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Steam radiators painted with aluminum paint, giving off noxious odor

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: 7,816Member
    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: 10,296Member
    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: 7Member
    @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: 10,296Member
    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: 7Member
    Thank you. I plan on stopping by BM today, talking to the folks there.
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,009Member, 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: 7Member
    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: 10,296Member
    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: 7,816Member
    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.
  • tastyetastye Posts: 7Member
    @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.

  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,009Member, 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
  • CanuckerCanucker Posts: 528Member
    > @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
  • tastyetastye Posts: 7Member
    @Jim_R "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. ." Called Amazon???? I'm not sure what that means. I called the paint company directly. They told me to keep the radiators off, I did that for 2 weeks. Nothing changed. I called, spoke to a different man at the same company, he said to burn it off. All told, I've called the PAINT company 3 times. Now, I'm just dealing with radiators that smell when there is steam in them. I'm hopefully eventually, the the smell will stop.
    You should be more respectful to women, and girls.
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