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Question DetailsAsked on 10/15/2016

how to eliminate nauseating headache causing smell of tremco 830 sealant used to install replacement dryer vent ?

The guy used Tremco 830 which is a thermoplastic elastomeric sealant to install a replacement dryer vent in our small laundry room (with no windows). The smell is terrible & causing us to have headaches & feel ill. We contacted him; he said it would take 4-5 days to dry. It was installed Wed 6 pm; it is Saturday 10 am & there is no improvement. Since Wed we have left the back door open to get fresh air in the room, are running two large fans, have tried a commercial odor absorber, bowels of vinegar, bowls of baking soda, and just put out boxes of cat litter this am. At night we have to close the door; in the am the smell is still overpowering. We contacted the makers of the 830 product & no help from them. 1. any dyi suggestions on how to reduce the smell? 2. should we be worried that this product is toxic? 3. when will it be safe to use the dryer? will dryer heat make it worse?. 4. any other suggestions? advice is appreciated. Thank you in advance. We are worried & have headache

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2 Answers

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Yesah - Tremco 830 and similar are standby's for many handymen, window and door installers, siding contractors, etc. - andit is NASTY smelling, and as I recall is NOT recommneded for interior uses - exterior only due to the solvent odor.


After airing room out with fans to reasonable level (just in case the initial concentration of solvents is high enough to be explosive or flammable) I would run the dryer for several loads of clothes - will make the smell worse intially due to heating of the sealant but will promote drying and outgassing of the solvent faster, and running the dryer (which takes its air from the room) will remove the smell from the air at the same time as it is running. I would run only grubby clothes, towels, etc just in case you get a bit of residual smell from the sealant in them from the air in the room.


Alternative - throw a couple of towels or old blankets or such in dryer and run LONG cycle on medium heat - for several hours - to cure the sealant faster. Preferably when you are not having dinner guests over or such. Might take several cycles to show significant improvement.


Another option - use a small non-oscillatiing fan, pull out dryer and disconnect the hose where convenient, put the fan right in front of the hose or duct, and let the fan run to exhaust air from the room through the dryer vent to the outside - thereby blowing any smell inside the duct outside, and exhausting air from the room through the duct, cutting down on the ambient odor in the room and house. Might take several more days before the smell clears.


If you can see places where the sealant is exposed indoors - if tacky still and not in a place where it will be objectionable, cover the exposed part with saran wrap - will stick and probably venver come off though. If not tacky still, could try covering with duct tape - bearing in mind will leave some sticky mess behind because the solvent will likely make the adhesive on the tape partly soften and get gummy.


IF this was used only outdoors (say at the vent hood) and smell is coming in through the dryer vent to the house, red-tag the dryer (and unplug it) and disconnect the dryer hose and plug it with a rag. Plastic bag over the end MIGHT work - but the sealant solvents might also dissolve the bag - hence rag suggestion. If outside vent is only place where smell is getting in, if full-opening at outlet (like has a flapper) might be able to tape over the opening with plastic baggie to keep smell from getting from outside to inside, if that is where it is coming from.


Make sure to red-tag dryer and unplug if disocnnecting or blocking vent, and clear everything away and remove any rag or plastic bag when putting it back together to avoid any fire hazard.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

Thank you LCD for your detailed response. Much appreciated. Your kindness in responding is what makes Angie's List great.


The installer didn't come into the house/laundry room but put a new replacement vent for the dryer. It is a good size for a vent, round plastic with a lid on top to keep out birds/animals. I communicated with him this morning and he said he used about 1/2 thick layer on the vent but said he used a lot of it.


I finally got my calls/email returned from the company. The man was from health and safety. He said not to run the gas dryer using heat but to run it using the cool setting as a means of blowing the smell outside. He expressed concerns about the combination of heat, the solvent and gas. He also said no open flames or matches by the solvent--which we wouldn't have done anyways. He said he would follow up with technical services about when it would be OK to use gas dryer on the heat setting.


We were wondering if using the heat of the dryer would speed up the process but he thought it would just make the smell worse and expressed concerns because it is a gas dryer but said he thought it might be OK if it had been an electric dryer. I'm sorry that I didn't specify in my original post that it was a gas dryer.


Thanks again LCD for your insights.


Answered 2 years ago by smellproblem

0
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As I read this, the sealant was used only at the vent hood - on roof or on wall outside. I am guessing, since smell is so strong, maybe right outside the laundry room wall ? In which case, if you can access the duct where it passes through the wall (where caulk/sealant is right outside) you could recaulk that opening through the wall on the inside with latex caulk to seal the Tremco smell out. If roof vent not much you can do there easily - though going up on roof and overcoating with latex caulk would reduce the smell if it is exterior caulk coming into the vent. A lot of the ability to solve the smell depends on whether the smell is coming in through the dryer vent, or is from the caulk AROUND the vent leaking directly to the room. Note that overcaulking it with latex caulk will not totally kill the smell - just reduce it's concentrtion - but also will stretch out the curing time because it will take longer for the solvents in the Tremco to evaporate. Will also make it slower-curing, so the weather resistant (especailly important if on roof) would also be reduced, so a catch-22 there.


The only other thing you can do on the former is keep a positive pressure on the duct by running the dryer or disconnecting it and putting a fan right at the inlet of the duct to keep air blowing from the room through the duct.


If the smell is coming from the exposed sealant around the duct, directly to the room, then overcaulking with latex caulk or duct taping it should cut down the odor a lot.


I would definitely air out the laundry room (with external fan blowing into room, not placed in the room directly) to reduce the solvent smell in the laundry room BEFORE running the dryer - because if the solvent buildup is at explosive levels (backed into the dryer through the vent hose) you could have an explosion just from starting the dryer, heat or no heat - just from the starting circuitry/solenoids operating.


Then running the dryer - might run on air (fluff) only initially to get the airflow started through the duct and air out the fumes in it, but I would go to gentle/delicate (low-heat) setting after a minute or two, because heat is definitely going to evaporate the solvent (cure the caulk) faster. The heat going out the dryer vent is only about 100 degrees anyway at low temp, so I don't see any fire/explosion risk from that. High temp can reach nearer 125-160 degrees at the outlet, depending on how long a duct run there is to the sealant point - so that could potentially get into the fire/explosive range for sealant solvent, especially if a very short vent run to the hood.


It is going to take a long time of airflow to cure this caulk - especially if cool outside - and probably not a good idea to run the dryer for real long periods of time, so I would suggest the disconnecting the dryer and putting a small fan directly in front of it to keep airflow running through the ducting continuously for a couple of days.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD




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