Should My Furnace Smell Like Heating Oil?

woman who smells heating oil in her home

Heating oil fuels the furnaces of many American homes every year. It is highly-efficient and cost-saving, making the winter months more comfortable to live through. If you use heating oil and notice a smell permeating around your house, you might wonder if this should be a cause for concern. Heating oil has a distinct smell, but it shouldn’t be an issue when you have a containment system in place. The scent will also most likely go away soon. However, in some rare cases, the heating oil smell might persist. When this happens, contact the R.F. Ohl to help you identify the cause and improve your indoor air quality.

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Is It Normal To Smell Heating Oil?

It isn’t normal for you to smell heating oil in your home. However, some situations can cause the smell to linger. It can be fleeting, but there are times when smelling heating oil around your house calls for more serious action. Listed below are some reasons for this issue:

1. Your  Oil Tank Was Recently Refilled

heating oil delivery

It isn’t unusual for the smell of air to linger a while after you receive a fresh batch of heating oil to refill your tank. You are likely to detect faint oil smell around your house, but it should dissipate on its own after a couple of days. If it lasts longer than it should, check to see if the delivery crew spilled some oil on the ground.
R.F. Ohl boasts of having the safest and most dependable heating oil delivery services in northeastern Pennsylvania. Rest assured that you won’t have any spill-related problems with us on the job. Contact us today to learn more about the heating oil deliveries we offer.

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2. It Has Been A While Since You Used Your Furnace

Heating systems aren’t used during the summer months. They are only switched on again once the temperature begins to drop. Turning on your furnace again at the start of the cold weather tends to release a burning oil smell. This is perfectly normal. The smell should disappear after a while, so there is no need to worry.

3. Furnace Filter Is Blocked

image of an oil-fired furnace filter replacement

The oil smell can indicate that your furnace filter is clogged. Check your oil furnace filter to determine if this is the case for you. Make sure that you regularly clean or replace your HVAC’s air filter to prevent this from happening. However, if replacing your dirty air filter didn’t change anything, another reason could be behind the smell.


4. Your Furnace Has An Underlying Problem

The smell of oil could be because your furnace is experiencing a deeper problem. Your system might be suffering from an inefficient operation. There are also some instances when the oil doesn’t completely combust. Hence, leftover oil causes the odor to linger. The oil burner might have some cracks as well. This causes the fumes to leak and permeate around your home. Another reason is you might have a faulty heat exchanger. A professional HVAC technician should be able to help you find the root cause. These problems require the extensive knowledge and experience of a licensed expert from R.F. Ohl.

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Is An Oil Smell Dangerous?

Most homeowners are concerned about how the oil smell can affect their health. This is especially true for households whose oil tanks are located in enclosed spaces like the basement. Truthfully, heating oil fumes are not as harmful as natural gas. Exposure to low concentrations of oil fumes isn’t as toxic. Explosions aren’t an issue as well because fuel oil is stable enough that it won’t explode. However, it is still best that you don’t inhale fumes at all.

Short-term exposure also has short-lived symptoms, meaning they will go away as soon as the odor is gone. Avoid long-term exposure, as this can cause severe health problems. When you notice oil smell permeating your home, it is always recommended that you call a professional HVAC technician immediately. Neglecting to do so can lead the problem to escalate and cause further harm to you and your system.

woman asking about dangers of heating oil

What To Do If You Smell Heating Oil

When you smell heating oil around your home, go over the list, and do the recommended steps. Replace the air filter, examine the burner carefully to ensure that there are no cracks, and check if oil spilled on the ground. Make sure that you switch off your HVAC system until you resolve the issue. You should also ventilate your home to get rid of the oil smell. Open the windows so that the fumes are released outside. Keep children and pets away to ensure their safety as well.

If you find that oil spilled from a recent delivery, utilize absorbent materials so that the oil doesn’t spread any further. Separate any damaged materials and clean the surface using water and soap. However, if you find that you are dealing with more than just a minor problem, do not hesitate to call for expert assistance. Your HVAC system might be dealing with more than what you can see or smell. It is best to let a professional assess the situation and do the necessary repairs.

Final Thoughts

Our sense of smell can warn us about any dangers that we might not hear or see. Foul odors can be an indication that there are problems that need to be solved immediately. If you smell heating oil permeating around your house, then you should take a proactive approach and find the reason behind it. It isn’t typical for your heating system to release fumes as the heating system should fully contain the oil. Some of the possible causes include oil spills, clogged air filters, and first system use, among others. An HVAC technician should be able to help you find what is causing the problem and solve it promptly.

Call R.F. Ohl For Superior Home Comfort Solutions

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R.F. Ohl provides high-quality heating and cooling services in northeastern Pennsylvania. Rest assured that we have some of the best NATE certified technicians who can conduct superior HVAC repairs, installations, maintenance, and replacements. Our friendly techs have the skills, experience, and knowledge to service all types of HVAC systems correctly.

R.F. Ohl offers the most affordable heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our tune-up services ensure improved energy-efficiency and home comfort without burning a hole through your pocket. We can also help you achieve high indoor air quality, so you breathe in clean air at all times. Our team of expert HVAC contractors can find the best-fitting solution to ensure that all your home comfort needs are met. We back our work with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. Our services also include fast and affordable fuel oil deliveries so that you are warm and safe throughout the cold winter months. You can choose from various delivery and financing options. To schedule an appointment, do not hesitate to call R.F. Ohl today. We offer free, in-home estimates.
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