A small heating oil spill in the basement can come up with trigger an awful, nasty smell which can be challenging to get rid of.
The worse part is that if this handled carefully, it could ultimately result in a pungent reek that can last for a very long time.
Though some heating oil spills may require professional help, there are quite a lot of things that you can do to mitigate the effect.
Pay close attention to oil spills on concrete and wood, as their porous nature can lead to absorbing the liquid and odor rather quickly.
5 Common Ways to Remove the Furnace Heating Oil Smell
1. Using a Laundry Detergent
This is by far one of the simplest and most effective ways to get rid of the smell of the oil.
Start off by soaking the oil spill with a soft, dry cloth or a sponge, and sprinkle the detergent powder generously over the affected area. Leave it for around 18-24 hours.
The detergent would soak up fuel oil and turn beige. Brush it up with a dry broom or use a vacuum to suck and discard the remaining residue.
Though this may not eradicate the smell, it would help you to lower the stank quite significantly. Repeat the process, if necessary.
2. White Vinegar
Apart from several mundane purposes, you may have heard about white vinegar being used to absorb smells from closed, dank spaces, such as microwave ovens and wardrobe closets.
The most significant advantage is that it’s not only cheap and omniscient, it is also quite useful in deodorizing places from the smells.
Just pour some white vinegar into some glass bowl and place it in the middle of the area where you’ve noticed some smell.
Lock the door for a couple of weeks. This does take some time, but it will absorb the stank eventually.
3. Grounded Coffee
Fresh, well-grounded coffee can be of great help to remove heating oil smell from the house basement.
Make sure you pour the ground beans on a paper plate and spread it around the area where the oil spill is.
Leave it for around 24 hours, and by the next day, the smell should be gone.
4. Pour Some Clay or Kitty Litter
This is quite effective when it comes to removing odors from highly absorbent places, such as concrete or wooden floor.
Start by putting down some kitty litter which will absorb the moisture from the oil.
Keep it in place for at least a couple of days. You may choose to rub a roller or put on a little weight onto the litter to help it absorb the moisture quickly.
Use a broom or a vacuum to clear the floor. Repeat the process if the floor still seems wet.
5. Acid Cleanup
Using a non-alkaline liquid, such as muriatic acid is one of the least preferred options. But in case nothing else has worked, this may be the last option to succumb to.
Working with muriatic acid is not something very trivial or pleasant to work with, so make sure that you have appropriate precautionary measures in place.
Make sure that the area in which you work is well ventilated. If your house basement is not so, try introducing artificial ventilation in place.
Cover your body with thick protective clothing and your eyes with goggles. Use a surgical mask, in case a gas mask is not available.
Start off by pouring pails of water on the affected surface. Now add in some muriatic acid into the water by the ratio of one is to four.
Stir the mixture gently with a paint stirring stick or a scrub brush. Now rub the brush onto the concrete floor.
Do not pour the mixture directly onto the concrete as this might aggravate the situation further. After around 5-10 minutes, rinse the area with clean water, and brush away any loose materials.
To neutralize the acid, pour a gallon of water into a bucket and mix it with ammonia. Brush the water and ammonia over the clean surface, and rinse with clean water.
Finally, if there’s some acid mix remaining, you’ll need to neutralize it before you’re able to discard it down a sink.
Pour in the mixture to a bucket of water and add in baking soda.
Stir it regularly while you keep on adding in more baking soda, until the point that the contents of the bucket stop fizzing.
At this point, you can safely dispose of the remaining mixture into the drain.
How to Remove Furnace Oil Smell
The reeking smell of the heating oil is not rare, and therefore there are other ways apart from regular synthetic products to remove the reeking smell from the air.
1. Specialty Odor Neutralizer
Removing a furnace oil smells from the basement is quite rampant and there are a bunch of specialty odor neutralizers, which may not be available off the shelves from a local hardware store but can be bought from an HVAC supply house upon request.
2. Enzyme Additives
Multiple enzyme additives can help overcome the heating oil smell from the house basement. Quite often, the company that delivers oil to your place might have it. Check out with them. Apart from that several vendors sell products for removing the odor.
3. Dematiaceous Earth
If kitty litter is not a preference for you, you may choose to go with dematiaceous earth.
As compared to the kitty litter, which clumps up together, sticks to the shoes and causes a mess, dematiaceous earth can be bought for the same price from an auto repair parts shop.
This compound is made up of clay and dead sea critters which makes it feasible to apply on the floor, ground and swept up while removing the usual dirt from the surface.
