Despite the widespread use of natural gas and propane furnaces, there are still plenty of homeowners who rely on furnaces powered by heating oil. One major downside of using heating oil is the terrible odor it can cause if there's a small leak near the furnace. The unwanted smell of heating oil can proliferate throughout your furnace's ductwork, potentially leaving your home with a less-than-pleasant odor.
You can keep bad heating oil odors at bay by following the tips listed below:
Air It Out
Odors from a heating oil spill can easily spread throughout your home if you're not careful. When confronted by an odor-causing oil spill, it's a good idea to open up all of the windows in the room where the spill originated. You'll also want to position a couple of box fans or use your ceiling fan to create a strong enough current to push the fumes outdoors.
Soak It Up
The next step in tackling heating oil odors involves cleaning up the spill itself. For this, you'll need to lay down an absorbent material with odor neutralizing properties:
- You can spread laundry detergent powder on top of the spilled oil to absorb the spill and neutralize the resulting odor. It's a good idea to leave it overnight for the best results.
- Kitty litter is another good alternative for removing unwanted odors while absorbing the spilled oil. However, most brands of kitty litter tend to clump up as they draw moisture.
- You can also use food-grade diatomaceous earth to help clean up oil spills. Like kitty litter, DE will absorb minor oil spills while controlling unwanted odors.
- Some specialty stores offer an odor neutralizer specifically formulated to tackle heating oil odors. You may want to ask your HVAC technician where you can purchase this product.
- Don't forget that baking soda also works wonders when it comes to cleaning up spills and controlling odor.
Set It Down
In addition to airing out your home and putting down absorbent materials, you can also tackle the stench of heating oil by filling up a container of white vinegar. Once you have one or more containers filled up, you can simply sit each one at a corner of your home. You may need to change the bowls out with fresh white vinegar every 24 hours until the odor dissipates. White vinegar contains acetic acid, a key ingredient that gives it its odor-neutralizing properties.
Talk to your HVAC professional, someone from a place like Advanced Air Quality Services, for more ideas on eliminating odors.