Gas smell from cold air return
Posted 01 December 2006 - 10:55 PM
About a week after turning the furnace on for the year, I kept noticing a gas smell in the hallway in which the return air vent is located. We did a soapy water check on all the gas appliances and can't find any leak. We have natural gas heater, with the return air vent in the ceiling of that hallway. Could there be a leak from within the heater that is creeping back through the return air vent? We have a new Kidde Gas detector in that hallway, but it doesn't pick up anything.
We keep the windows open alot when we're home, so that probably contributes to the now-you-smell-it, now-you-don't aspect.
Posted 02 December 2006 - 10:13 AM
Do a quick check using your gas meter to perform a shadow test. With all appliances off, turn off any pilots. At the gas meter you will typically see 6 dials. The top four are usually the read, the other two are proving dials. Which ever one has the smallest measurement (ie 1/2 cu. ft.) is the one you want to watch. Mark the dial position and walk away for 10 minutes. No dial movement = no gas leak up to any & all appliance control valves. Your gas provider will also respond to gas odors if you want. The shadow test is the easiest method to determine if in fact there is a leak.
Dead mice & sewer gases are more likely to be the source of your odor. Any odor will tend to be drawn in the area of the return air due to air flow patterns.
Posted 02 December 2006 - 11:28 AM
Posted 03 December 2006 - 09:54 AM
Oh, by the way, the gas detector we have is a retail Kidde model. I did test in in front of the fireplace -turned on gas but didn't light it, and it took the detector probably 20 seconds to go off. By then I could smell the gas strongly (don't worry, I did this with doors and windows open). I mention this because I wonder whether it simply took the sensor that long to recognize the smell regardless of strength, or whether the sensor only picks up on very intense concentrations.
Posted 03 December 2006 - 11:48 AM
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Posted 03 December 2006 - 05:26 PM
Posted 03 December 2006 - 05:38 PM
Sewer gas and dead animals are top on the list of false "gas leak" odor calls. Sewer gas can take on the form of several different odors, I have even had it smell like an electrical burning odor so don't rule anything out.
Most importantly if you are concerned contact your gas provider, as part of public safety they will respond promptly to make sure it is not a dangerous situation.
Posted 19 January 2007 - 01:08 PM
The smell did go away about two weeks later. I think it may have been a situation similar to that of Pegi, but longer lasting!
Thanks again for all of your quick, helpful, and accurate responses!
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