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Thread: Oil soot damage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Oil soot damage

    We experienced damage from oil burner soot that backed up into the house. We're told the problem has now been fixed, by replacing the fire chamber and the installation of a negative pressure cutoff switch. We do have CO detectors, and they have never signaled a problem. There is still oil soot in the crawlspace and on the walls of the house. Is the oil soot in the crawlspace in danger of spreading back up into the house this winter, or will it stay adhered to the wood surfaces in the crawlspace? The system circulates the heat via hot water, so there are no vents to clean, but the soot came up through any hole it could find in the floor and through the electrical outlets. Cleaning the crawlspace would be a huge job, but I'd like to know before repainting the interior. I'll ask the painters: Is there any hope that a good primer is all that I'll need before painting?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Oil soot damage

    Will offer a few comments for what they're worth.

    If those are First Alert CO detectors or some other cheapy brand, I'd advise you toss them and get a Nighthawk brand or better. Judging from your descriptions, they should have gone off...and then some.

    The soot in the crawl will/should stay in the crawl. It won't likely be any fun for those who have to service the equipment cause they'll get it on themselves, but.....that's kinda expected by those who service fuel oil fired equipment. Same for chimney sweeps. It's why many of them wear black clothes. On the other hand....if you don't clean the crawl....the odor of the fuel oil/soot in the crawl *may* infiltrate the living quarters. Depends. Only time will tell.

    You'll have to clean the soot off the walls/surfaces you intend to paint. Primer alone won't cut it. Wash all the surfaces with TSP or Dirtex and then rinse well. Might well take more than one washing to get it really clean. IME, the Dirtex works just as well as the TSP if not better. I would try it first. No scrubbie pads should be necessary. Sponges and the like should suffice. Change cleaning mixture water frequently.

    Fact is...cleaning the hard surfaces with these products *should* put you right back to where you were before the soot incident. As for the carpet and fabric covered furniture...contact an appropriate cleaning service for that stuff.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 09-09-2008 at 10:10 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Oil soot damage

    Thanks for the prompt feedback. I got caught up in other projects, and now the painters are here. They're insisting the oil-based primer will cover the damage, but I've cleaned what I can reach, just in case. (We have a high, slanted ceiling.) At the painter's suggestion, I used Spray 9, a heavy-duty degreaser. I realize my question has now morphed into one more appropriate for the painting discussions, but I just wanted to follow up, and thank you again.

    Wish me luck!

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