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Question DetailsAsked on 2/10/2016

i have an odor coming from my basement that smell almost like skunk mixed with a chemical smell.

The odor was not there earlier. I was washing a load of clothes and after a while I noticed the smell. It's very strong and it almost burns the nostrils. I had to open our Windows but I can still smell it in the house upstairs and downstairs. Could anyone help with this? Do I need to be concerned? The smell is skunklike mixed with a chemical smell.

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1 Answer


Hopefully not continuing or getting stronger - disconnect power to washer by turning off the breaker (do not touch appliance with power on just in case) to be on the safe side. Ditto with dryer if dryer was running - whether gas or electric. If smell is not dissipating pretty obviously I would call the fire department to check it out.

Also - check out your breakear panel to be sure smell is not coming from overheated wiring in that.

Likely one of several things - most likely some clothing item caught in the agitator or drum and friction burned, or burning drive belt - from description of smell likely drive belt though I have smelt stuck clothing with burnt elestic smell like that too. Sometimes burning electronics or wiring insulation can also smell like that, as can burned drum seals.

If a DIY'er you could do some checking in the drums for any clothing item stuck in or under the agitator in washer, or at back or front of drum in either - just opening the unit up might tell you which it was, and if real strong in the drum likely stuck clothing.

If not strong smelling in drum, them smell underneath and over the back - and look down behind and under with flashlight for any signs of burnt material and to tell if smell is real strong there.

Obviously, if you see burnt material underneath or behind and you and family are not up to thoroughly checking it out and wwetting it down to be sure there is nothing still burning, I would call the fire department to come make sure it is safe. Ditto to fire department if your flooring underneath happened to be what was overheating - like scorched artificial flooring like vinyll or linoleum, which can smell like that at times, and can smolder for a long time before bursting into flames.

Also - on the dryer - if you are able to get to it, smell at the outlet of the dryer vent to see if strong smell there - if so, could be burning lint or flexible dryer duct - if strong smell there still again I would call fire department to check that it is safe.

After all that, once any imminent fire haxard is gone, Appliance Repair - Large would be your Search the List category to get a technician to come out and find the cause and fix anything that is broken/burnt - or possibly tell you it is too expensive or burnt to be worth saving, though without actual smoke and flames probably not that bad.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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