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Black Soot Everywhere!

lleebb
lleebb Member Posts: 1
Need advice; this is the second winter we are using the heat sources in our house. Last winter — no problem, first three months of this winter? No problem. We have a propane woodstove in our kitchen and the rest of the house is heated with oil. The kitchen, almost overnight, has become coated with black soot, and the rest of the house, all of the heating vents also are emitting black soot particulate that is messing up everything In the house! Not only the walls; but our furniture, clothing, everything i touch, my hands and skin are black. When i blow my nose — completely black. Our landlord will not dispatch a technician from the oil provider to our house, nor do we have any carbon monoxide detectors or smoke alarms. The house is very old and we live in New York, so turning off the heat sources is not an option. What can we do? How unhealthy is it to be breathing this stuff in? I tried calling the oil company, but they refused to assist me as the account has no notes included that indicate tenants are allowed to contact service techs, and our landlord does not answer our texts/phone calls, especially since this is not the first major issue that has been brought to their attention by us. First photo is kitchen w propane woodstove, walls went from eggshell to this black color in less than 36 hours; second photo is a heating vent from upstairs, the black marks by the vents are present on all the heaters throughout the house on both
floors. What causes this, what can we do as renting tenants, does carbon monoxide present itself like this, what is the appropriate direction to go forward legally, please advise!!

Comments

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,230
    edited February 4
    lleebb said:

    How unhealthy is it to be breathing this stuff in?

    lleebb said:

    Our landlord will not dispatch a technician from the oil provider to our house,

    The soot is a carcinogen. Your home is a disaster (not your fault). You need to move out now!
    The house needs to be emptied out, cleaned, and painted. Not your problem, and your landlord sounds like a moron, so I think its time for you to move on.
    All your stuff needs to be cleaned as well. Take what you absolutely want and have to keep and leave the rest.
    lleebb said:

    nor do we have any carbon monoxide detectors or smoke alarms.

    Why not? I'm sorry you are in this situation. This is going to sound harsh, and I don't mean it to.
    You need to make some changes in your life, and you need to take ownership of things you can do to make your life better for you and your family. One of those things is to go to Walmart and buy the cheapest smoke alarm and CO alarm. Your local fire department may have some free ones, so check that out too. You will need both of these in your next home. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Yes, your landlord should have provided both of these items, but they didn't. Even if the landlord had provided these, as is their legal responsibility, how would you know they work? Get your own. You can have more than one CO and Smoke alarm. You should. You and your family are worth it.
    I DIY.
    STEAM DOCTORMaxMercybburdLong Beach Ed
  • SgtMaj
    SgtMaj Member Posts: 74
    Good grief. Nothing about that is healthy. Get out of the house, call the city inspection division, health department and fire marshal.
    WMno57STEAM DOCTORMaxMercy
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,916
    And on your way out, turnoff the power to the oil burner. Better yet, turn it off immediately after you read this. That thing is killing you, but there is also a decent chance that it will burn you down as well.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    TwoTones
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,929
    Get yourself and your stuff out of there ASAP. Leave it on. If landlord is okay with it the way it is, let it burn down and destroy the house. Not your circus and not your monkeys
    WMno57MaxMercyjimna01
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,929
    And of course, call some lawyers. 
    old_diy_guy
  • heathead
    heathead Member Posts: 234
    Call the fire department now. Take pictures of everything. Send you landlord a picture of the kitchen. A restoration company is going to have to clean everything if possible or replace everthing. The landlord should be putting you into temporary housing at their expense. The oil company needs to see the picture of the kitchen, if they don't want to come out they are just plain nut's once they see that. But Please Call the Fire Department first. You don't want any cover up from the landlord or the oil company. The landlords insurance company is going to have to work this out with the oil company insurance, depending upon what is wrong. The fire department is your friend, they should help you.
    STEAM DOCTORjimna01
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,556
    edited February 4
    Imagine what your lungs will look like after one heating season!

    And we Wonder why young people who never smoked have lung cancer. You likely have a cracked heat exhanger in your furnace. Soot from combustion gases are getting into your heating air instead of going up the chimney.

