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Question DetailsAsked on 9/12/2016

Weird burning smell (kinda like burning rubber but not quite the same) only from vent in first floor condo bedroom

Just moved into a condo on the first floor, the master bedroom vent occasionally (like once a week only on the weekends) emits a burning smell that I can't quite describe. At first we thought it was happening when we ran the washer, but then it happened last night while running the dishwasher. We have the A/C set to auto, so its turning off and on all the time so we assumed it wasn't the problem since it never seemed to generate the smell on its own. Could it be the combination of running the ac and washer/dryer/dishawasher simulatneously?

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1 Answer


Unless there is a burning smell from the washer or dishwasher (which you should smell near them too), then I would guess you have wiring getting hot and the smell is getting into the ducts somehow. Dishwasher use causing it could be something burned onto the heating element in the bottom if you are using the power-dry function.

Also smell around the breaker panel for any hot or burning smell.

Another possibility which is common - hair dryer use in bathroom causing an electrical overload, either combined with or coincidental with the washer/dishwasher/dryer power demand.

Since only on weekend when you presumably are using more power than other times, I would have an electrician check for overloading in individual circuits, or perhaps an overall overload in the breaker panel with multiple devices running at same time.

If ONLY when clothes dryer is running (one of your main power demands) could be a wiring problem with that, or if running with washer/dishwasher/range so higher total power demand could be a breaker box overload.

Or could be burning plastic or seal or synthetic fabric in the dryer or the flax vent behind it, or burning because the vent is blocked - check at the outlet of the dryer vent ducting for good airflow when on, and smell there for the odor. Could be dryer and/or dryer vent ducting needs cleaning. Also - if you have kids - crayons that make it into the wash in pockets cause a sort of rubbery burning plastic smell - as do some toys like toy trucks and cars that do go a dryer drive.

Obviously, professional for this depends on the source - Dryer vent cleaning if burning material in dryer/vent; Appliance Repair - Large if appliance itself is producing the smell, otherwise Electrician.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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