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HELP! Steam from vent giving headache and registering as gas leak!

After radiator heats up, the steam from the vent starts to smell and gas sniffer from Home Depot goes bonkers.  It's gotta be a false positive but need to get rid of this smell.

The boiler did have a crack and water was low so I'm guessing this may have created a situation where the heat on the metal and there was a lotta sludge so maybe all that heating up caused this as there is no auto water feed and tenant didn't fill it bc radiators still got hot. 

Boiler is an old Peerless from 80s or early 90s. The crack has been eliminated with boiler seal and it's been flushed many times but still getting the odor and false positive on gas sniffer.

HOW DO I GET RID OF THIS!? Supply house sold me Squick but I'm now reading some bad stuff like it can bond with bottom of boiler. 

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated as tenant wants me to pay for their hotel


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,270
    edited February 2021
    If the boiler water was low because of the crack... and someone added water to a hot boiler... boiler seal or no, that boiler is no longer safe and should be taken out of service and replaced.

    Hard to say what the smell is from. It is possible that cleaning the boiler thoroughly with the Squick might help -- the smell may be from the boiler seal material -- but then you'd want to drain the boiler back down and refill with clean water, as Squick can cause problems with surging. It is possible that the boiler seal did bond with goop in the boiler, though, in which case you'll not get it out of there.

    But you'd be doing a lot of work on a dangerous boiler.

    I might add -- it's not the tenant's responsibility to maintain the heating system, unless that was written into the lease. It's yours.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,623
    Also, there shouldn't be much steam coming out of a vent—they're supposed to close when the steam gets there. Check the pressure on the boiler, it shouldn't get above about 1½ PSI. The vent may be damaged, too.

    Sounds like a lot of deferred maintenance that needs to be brought up to current. Certainly when you replace the boiler, fix all the problems that led up to the crack.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    Might be the sealer itself causing the smell. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service