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lipwak
fumes from the new boiler
lipwak

I had a new oil-burning boiler installed on 7/8/15. I’d smell fumes from the old one every once in awhile but I am smelling them way too often with this new one. The oil company that installed the boiler has been out here and adjusted things several times. The chimney was cleaned before the installation.

There were some branches very close to the chimney but those were cut way back and I shouldn’t think they would be the cause for all the fumes I am smelling. The oil company is perplexed. One theory they offer is that atmospheric conditions are such that the fumes don’t go up sometimes. Some people in the companey think the chimney is tall enough but others think it should be taller than the peak of the roof.

(I would attach a pic, a 17kb jpg, but your site doesn't think it is a valid image file...)

Why is this happening? Who can fix this?

Thanks for any help.

Cheers,

John L

Benjamin
Re: fumes from the new boiler
Benjamin

What size vent does the furnace have and what type and size liner does your chimney have?

lipwak
Re: fumes from the new boiler
lipwak

Good question. I'll look for that info but the boiler is a Slant/Finn Intrepid tr-30, (TR-30-1.10 P). I'll have to call the chimney cleaner (or my oil co.) to find out more about the chimney. (I'll update this or future notes if I find any more out sooner.)

From some info on the boiler:

AHRI chimney size: Nom. Rect. x Height (in x by x ft) = 8x8x15
I.D. Round x Height (in x ft) = 6x15

Benjamin
Re: fumes from the new boiler
Benjamin

did the furnace company check the chimney before installing the new furnace? It is most likely an issue with the chimney could be over sized could be blocked or some other issue

lipwak
Re: fumes from the new boiler
lipwak

It turns out the chimney was cleaned 2 days AFTER the new boiler was put in. I would assume the oil co. inspected the chimney to some extent but I'll have to ask them. I know they've adjusted the draft several times after I complained about fumes.

bill
Re: fumes from the new boiler
bill

Do you have a fresh air make up? This is a fresh air pipe that brings fresh air into the boiler room to make up for the air that goes up the chimney. It is code in some places, Also it is very common for a new heating system to smoke for several days until the oils grease and paint burn off.

Pelton
Re: fumes from the new boiler
Pelton

Related to what "shack" said is the AVAILABLE AIR IN THE BOILER ROOM----in some cases the new boiler is placed in a boiler room that had sufficient air capacity for the OLD BOILER, but now the BR is too small for the NEW BOILER & doesn't contain the necessary amount of air for smoke-free and odor-free combustion; many times the OLD BOILER may have had a combustion rating of only .75 gallons of oil per hour (.75 gph); but now the NEW BOILER has a combustion rating of 1.10 gph or more; the NEW BOILER thus burns more fuel & thus requires more available air to burn smoke-free---there is also added penalties for using the NEW BOILER with insufficient air---it forces the boiler to burn MORE FUEL for longer combustion periods, so you'll spend a lot more on fuel bills during the heating season; remember, everyone knows that a boiler/furnace needs & burns a lot of fuel to produce heat---but most people don't realize that a boiler/furnace also NEEDS & BURNS A LOT OF AIR AS WELL to produce heat ---the air is free, the fuel costs a lot of money!

Luckily, the remedy is simple---assuming this is your problem.

The amount of air in the boiler room is regulated by code in all parts of the US---there is a section in the new manual you got with your new Slant/Fin Intrepid that specifies how many minimum cubic feet of air must be present in your boiler room for the model Slant/Fin (combustion capacity) you purchased---so do the math (or have your service person do it) to see if you have sufficient combustion air---if you calculate a shortage of available air, you can (as "shack" inferred) install an added air vent---or several, that connect the air on the EXTERIOR of the house with the air in the boiler room---these days the easiest way to get more air in the boiler room is to install one or two 12" X 12" rigid plastic louver vents (hopefully, you won't have to cut thru a concrete foundation to get to the outside air) that have an insect screen included & vent directly to the outdoors.

There should be a page in the new Slant/Fin manual that has a DIAGRAM that shows the boiler room & different options for adding air vents to get more fresh air into the boiler room---sometimes a 6" or 12" weatherproof-capped vent is run up to & thru the attic/roof if there are no other options.

The oil company you have may have tried some adjustments such as installing a smaller fuel nozzle (say, from 1.10 gph to .75 gph)---this would extend the burn time of the new boiler & reduce slightly the amount of required air; the oil co. crew should also CHECK the chimney to see that it has a GOOD DRAFT---holding a lighted match or blowing smoke near the chimney draft opening in the BR should result in the smoke or flame being strongly pulled into the chimney opening.

lipwak
Re: fumes from the new boiler
lipwak

Thanks very much for the detailed answer. I will ask them if they think there is sufficient air in the boiler room. I have been leaving the door open so it should be able to get the air from the room the boiler room was carved out of. The boiler looks to be the same size as the old one though and is mounted in the exact same location.

I came back to the site today* to let people know that with this spring weather we've been having (up to the 70s for a few days now), I have had the windows open and there is good news. I smelled the fumes only a few times. The first was somewhat strong and I thought I was in for more trouble but the few other times I have smelled them, they have been MUCH better. Much less strong a smell and it has lasted for a shorter time than the boiler is running! The latest occurrence might convince me that the problem has solved itself.

*(Every time I've checked, my settings say I should be instantly notified when replies are made to threads I've posted to and I have NEVER received a notification from this site. My e-mail address is correct. They aren't going into my spam mailbox as I check that every day. This has been a long term mystery with this site. I am sorry not to reply sooner...)

What would be happening then? If the intensity of the fumes is now much less, what happened between now and last fall when it was terrible?

Bill Shack's point about a new system taking a few days to burn off oil and grease may explain this somewhat except that it took 5 months for all the new boiler smells to go away. I smelled them inside up until this winter occasionally. Now, trips downstairs where the boiler is never smell anything like they did when it was first installed.

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