indexed by the Search Engines.. they probably gave him something nice for his house he bought for retirement..
    And this girl with the radiators, 3-5 weeks, her on Amazon ? The Company spoke to her and told her weeks ago what to do.. Amazon has a department for issues but she does nothing. I spelled it out for her because it appears she was able to paint 3 of them... If she hasn't tried anything by now there has to be a reason and there's more to this story than is being told.. guaranteed.. look at all the posts and no action.. how many times can someone be told. .
    And back to me.. change is inevitable, I think it's still a great resource and helpful, but I can't apologise for being me.. that being said I know my participation in certain subjects isn't necessary
    And as the Gutenberg is preparing the 1923 public domain release, expired copyrights for January 1 I have a pretty full plate..
    You won't be receiving contributions from me in the near future.. But Don't Lock me out Because if I have questions or problems I'll need access !
    Jim
  • CanuckerCanucker Posts: 471Member
    > @Fred said:
    > I would also be concerned about any residual acetone off-gassing when the radiator heats back up. It is going to take a very good cleaning before repainting them. If the acetone isn't completely removed, any paint applied on top of it will likely remain tacky. I don't know if acetone is water soluble so do some research before washing them down. I almost feel like painting over them, with an appropriate paint, may seal the odors from this aluminum paint in and solve the problem.

    Acetone mixes easily in water will dry easily as it boils around 56 C at atmospheric pressure. Unless you find a way to lock it into the paint residue, it won't hang around long. That said, as @Jamie Hall pointed out, don't be using it in an enclosed space without make up air as it can quickly reach an explosive mix
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
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