Having issues with paint and oil fumes getting in garage air handler
I had been saving for several years to completely remodel my house from top to bottom.
I wanted new vinyl flooring in every room and even planned to knock down an entire wall to increase the size of my living room. But, I ran into a problem when I started to get the work done—my asthma was acting up considerably when my lungs came into contact with the various chemical fumes, loads of plastic and wood saw dust in the air, and VOCs from all of the building materials. I thought my asthma had abated in my childhood but this new remodeling project brought it back in full force. I considered staying in a hotel but realized quickly how impractically expensive that would be from the jump. Instead, I started looking at furnished vacation rentals, turn-key properties that you rent month to month instead of annually. I found this beautiful house in a nearby neighborhood and quickly signed the lease to move over as soon as possible. But within a matter of days I was bothered by a chemical smell coming from the air conditioner vents in the house. It increased each day from then on and I spent somewhere close to four hours after work each night researching possible explanations for the odor. To my luck, I found a blog post about contamination with air handlers, specifically cases where elderly couples died in their sleep from accidentally leaving their cars running in their closed garages. The carbon monoxide from the exhaust slowly entered their air handlers through tiny leaks and soon blasted their house with the odorless deadly gas. Maybe there are chemicals near the air handler in the garage, I thought to myself. That’s when I discovered a shut storage cabinet full of oil-based paint directly underneath the air handler. The fumes hit my face hard the second I opened the storage container. Thankfully, the property owner had a shed in the backyard where I could store the paint until I moved out. Just like I expected, the odor dissipated within a day after removing the paint.