Screen Readers Skip to Content

Get Rid of Heating Oil Spill Smell from House Basement

Published: 2014-04-04 - Updated: 2019-01-22
Author: Disabled World | Contact:

Synopsis: Tips on cleaning up and getting rid of odor from heating oil spills and leaks in your home basement.

Main Digest

Heating oil is a low viscosity, liquid petroleum product used as a fuel for furnaces or boilers in buildings. Home heating oil is often abbreviated as HHO. A heating oil spill should be treated as quickly as possible, for both personal safety and to minimize any lasting effects to your home. Even after clean up, the smell of oil may linger indefinitely.


If you use oil to heat your home, it is not uncommon to sometimes smell heating oil, a pop bottle cap full of heating oil can permeate an entire room and even a single drop is noticeable. If your tank is in the basement of your home, go down and inspect it for leaks immediately. If your tank is inground and you smell oil, it is most likely coming from your furnace, filter, or pipes, and it is a good idea to schedule an appointment ASAP to have your heating system inspected and, if needed, repaired.

There are two types of home fuel oil spills, small and large;

Fuel oil odor can also come from incomplete combustion in the furnace, a bad nozzle, or a bad vent pipe. Have your furnace examined by a professional if you can not find any visible oil leaks.


Fuel oil contains many substances which vary in their toxicity. Short term exposure may cause headaches, nausea and dizziness, prolonged exposure can cause serious health problems. Getting fuel oil on the skin can cause skin irritation. Be aware that infants, small children, certain adults and pets can not tell you that they are suffering from headaches or breathing problems.

Heating Oil Spill Tips

Open basement windows to ventilate the area and turn off all flame and spark sources. Don't smoke or light matches in the area. Extinguish pilot lights on furnaces, water heaters, and gas dryers. Turn off gas appliances that have electronic ignitions. Do not attempt to clean up spilled oil with a shop vac or use any electric appliances or power tools.

For smaller spills

For large oils spills (over a gallon)

For lingering odor after cleanup

If fuel oil spills are promptly and completely cleaned, residual odors should go away after several days. Call a professional cleaning service if you need help with the clean up, or if the fuel oil odors remain.

Who We Are:

Disabled World is an independent disability community established in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, and their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

In Other News:

Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.

Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2014, April 4). Get Rid of Heating Oil Spill Smell from House Basement. Disabled World. Retrieved September 26, 2021 from