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Re: [Shop-talk] unnerving burnt smell

To: <>, <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] unnerving burnt smell
From: "" <>
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2007 16:49:56 +0000 (UTC)
It's more the burnt wood smell you get like when you run lumber too 
fast thru a table saw on a dull blade...and no I haven't run the table 
saw for several weeks...and it's in the basement in a separate room to 
itself that does not have a tie to the HVAC. The odor is so faint that 
it is very hard to track down, but it maybe appears to correlate with 
running the HVAC and maybe the water heater at the same time. Both 
units are new this year and both are gas. It was a professional install 
on both systems to verify that they were brought up to latest code. I 
would wonder if there's something with the AC pulling flue exhaust back 
out of the water heater (the systems are connected) except that we have 
a CO monitor in the room that is the problem and it is reading zero.

I haven't given up on electrical issues at all...just have not been 
able to narrow the problem so far. We live out in the county and have a 
contract fire dept...not sure they have a thermal camera to loan but 
will check.

Also ended up with an unrelated emergency with the garage door opener 
that had to be addressed this weekend and so that has been a 
distraction on debugging as well.

Thanks for any ideas...

Mark Noakes

----Original Message----
Date: Jul 8, 2007 6:01 
To: <>
Subj: Re: [Shop-talk] unnerving burnt smell

On Fri, Jul 06, 2007 at 11:52:44AM +0000, wrote:
> I'm getting a very unnevering burnt wood smell in my family room 
that I 
> cannot find the source of. (I haven't run the table saw or the 
> fireplace in quite a while.) It's very faint and not continuous. 
> I do have a gas water heater in the basement/garage, I'm worried 
> something electrical. The house is 19 years old.
> Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can find the source 
> before it becomes disasterous? I guess I'll pull all the outlets in 
> that part of the house this weekend to see if there are any issues.

If your local fire department is unwilling to let you borrow/rent 
thermal imaging camera, you can use a stethoscope to find tiny arcs 
the wiring inside the wall.  A few years ago I used one to chase down 
turned out to be a loose wire nut in a junction box.  

You mentioned that you have a fireplace.  Are you smelling 
burnt/burning wood
or are you smelling the typical ash smell of a chimney with a 
downdraft?  In
my experience they are very different smells (the latter of which 
gives me a headache).


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