Heating Oil

Why Do I Smell Heating Oil in My House?

The smell of heating oil greeting you as you walk into your house can be alarming. The distinct odour can signal various issues, ranging from minor spills to potentially serious problems with your heating system. Not only is the strong smell of heating oil in your house unpleasant, but it can also raise concerns about safety and health.

Understanding why this smell lingers in your house is crucial. Plus, discovering effective elimination methods ensures a safe and comfortable living space. Delve into the possible reasons behind this odour and learn how to tackle it for a healthier home environment.

Why Do You Smell Heating Oil in Your House?

The smell occurs as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the heating oil evaporate and spread into the air. Identifying the source of this smell is crucial to solve the problem effectively. Various reasons could lead to the release of the heating oil odour, such as:

Central Heating Leaks

When your oil-based central heating systems develop leaks, it can result in the noticeable scent of heating oil indoors. Leaks in tanks, pipes, or connections are typically responsible for this odour. These leaks may occur due to corrosion, damage, or regular wear and tear in the system’s components. Addressing these leaks promptly eliminates the odour and prevents potential environmental risks and inefficiencies in the system.

Problems with Your Oil Furnace or Boiler

Problems with your oil furnace or boiler can disrupt efficient heating in your home. When these systems don’t function properly or encounter malfunctions, they might cause incomplete combustion of heating oil. These issues can result in an odour, indicating issues with burning oil or inadequate airflow. 

Heating Oil Spills

Oil spills can sometimes be accountable for the smell of heating oil in homes. These spills may happen during tank refills and can leave a lingering smell that permeates indoor spaces. The odour tends to persist, impacting the overall indoor environment long after the spillage occurs. Proper cleanup and maintenance are essential to eliminate this smell and ensure a fresher indoor atmosphere.

It’s a good idea to invest in a bunded heating oil tank to prevent the likelihood of fuel spills.

Is the Smell of Heating Oil Dangerous?

Short term exposure to heating oil isn’t dangerous. However, prolonged exposure to high concentrations of heating oil fumes can lead to health problems. Inhaling these fumes can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and respiratory irritation. Additionally, a heating oil spill or leak can contaminate the environment, posing risks to soil and groundwater.

To prevent long-term health risks, identify and resolve the source of the heating oil fumes as quickly as possible. Upon detecting the smell, inspect for signs of leaks or spills to rule out any underlying issues. If you’re unable to locate the source, seek immediate professional assistance. Contact certified HVAC technicians or environmental cleanup services for a safe and effective resolution.

What Does Heating Oil Smell Like?

Heating oil emits a distinct odour, often described as a mix of diesel and kerosene. People often compare the smell to a strong, oily, chemical-like fragrance that’s overwhelming and persistent. The scent is easily recognisable, and can seep into various materials within your home. 

How to Get Rid of a Heating Oil Smell in Your House

The smell of oil can be bothersome and alarming. That said, prompt action and preventive measures can effectively mitigate its presence in your home. After addressing the primary cause of the odour, consider these measures to prevent it from lingering:

  1. Ventilate your home. Open all windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate through the house. Use fans to help direct the airflow towards the outside.
  2. Clean the affected area. Wipe down surfaces, especially those near the source of the odour, with a mixture of vinegar and water or with baking soda. These substances can help absorb and neutralise odours.
  3. Wash fabrics. Launder any washable fabrics like curtains, linens, and clothing that may have absorbed the smell.
  4. Use air purifiers. Consider using air purifiers equipped with activated carbon or HEPA filters to help eliminate odours from the air.
  5. Arrange professional cleaning. Hire professionals with specialised equipment to clean ductwork or any areas that may have absorbed the oil smell. This tip is especially useful if the source of the smell was a spill or leak.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Future Heating Oil Smells

Schedule Maintenance Services

Ensure that your heating system undergoes regular maintenance by a qualified technician. These services include cleaning, inspecting for leaks, and replacing any worn-out components.

Discover our oil boiler care and heating oil tank maintenance services conducted by OFTEC registered engineers.

Conduct Regular Inspections

Periodically check your heating oil tank for signs of leaks, corrosion, or damage. Address any issues immediately to prevent leaks that could lead to odours.

Explore our expert oil boiler maintenance guide created to help you take better care of your heating system.

Purchase High-Quality Fuel

Purchase high-quality heating oil from reputable suppliers. Lower quality oil might contain more impurities that can lead to stronger odours when burned.

Learn about the high quality heating oil we supply to homes up and down the country.

Install Alarms and Sensors

Consider installing oil leak detectors or alarms near your heating system or oil tank. Such technology can alert you to potential leaks or issues before they become significant problems.

We recommend using our FoxRadar Heating Oil tank monitor. This handy device tracks oil levels and can alert you to potential issues, such as leaks or sudden drops in oil levels.

Our expert team is available to help with any heating oil questions or concerns, no matter how big or small. If you detect the smell of heating oil in your home and are unsure of what steps to take, get in touch. We’ll swiftly assist you in resolving the issue.

Sign up to our newsletter

*Required field

Thank you!

Please wait while your order is submitted. Do not try to submit again.