This weekend, we had our fuel oil furnace replaced with a natural gas one. The oil furnace broke near the end of the winter and we were waiting for a deal to kick in on a whole new furnace + A/C unit. The house was already piped for natural gas for our water heater and stove.

In addition to removing the old oil furnace, the team took out the 250 gallon tank from the basement that housed our fuel. To reduce the weight of the tank, the team removed 20 gallons by filling up four, five gallon portable tanks. We aren't sure how much fuel was left in the tank at that point, but we feel like it was pretty low. I wasn't downstairs when they were draining out some of the fuel, but they said that one of the tanks overflowed. I am not sure how badly it overflowed and the team said they used a 'degreaser' to clean it up. We live in Missouri where fuel oil heating sources are very rare so the team doing the install didn't have a lot of experience taking out fuel oil furnaces. They did a really awesome, professional job for the rest of the install and even helped hammer out part of our basement wall and re-run some vent tubing that wasn't up to code on our water heater.

During the whole process, it smelled very strongly of diesel fuel in our house. We thought this would go away. It has not. The removal occurred on Saturday and it still smell strongly of fuel on Monday. We are starting to worry because some of our linens are starting to take on this odor. Yesterday, we scrubbed the concrete where the tank was and where we presume the spill occurred with vinegar, soap and water. We then sprayed the concrete with vinegar and added some baking soda a few hours later. When we removed the resulting paste a few hours after that, it smelled strongly of fuel. After that, we weren't sure what to do next, so we just sprinkled a ton of baking soda on the floor. We have fans, an air purifier and a dehumidifier running in the basement. It is a walkout basement so we're planning on opening the door and running fans to blow out the door tonight. We held off on this because it is about 95 degree here. The basement windows cannot be opened.

Does anyone have experience converting from oil to natural gas heat and the resulting smells that occur from breaking down the old unit, draining the old tanks and any possible spills that occur in the process? Is this something that is expected or do we need to call some kind of specialty clean-up company before all of our beds, couches, etc...take on this smell? Are there any home remedies that we can use to help get rid of the cause of the smell?


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