    If you are financially strapped, go out and buy oil filled electricc heaters for each room and shut the furnace off. One month of oil will pay for the heaters.

    But yeah, new living quarters would be best.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,317
    edited February 4
    I agree with the above posts. Not safe. Since the landloard will not resposnd you have every rite to protect yourself.

    1. Health dept
    2. Fire dept
    3. call a lawyer & take pictures and follow the lawyers instructions
    4. shut it off
    Are you the only tenants in the building?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    SlamDunk said:

    Imagine what your lungs will look like after one heating season!

    And we Wonder why young people who never smoked have lung cancer. You likely have a cracked heat exhanger in your furnace. Soot from combustion gases are getting into your heating air instead of going up the chimney.

    If you are financially strapped, go out and buy oil filled electricc heaters for each room and shut the furnace off. One month of oil will pay for the heaters.

    But yeah, new living quarters would be best.

    This looks like a hot-water system, so unless the boiler is leaking it isn't "cracked". But it might be plugged with soot, or there might be a chimney problem. I agree, get out of there now. Check the laws in your state to see if you can put the rent into an escrow account until this is fixed and cleaned up.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,556
    @Steamhead , I wondered about that but clearly the vents were blackened.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,233
    Hi, @lleebb said there is a "propane woodstove" in the kitchen. I'm not sure just what that is. Also, the sooting is bad in the kitchen. I'd like to see pictures of this stove and how it's vented, if it is. Propane can produce just the sort of soot mentioned, and quickly. For certain, do turn off the gas supply to it until things are figured out and resolved!

    Yours, Larry
    CLambrick in AlaskaLong Beach Ed
  • Bob Harper
    Bob Harper Member Posts: 1,030
    It could have been a 'backpuff' from the oil burner or the stove. Never seen or heard of a propane-fired woodstove. You must mean a propane fired stove that resembles a woodstove. You need to evacuate to a hotel or friend's house, wash all your clothing and selves, then begin calling authorities. I'd start with the fire marshal; If you have renter's insurance, contact the agent to file a claim. Write a letter return receipt to the property owner the house is uninhabitable and demand it be corrected, cleaned and inspected. Most codes require UL listed CO alarms but they are merely death alarms and do not protect from CO poisoning. Get a low level CO monitor. Take a few samples from hard surfaces like glass: use a cotton ball dampened with alcohol, swab until black then place in marked Ziplock bags and retain custody including noting where sample taken.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,695
    I hope and pray the OP can still answer our questions!
    SlamDunkrealliveplumberCLambEdTheHeaterMan
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,452
    edited February 5
    @Bob Harper

    My dad mentioned a kitchen stove his parents had in the 50s a few times that apparently was an electric stove combined with a wood stove 

    Apparently the wood side did heating but also could be cooked on and then it had electric elements as well.  He thinks Sears made it.

    So I guess a wood + lpg could exist?


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,563
    EVERYTHING THAT WAS SAID ABOVE ABOUT THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT
    PLUS

    This is the reason you should have Renters Insurance. The owners insurance company will pay for all the cleaning and painting of the building, and cleaning any contents the owner may have in there. They may not cover the dry cleaning and laundering of your clothes and cleaning your other belongings (like furniture), computers, and artwork) may not be covered under the owners policy.
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    MaxMercy
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 497
    edited February 5


    This is the reason you should have Renters Insurance.

    I hope he is still around to take that great advice - one and done...

    That much soot means CO as well.



    GrallertEdTheHeaterMan
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,738
    Call fire dept now to verify this is in fact CO accumulation, when you say you notice black soot in house they should respond quickly. ( I would also not stay inside until the conditions are deemed safe. Also, just looked up the tenant landlord contact # in New York city if thats where you are. Dial 311 to contact & they should be able to help get this figured out. BUT! 1st have fire department check it out for safety.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,738
    After reading this closer, I am wondering if its not the propane ?? stove sooting up the kitchen and not the oil boiler. The discoloration above the convector may just be dirt. Either way the poster needs to get fire dept there to find what the problem is. Totally not right and very likely unsafe.
    EdTheHeaterMan