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Best way to get smell out of new steam system

Ron Jr._3Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
Been back to a steam install with a customer that has a VERY sensitive sense of smell. Gotta admit , I smelled that oily , dank scent of a new steamer too when I arrived. 

Drained the boiler , added 8-Way treatment , skimmed about 20 gallons and purged the returns for about 2 hours and another 20 gallons. After that I skimmed again and it smelled like all the oil and gunk were gone. 

Customer called the next day. Same complaint. 

Wondering if anyone has a go-to steam cleaner or tips for these pesky smelly jobs. 

Thanks in advance. 


Comments

  • Big Ed_4Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,579
    edited January 12
    Next time prevent oil from getting in . Take a five gallon bucket grab some laundry detergent and water and leave it by the vise . After you cut and thread the pipe clean off the cutting oil .

    Right now you have to put in the time and skim it out ..
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • kcoppkcopp Member Posts: 3,608
    Lemon juice?
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,619
    Have you wiped down the outside of the piping to remove exterior oils ,spray nine or zeb degreaser usually does a good job . If it’s coming out of the air vents then maybe dump the water and wand the boiler out from the bottom and drain then flush fill and fire and skim . If I’m doing a fair amount of cutting on longer pipes I ll set up a spray foamier and foam them w dawn and then rise out W water works like a charm , other wise a bucket w a gallon of vinegar gets the oil right off or brake cleaner . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Ron Jr._3Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    These were pre-cut nips . The boiler block itself was the source of most of the oils. 

    Like I said , I put in the time (3+ hours) to skim the top of the water line and purge the returns and thought the smell was all gone. I don't cut and run from any steamer. If I thought oils were still in there , I woulda doubled the time if need be. 

    I'm thinking another steam cleaner product other than 8-Way. Which I like because it's a liquid. 




  • neilcneilc Member Posts: 1,118
    that oil smell is distributed thru the system and rads,
    you'll have to go back and repeat that full skim and returns dump a time or 2,
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,360
    If the main vents are too small, then most of the air will escape through the radiator vents upstairs.—NBC
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,617
    After checking the main venting as mentioned by @nicholas bonham-carter above, I would try:

     adding TSP or similar cleaner. Let it boil awhile (remove the main vent so you don’t send smells to the living space) with a higher water line (but beware too much carryover) and then skim it until water runs cool, then drain it dry then fill it and put in 1/3 the instructed dose of 8-way and come back in a week to repeat.

    do some customer management. Tell them you will be reducing the smell some, then some more after you come back in a week, then after that the rest has to dissipate itself, like a new car smell, it has to finish clearing over time. But you hopefully greatly reduced the smell in those two visits.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Ron Jr._3Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    Thanks for the input. I was assuming you want the vents open fully to run the cleaner all the way through every pipe and radiator . I was even tempted to get the water extremely hot and fill the entire system with water to the lowest rad with that hot water . Just to try to work the oil smell out more. But that's crop up another set of headaches 😉
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,360
    If you overfill the system, then the oils will rise to the top of the water.
    Best to use 8-way cleaner, or Arm&Hammer washing soda, and then simmer for a couple of hours, followed by a very slow skim, (burner off), until the water runs cold.
    It may need several sessions of this.—NBC
    ethicalpaulRon Jr._3mattmia2
  • Ron Jr._3Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    If you overfill the system, then the oils will rise to the top of the water. Best to use 8-way cleaner, or Arm&Hammer washing soda, and then simmer for a couple of hours, followed by a very slow skim, (burner off), until the water runs cold. It may need several sessions of this.—NBC
    Thanks. I used 8-Way already. I remember using a brand that produced a semi sweet smell from the vents. Forget which it was . Going to follow up tomorrow to see if someone else was there to purge and skim and ask about results . 
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