Michigan Strange odor from new units

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by AMI Contracting, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I spoke with a friend of a friend yesterday who had a new home built with 5 heat pumps in it. Recently the units began emiting a strong body odor type smell.
    He did get some factory reps out who opened the windows, ran all the units simultaneously for an hour and when his loop temp (EWT) dropped declared the loops the problem as .....somehow.......short loops create condensation ergo bacteria. "After all the loop temp should never change if designed correctly."

    I suggested that artificial load/operating conditions makes for artificial results. So while I don't buy their explanation, I can't imagine what is causing the stink in these things.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    It could be air born reacting with the coil coating.
     
  3. geoxne

    geoxne Active Member Forum Leader

    Maybe dry and unvented condensate traps sucking air from poorly chosen drain termination (ie. sewer gas, nasty sump pit and so on)?
    Or an old Italian grinder the plumber left in the return air duct?
     
  4. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    LOL @ geoxne. Much better ideas.

    Mark
     
  5. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    W_W or W_A? If W-W, what temps are they running at? Obviously the reps did not have much of a clue, they should be aware of the fact that heat can only be transferred by creating a temperature differential. Obviously the loops need to drop to extract heat from the ground. As you always say, more info is needed.
    What is the smell like? More like rotten italian sausage....or some burning/rubber melting smell?
     
  6. ACES-Energy

    ACES-Energy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    electric heaters?

    other parts of the house having work done in them and starting to move that stench into the ducting (ie. finishing floors, etc)?

    trap tied into house sewer system?
     
  7. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I had a bird getting in the ductwork, and died. Did not smell good either....
     
  8. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Is this a case of the infamous "dirty sock" syndrome? I can't imagine how anyone could blame the loops or make the statement that "loop temp never changes..."

    I've experienced both "death in the ductwork" (Not my project, praise be...) and untrapped sewer gas (Blower door test on a house being renovated...I won't do THAT again...)
     
  9. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Water to air Doc. I've not been to the, but the client suggested the strong was of body odor. There are 5 units in this house and more than one smells so critter or sock in the duct is easily ruled out. Not sure about the drain trap thing it is a good suggestion.
    H/O did say the strong was nearly overpowering when they took the door off a unit. I suggested they find a carpet cleaner guy who advertises odor mitigation.

    Thanks all for your thoughts.
     
  10. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    "dirty sock" refers to the quality of the smell, not the source. Could be a common thread of an indoor pollutant ending up in / reacting with all coils / trays.
     
  11. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I get what you are saying Curt. I offered advice over the phone and from the sounds of it this job has been a little harry. The homeowner is on their second contractor already and the equipment has had some issues. Hoping the folks get it worked out.
     
  12. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I agree that when it gets hairy we either get boots on the ground or stay clear. I always tell energy audit clients to stay with their current provider if they are pleasing, but I don't pass up opportunities to sow a bit of doubt. I call it "touch and go" Incumbent might say "drive-by shooting"...
     

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