Strange "burning" smell


Old 05-19-01, 05:49 PM
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In recent weeks I've noticed a strange smell which occurs only in my living room - it's intermittent but seems to happen most often in the evenings. It's not exactly a burning smell - the closest description I could give is that it smells like someone's struck a match: in other words an acrid, sulphurous smell.

My first thought was that it's a wiring problem (the house was built in the early 30s and has some aluminum wiring). However, all of the outlets in the room seem to work and none of the faceplates feel hot. All of the light fixtures have the correct amperage bulbs. And, as I mentioned, the smell is not present all the time.

I'd considered having an electrician come to check it out but I'm unsure as to what I'd ACTUALLY be asking him to do. Any ideas or advice?


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Old 05-20-01, 02:03 PM
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Get your sniffer out and start smelling your light fixtures about a 1/2 hour after they are running. Suspect may be a flourescent ballast overheating. If you have any ballasted bulbs in that area such as flourescent then open them up and look for damage or increased smell.

If you find none by all means hurry and call an electrician. You may have a bad connection inside your walls causing this smell due to the melting of insulation of a wire. IF this is happening it may just be a matter of a second or a month or a year before you may be building a new home if you live.

Let us know what you find.

Old 05-20-01, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for the advice. If it is a bad connection in the walls, one thing puzzles me - wouldn't I smell it all the time?

Old 05-20-01, 04:48 PM
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i'm thinking that the smell would be made from electrical usage ( amperage) applied to the circuit. this would be the typical bad connection.
Old 05-28-01, 10:37 PM
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Is it a ceiling light or a ceiling fan and light? I installed a new ceiling fan and light in my kitchen and it smelled hot when ever the light was on. The smell was coming from the rubber bands I put on the globes to dampen the vibration. It eventually quit smelling.
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