Electrical odor

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  #1  
Old 10-06-00, 09:07 PM
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I have a strange, strong, odor that seems to be coming from my bedroom closet ceiling light fixture only when the light is turned on. I have looked in the attic above the fixture to see if an animal got in, but there wasn't and this problem has been going on for over a year now. It started in one closet and has traveled to the other-both in the same bedroom. Please help-I am at a loss for an answer of what to do.
 
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Old 10-06-00, 09:52 PM
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Spend $150 for an electrician to come check it out, or replace a $200,000 house. Seems like a no brainer to me!! From what you are telling us, it could be 'most anything. Whatever it is, it needs to be LOOKED at, and that is something none of us at this web site can do -- LOOK at it!!
 
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Old 10-07-00, 02:24 AM
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DenimBlu52,
I am amazed that your home hasn't burned down. An electrical fire can smolder for days inside a wall or ceiling before it slowly burns through to reach oxygen. (Even after the switch is turned off.)
Then whoose!
My family had an electrical house fire from a fixture in the dining room ceiling when I was a kid. We all managed to get out, but there was a tremendous amount of damage, just from smoke and water. The fire was contained in the dr ceiling.
My mother-in-law had one in the Spring of 1999 caused by old knob-and-tube wiring in her 1888 National Register historic home. The old dear had let her Homeowner's insurance lapse, and lost a German Shepherd and more than $500,000 in fire loss. She was lucky to get out herself.
When you smell smoke, especially electrical smoke that you can't see, cutoff the breaker to the area circuit immediately, and have it checked immediately, as lefty said.
Good Luck!
 
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Old 10-08-00, 08:28 AM
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I suspect that you have a flourescent light in that closet and the ballast is overheating. If you have a flourescent fixture in that closet open the fixture, look at the ballast and see if you see a tar substance leaking out, or if you have tar melted to the inside of the fixture cover.

If no tar melt, smell the ballast and I suspect that you will find the smell.

Hope I hit your source of smell

Wg
 
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Old 10-08-00, 10:39 PM
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The smell in the closet is not a burning smell, it is a smell like oil or a fishy type of odor. The fixture is your standard ordinary single bulb ceramic pull chain fixture.
 
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Old 10-09-00, 02:02 PM
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The only type of smell associated to wiring that I can think of would be the overheating of the old style romex or knob and tube style wiring that if made of a composition such as the wax imbeded paper style insulation. This is usually found in the old cloth style Romex, or BX cable.

I would take down the fixture and look for damaged wiring in the light box. If you install too large of a bulb in your fixture the heat can cause damage in the light box causing the smell you are dicribing. Also if you have a bare bulb style fixture you may have had something in the storage area of your closet that was or is overheating due to exposure to the heat of the closet bulb. The only light allowed in a clothes closet by todays standard is a flourescent fixture with 6" clearance from the front of any shelf or an incadescent with a globe covering the bulb at least 12" from the front of the shelf. These clearance and light limitations in a clothes closet have been in affect clear back in the late 60s and early 70s. No bare bulb has been allowed by the NEC to my knowledge since the late 60s or earlier.

Maybe this will give you some ideas

Wg
 
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