Question about Whirlwind FH-778 Air Conditioner
For the past week and a half I have had a very heavy exhaust smell in my apartment, which seems to be coming from the A/C vents. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and burns my eyes. This smell also gives me awful headaches. It is stronger right after the A/C kicks on, and right before it switches off. I have a combo Lennox A/C and furnace. I had a maintenance man come and he changed the filter, which was filthy (apartments responsibility, and I've been here two years and it has never been done, and I never thought to do it before). He looked and could not find a problem in the A/C, vents, no bird's nests, etc. The smell got worse. I called the gas company (no CO leaks supposedly) and they found what they called a 'small' gas leak, which was supposedly fixed by maintenance. The smell went away for almost a day after the repair took place. Now it comes and goes again with the cycling of the A/C. It does not smell like natural gas. It smells like auto exhaust. There was no idling auto outside anywhere when the smell started, and has been none since. We have no attached garage. Today I got so frustrated with the smell, I opened the furnace/A/C and hot water heater closet to vacuum out the lint and dust which was abundant. At that time, I noticed that there are three copper looking lines coming or going, from or to the A/C unit itself. All are leaking a clear oily substance. One has water condensation, yet all three are oozing oil at the connections. Is this normal? Because the maintenance man told me he checked EVERYTHING, yet as soon as I opened the closet door the leaking lines were right in front of my face. The maintenance man and the two gas company techs told me that a gas leak would not give me a headache, nor would it cause burning eyes and throat. Nobody would admit smelling any exhaust type smell. They have basically told me that I need to go see my doctor and find out why I am having 'phantom' smells. Today I went and got my neighbor to come smell my apartment. He said it smells like spent diesel fuel to him. So, while I have a witness to the smell, I can't convince maintenance that there is a problem. He is supposed to be certified in HVAC, but I am having doubts. How can I convince someone that there is a smell when they can't smell it themselves? Have you ever heard of such a thing from an A/C unit? Any advice will be so greatly appreciated! That you so much for your time. PS: I have an incredibly good sense of smell...always have.
I'm having a similar problem but with a home a/c unit. I had every appliance in the house checked, first, including furnace, but no problems were found. I get similar symptoms, many people can't smell anything, a few can. Someone visiting asked me in September if my furnace was on because it was a slight mechanical/ozone-y smell. I'm about to drop a lot of money on a VOC test because this has been going on for 8 months with no solutions.
It's cold comfort, because I have no solution, but if I figure out what my problem is, I'll post it here, too.
Posted on Oct 26, 2013
First of all, I work around maintenance men alot. I am an HVAC tech and if it is one thing I've never seen is a maintenance man certified in HVAC. It takes a college degree and if he had one he wouldn't be working as a maintenance man for 1/2 the pay. As for your
"leak" All a/c systems in residential applications use refrigerant to remove heat and cool the inside coil in your air handler/furnace. The gas is non toxic, non smelling and will only give you a headache if you inhale high concentrations (you'd have to be doing this intentionally ie...huffing). As for seeing an oily substance around the fittings on your refrigerant lines. No, this is not normal, unless the maintenance man sprayed soap bubbles and you think it's oil. Soap bubbles are commonly used to detect leaks in sealed systems (a/c coils and fittings). If, in fact it is oil, that is a sign of a leak but generally to the untrained eye, it is harder to spot this oily substance, it is usually best spotted because dirt sticks to the oil and techs recognize that. There is virtually nothing in an a/c and furnace that would result in what you are discribing. Everyone knows what natural gas smells like and if the man had a meter...
Posted on Jul 29, 2009
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