How to Prevent Smells When You’re Heating With Oil – Sobieski Services | DE, NJ, PA, MD

How to Prevent Smells When You’re Heating With Oil

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Oil heating smells are almost always related to oil spillage, small or large. Because combustion inside an oil-fired furnace is at very high temperatures, emitted odors are not a common occurrence. However, the opportunities for spills that produce pungent oil heating smells are numerous during delivery and/or due to tank or line leaks. Annoying fuel oil smells often linger, even after the spill is cleaned up. Only cleanup involving less than a gallon of spilled oil should be attempted by the homeowner.

Small Spills

  • Wear rubber gloves, eye protection and old clothes.
  • Spread an absorbent material such as cat litter on the spill. After the oil is absorbed, shovel the cat litter into plastic garbage bags, seal the bags and remove them from the house immediately to be properly disposed.
  • Any absorbent materials such as carpeting or wood furniture that came into contact with the oil should also be removed from the house immediately and kept outdoors until they can be properly cleaned or disposed.
  • Use soap and hot water to clean the floor where the spill occurred. Check under nearby objects to make sure no splashed oil is present. Repeated cleanings as well as continuous ventilation with fans may be necessary to remove the odor.

Large Spills

Major oil spills should be handled by professionals. Three contacts should be made immediately:

  • Call the fire department. After getting information from you they may dispatch a unit to contain a large spill as well as deal with any hazards of fire or explosion.
  • Contact your oil supplier. Many include spill clean-up services in the annual oil purchase contract and can respond quickly with professional techniques and equipment.
  • Report the spill to state authorities. Here in Delaware, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Emergency Response Team (DNREC) operates a 24-hour home oil spill hotline at 1-800-662-8802.

At Sobieski Services, Inc. our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.

Photo Credit: Frankie Napolux/

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