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Another home improvement question...furnace problems

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vs1988

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Hey all, I have another home improvement question..

Last wednesday, a contractor came out to clean/tune up our furnace. Since then, every time we use the hot water or anything else that requires the furnace to run, the smoke detectors in the house would go off, and there would be a heavy odor of burning oil in the house.

My parents' solution was to take out all the batteries from the smoke detectors.

I went into the utility room to check out the furnace, and it looked like the tech may have put the exhaust vent back in wrong. It looks somewhat crooked. We called them back, but they told us it was cause our "furnace is too old and the only solution is to buy a new one." However, our furnace never had this problem until after the repair guy "fixed" it.

What, as a minor, can I do? My parents won't buy a new furnace (understanbly, cause of college tuition and such). And the contractor refuses to believe it's anything they did.

The odor is getting pretty bad. My CO detector in my bedroom hasn't sounded yet, but I've kept my windows open while I sleep.

Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Vince
 

jf222

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Silver Creek, NY
If you town has a building inspector, call him - tell him about the service and ask him to check it. - your parents may be the victim of someone who "breaks" the older furnace just to install a new one - don't even consider them for that job if necessary.
 

KC8JPZ

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Can you post some pictures of the unit? Sounds like a shifty HVAC tech. What kind of fuel does the furnace use? We may be able to help you more if we had some more details. This exhaust pipe sounds fishy.
 

USAPatriot

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That exhaust pipe may well kill you. If it's leaking carbon monoxide you might not wake up some morning. -Rod-
 

pinetree

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Felton DE
YOU COULD BE IN DANGER
I am a former fire chief - tell your parents to get a good furnace repair person quick. I agree with jf222 your repair person botched the job on purpose or ignorance. If your smoke detectors are going off that means that there are products of combustion in the air. Those oil fumes could be hurting your lungs
Attached is a photo of our slogan about smoke detectors
 

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n3ncn

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Dec 19, 2002
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Trinity,North Carolina
AS a Master Lic. HVAC tech. Mainly deal with oil, sounds like the tech made a bad adjustment to the primary air flow thus it is not burning all the oil. Call the service manager or owner of the company and have him come out. If all else fails, run the unit really long and have your wife or what have you call the fire dept. and show she is scared to death. Normally they would call the service company then in which you should get immediate response.
I also agree with Pinetree that can hurt you, also if it get's bad quick by incorrect burning it will fill your house with soot coausing thousands in damage.
 
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NeFire242

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Nebraska
Yeah plug the batteries back into all the smoke / fire alarms.

And if the FD rolls there have them take a CO test. This would give you a good indication, just because you're CO2 alarm hasn't sounded doesn't mean some is already present enough to trip the alarm sensor. Especially if you are on a different floor, or area of the house. Better to be safe than sorry.

You may also want to consider getting in touch with the BBB if the company doesn't want to come back out to make the adjustment.
 

biglaz

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Blue Mounds, WI
I agree with what everyone says. You definately have a problem here. If your CO detector is moveable I'd suggest taking it down to the utility room. If the CO detector is activated then you have a much more serious problem and should be calling the FD and getting out of the house immediately. It's not going to fix itself when it gets colder, either...

CO poisoning can kill you in minutes at high levels. Mild to severe headaches, becoming dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, and shortness of breath are all symptoms of mild to moderate CO poisoning.
 

vs1988

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Last night I convinced my parents to call a different technician to come out and take a look. We opened all the windows to let it ventilate. I typed up a paper with all the information for my mom to give to the tech, since I was at work all day. The tech took the furnace apart and found the problem: the guy who "cleaned and repaired" our furnace installed a component (my mom didn't catch the part name) backwards, which basically blocked the exhaust vents and caused the smoke to spew out into the house.

The tech reinstalled the part properly and did a test run. The test didn't trip the detectors. I just took a shower and asked my siblings if they could smell an odor from the utility room. They did not.

Hopefully this fixed the problem. When everybody else showers/uses hot water tonight, we'll see if it really is resolved.

I wonder if the first tech really honestly made a mistake, or, like some mentioned, if he was trying to scam us into to buying a new furnace, since he seemed pretty eager and told us about deals.

Vince
 

n3ncn

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Dec 19, 2002
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Trinity,North Carolina
HArd to say but sounds fishy. One company I worked for started giving commision on sales of replacements. After I went out to second opinion 3 furnaces, it stopped. Guys get greedy and pray on customers who may not know better. You got it fixed and that's the most important thing for your families health....Good luck to ya.
 

JHaislet

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May 5, 2006
Messages
220
Location
South Dakota
Sounds like a "Break & Switch" scam. Unfortunately, this crap is happening more and more with consumers. This stuff used to be the bread & butter of shady auto-repair shops and it's a damn shame other repair industries have started adopting the practice.

Ever had a brake job at that "brake and muffler" place? There was a story a couple years ago where an investigative reporter setup a rather newish vehicle with new brakes & pads, plus a bunch of hidden cameras. The jackasses at the "brake & muffler" place scared the woman ****less about the impending doom her "non-existent" & worn-out brakes would cause.

Not only did she not get the advertised $99 special (which is another scam in and of itself), but they ended up "replacing" over $500 in parts that were practically brand new. (barf icon)

I'll brake with a stick or pull a "Fred Flintstone" before I EVER take my truck to places like these.
 
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