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Old 02-15-2011, 11:45 PM
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Odor from floor furnace on start up?

I have a 65,000 BTU Martin Stove natural gas floor furnace that is about 8 years old that puts out a terrible odor when if first starts up. After it runs for about 10 minutes the odor goes away. To solve the problem I have:

1. Vacuumed the entire unit to get rid of any dust or dirt any where on or around the unit.

2. Check the flue pipe along its entire length and every thing seems fine. The top of the pipe where it comes out of the roof is designed so that nothing could get into it.

3. Checked the heat exchanger with a light and mirror all over and can not find any cracks or holes.

4. Have been using the unit all winter now for about 5 months every day and the odor persists on start up.

Anyone have an idea what is causing this and how to fix it?

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Old 02-16-2011, 12:43 AM
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I would guess rodent excrement in the burner area. It should burn off eventually.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:48 AM
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Moving this to the Garage forum....
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:59 AM
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I hope that you have a CO detector near - it could still be a cracked heat exchanger that only opens under pressure or temperature (or mouse poop on the squirrel cage fan like dinger said )
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:07 AM
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The only time I ever experienced any thing like this was a cracked burner can. As it heated up and expanded, the crack closed itself and odor went away. DANGEROUS!!! I called the experts after going thru about the same things you did and they knew right away what the problem was. When the old unit was replaced, we took the covers off and the crack was readily visible. CO-2 detector is ok, but CO detection is most important since it never really leaves the lungs and slow build up is sneaky and deadly.

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Old 02-16-2011, 08:19 AM
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The CO detector is cheap insurance, but I've always found that odors like this are mouse poop, dead bugs, dust, etc that burns off the first time you light the furnace.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:10 AM
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What does the terrible odor smell like?
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:45 AM
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......and that cracked heat exchanger I noted above, had one in a past home - and I had a furnace service do a yearly clean and inspect and they never caught it when apart. Some odor, headaches, felt crappy - a new furnace corrected the problem. I also fired the service.

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Old 02-16-2011, 08:23 PM
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Bad odor at start up

The odor has not burned off after a few months of use so I would not think it is mouse poop, bugs, or dust.

I do have a CO detector about 10 feet from the furnace but it has never gone off. Put new batteries in and pushed the test button and it was working OK.

There is no squirrel cage fan. The heat just rises from the heat exchanger into the house.

The odor smells like exhaust from burning natural gas.

The odor only lasts about 10 minutes then it complete goes away.

Thanks for the ideas.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:19 PM
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If the air/fuel ratio is correct, there will be virtually no odor while burning- except possibly at start-up, like you're experiencing. If it persisted past start-up, I'd suspect the regulator or the supply line.

For you to be smelling anything that is burning in the combustion chamber, there has to be an opening between it and the heat riser passageway- like a crack, etc.

I'd get a pro to look it over if you cannot access the chamber adequately to check for cracks, etc.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:51 PM
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No one will look at the floor furnace?

I have called a dozen heat and cool contractors and no one will even come out and look at the floor furnace. Everyone told me they only service and install central heat and air with duct work, about a $5000 dollar expense in my case. I do not want the central unit so, I am thinking my best option now is:

1. Turn the floor furnace off and give up the idea of trying to repair it or find out what the problem is.

2. Buy a console or wall natural gas heater of the same BTU as the floor furnace I have now, and try to tap into the existing vent work and natural gas line.

Does anyone have a better solution? Thanks for the information so far.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotRodMan
I have called a dozen heat and cool contractors and no one will even come out and look at the floor furnace. Everyone told me they only service and install central heat and air with duct work, about a $5000 dollar expense in my case. I do not want the central unit so, I am thinking my best option now is:

1. Turn the floor furnace off and give up the idea of trying to repair it or find out what the problem is.

2. Buy a console or wall natural gas heater of the same BTU as the floor furnace I have now, and try to tap into the existing vent work and natural gas line.

Does anyone have a better solution? Thanks for the information so far.
Depending on the problem, there are fixes for cracks, etc.

Rutland is one manufacturer of a type of repair "cement". It is a thick, black, hard as hell (when heat cured) material that will stay put when used following the directions. I've actually used it to seal off the heat crossovers in a set of heads I have- it's that durable.

I got mine from Ace Hardware. I'm sure other outlets will also have it, and I'm also sure there must be other brands.

So it's something that may be worth looking into, anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotRodMan
Does anyone have a better solution? Thanks for the information so far.
I doubt it is a leak. Crank that puppy up for about 8 hours, open a window, let it burn whatever crap is in the unit, away.
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinger
I doubt it is a leak. Crank that puppy up for about 8 hours, open a window, let it burn whatever crap is in the unit, away.
One would think that after 5 mo. of daily use, That would have happened already.
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:39 AM
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Is this installed in a garage or inside the house?

Until I changed my furnace out for a sealed combustion unit a few years ago, the simplest/smallest of painting, staining, sealing projects done in the house would stink the place up for days. Even though it was no where close to the furnace.

The economy must be pretty good in your area with the attitude your local contractors have.
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