Extremely concerned!

enigmaquandryJanuary 8, 2010

I hope that this is posted in the right spot. Last night in our house when I came up from the basement I smelled what smelled to me like hot rubber. Some friends of mine thought it smelled like sharpie, or burn. I am terrified of house fires and we almost called the fire department because of how incredibly strong and sudden the smell was. The weird thing is it wasn't in any of our rooms, it was mostly in the little "hall" in the middle of them all and really the strongest heading up the stairs to the upstairs. We have ruled out everything like any light fixture, heater, appliance, chemical...absolutely nothing new was brought in or done yesterday that could cause it. We immediately turned off all the lights and the furnace and turned them back on maybe an hour later. The smell dissipated and pretty much went away by 1:00am. My husband was really concerned and stayed up all night just to make sure it didn't come back.

Our house was built in 1950 and we have never had a problem with the electrical but it has also not been looked at. Should we be concerned?

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enigmaquandry

...I think I've discovered the source, it's our thermastat in the hallway. I was walking past it and got a whiff and when the heat kicks on the smell (from the thermostat itself, not the vents) gets worse and then gets somewhat less noticeable when it's off. What should we do about this? It really smells like burning plastic, but I don't know if it's wiring behind the thermostat or the unit itself. It's a Totaline.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 12:31PM
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brickeyee

Remove the thermostat and inspect it.

Unless you have a line voltage electric heater thermostat, the voltage should only be 24 volts AC.

Electronic ones often contain electrolytic capacitors, and these do break down with age.

The smell they produce is rather pungent.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 12:49PM
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enigmaquandry

I think that our heater is electric, I'm not sure if that should make a difference, should I have an electrician come? From Kitchen!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 1:19PM
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brickeyee

Looks like an electronic thermostat, but not a line (120/240 V) unit.

Thermostat wiring is very power limited, so just waiting to see if anything happens again should be fine.

The thermostat may continue to operate fine, or may simply not function correctly.

Things like loosing time or settings would be grounds to simply replace it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 3:43PM
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joed

That thermostat has electronic components in it, like TV or radio. Sounds like it is bad. Pop the cover off and you will probably be able to see the burnt up component. The voltages in there are only 24 volts. There little chance of an actual fire but he smell can e pretty string when electronics burn.
Replace it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 11:09PM
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