Make sure that you turn off all the sources electricity and gas that can induce a spark and ultimately result in a fire. Do not smoke or trigger a light anywhere close to the affected area.
Make sure that you don’t use any electric appliance or power tools to suck up the oil spill. This may result in serious injury or even a fatal disaster.
Understanding Heating Oil Spill
A lot of residential residents consider storing the heating oil tanks in the basement.
While this may appear as the most convenient thing to do, they may turn out to be hazardous or even fatal once they start leaking.
This should be treated by the earliest as delays in addressing the issue may lead to permanent damages to your home.
Moreover, there’s a high possibility that even after a thorough clean up the smell may last for a while, or even indefinitely.
Heating oils are usually used to assist in heating the rooms. It is not uncommon that you smell heating oils through your heating device.
Even a small leakage can reek out an overpowering smell that can spread out across the room within a few minutes.
If you notice anything like that, check your heating oil cans in the basement for possible leakage.
In case your oil tanks are placed on the ground, and you sense the smell of oil, then it’s quite likely that it is coming from the heating furnace or pipes.
Switch off the heating system immediately and call up an HVAC technician to have an appointment booked so that he can look through the heating system, and if needed suggest a repair or service.
The Magnitude Of Heating Oil Smell From The House Basement
Heating oil spills in the residential basements can vary from being small to large.
Smaller oil spills happen when there’s a small hole or crevice in the oil tank, filter or pipes (primarily due to some manufacturing defect or overuse).
On the other hand, massive oil spills occur when basement oil tanks get overfilled, or an attempt is made to displace, overturn or transfer the fuel to another vessel, and a considerable amount is wasted or leaked onto the surface.
Large spills can be tough to clean up, and you might require professional assistance to clean up.
The oil spill odor may not be necessarily because of accidental damage. It may also be attributed to incomplete oil combustion in the furnace, a defected nozzle or a broken vent pipe.
If leakage isn’t the primary or evident issue, you may get your heat furnace checked by a professional for a fix.
Remember that fuel oils are toxic and can impact upon your skin health varying upon their varying level of toxicity.
Special care needs to be taken if you are dealing with the oil leakage on your own.
Short term exposure may lead to headache, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Long term exposure may lead to serious health problems. Make sure you keep your children and pets far away from the site of impact.
Cleaning Up the Heating Oil Spill
Smaller Oil Spills
- Start off by removing the bigger mess: discard any materials that have been affected by the soaking oil – rugs, carpets, magazines or clothes.
- Sprinkle absorbent materials like sawdust or kitty litter over the area which has been affected with the oil spill.
- Once the oil has been soaked, transfer the oil into garbage bags with a shovel. Use some detergent along with hot water to clean up the area, including floor, walls, and appliances
Larger Oil Spills
- Do not attempt to clean the large spills on your own. Contact the fire department or connect with AVAC experts to assist you with this.
- Seek professional assistance as this may have potential health and environmental impact and repercussions.
- Attempting to clean large oil spills on your own can not only be fatal, but it can also lead to worsening and aggravating the issue further.
Based on the magnitude and the promptness with which the oil spill is addressed, the cleanup should be possible within a few days.
There may be instances where a permanent reddish pool of spot is left behind. You may want to refurbish the site again once the oil removal has been done.
The removal of smell from the house basement shouldn’t be an issue either if you are agile and taking the right steps to mitigate the problem.
If you’re facing issues with the cleanup, or in case it’s too big to handle, call up a professional to assist you with the setup.
The professional can assist you with the removal of the tank, recover oil and transfer the useful stuff from the leaking tanks to the storage totes.
They can even help you with absorbing the oil from the surface, usually with some granular clay absorbent throughout the basement, document the tank condition for the insurance company, including monitoring the holes, vents and pipes – anything leading to the source of oil leakage.
Once the oil tank has been removed and properly disposed of, the environmental drill rig would take some soil samples to measure and monitor the level of impact on the soil.
This would involve digging a small caveat or hole in the ground to understand how far oil has seeped into the ground beneath the basement floor.
Installation of the recovery well would help excavate the contaminated soil and cleaned with hot water to clear the surface. The soil excavation is done using a high-pressure vacuum system. Once everything is removed and assured free of contamination, the emergency response team would fill up the surface and smoothen it with concrete.
There may be times when the whole process takes more than a day or two. However, the removal of the heating oil smell from the house basement may take a week or two, depending on how well-ventilated space is.
This may be quite an ordeal and a pain to deal with. Make sure that all your heating appliances, oil tanks, and pipes are regularly checked and maintained.
A little carelessness can lead to a big disaster and can pronounce great damage to your wallet as well as your physical well-being.