accessing . . .

accessing . . .

Home Care Library


QUESTION FROM sagehervan

I live in a apartment and the radiator baseboard was not working and now it is, and the fumes are all through the apartment. Will it go away soon? Or will I have to get a repairman?


Dear sagehervan:

Regarding your question about the smell from your baseboard radiator system, since you said that you are in an apartment and had not used the baseboard system before, there are two things that this could likely be:

1) if the landlord painted the baseboard heating system (either directly, or if paint dripped on the baseboard radiator when the walls or ceilings were painted), then when you turned on the system, the increased temperature could be causing "outgassing" of the paint as it warms up on the surface of the radiator; or

2) if dust has built up on the surfaces of baseboard radiator, then this can have a "musty" smell when your system comes on for the first time in a season.

In either case, if these are the problem then it should go away over time. However if it is because of paint on the radiators, you might want to open the windows to help air out your apartment, rather than breathing the paint fumes. And if it is due to dust build-up on your radiators, you might try using a vacuum attachment to clean off the built up dust.

If the smell does not go away soon, then you (or your landlord) should contact a professional.

Hope this is helpful.


My apartment has old radiators that smell sour or other bad smell. What is that and what can I do to fix this problem.


Dear Maggie:

A couple of thoughts about what could be causing your old radiators to give off a bad sour smell:

1) are there damp surfaces around your radiators that could have become moldy, and then smell badly when they get heated up? If so, you will need to stop the source of this moisture, and dry these areas out completely.

2) has lint, dust, etc. built up on your radiators? Is so, you will want to thoroughly clean your radiators.

3) have your radiators become corroded, and when heated it gives off a foul smell? If so, you will want to check for leaks and treat your radiators to eliminate the corrosion.

Is this helpful?