Home Inspection Sniffs Out Burning Odor From Electrical Fixture

 If a light fixture gives off a burning smell, disconnect the fixture until you have determined the source of the odor. Overheating electrical wires and devices often emit a burning smell. Don’t use the fixture again until a professional has inspected and repaired it. A fluorescent fixture may have a ballast that has failed and is spilling tar. For typical incandescent light fixtures, the burning smell may occur if you’re using an oversized bulb. Check the rating of the fixture and the wattage of the bulb. The rating will be inside the fixture, near the bulb. Never exceed the wattage recommended. You might also have a loose electrical connection at the splice or in the outlet box, or a loose screw or lamp base. A loose connection can create excessive resistance to electrical flow, and the resistance causes heat. Excessive heat makes metal connections expand and contract, loosening them further. This heat can damage insulation and even start a fire. Sometimes, when such excessive heat melts plastic, the problem area emits a misleading “dead animal” smell. If you notice any strong smells near outlets, electrical boxes, or light fixtures, they may be due to an electrical problem. Call an electrician to evaluate and fix the problem. In the meantime, do not use electrical power in that area.

Rick Erickson, Home Inspector, HomePro Home Inspections. Rochester MN, Southeastern, MN. 507-202-8942. http://www.homepro-inspection.com


Rick was very helpful when buying our first home.  He walked through every inch and tested everything in his path.  He was able to explain in detail why things needed to be looked at or checked.  I would recommend Rick to anyone that needs to have a home inspection.  Thanks again!

Steph & Chris A, Rochester, MN

As first time home owners there are a lot of new things for us to learn.  You pointed out and taught us a lot about the home during the home inspection.  We are so glad Shelli referred you!  Thanks for all your help.  We also love the Basic Home Systems book.

Amanda & Siva N, Rochester, MN

Thank you for being so flexible with your schedule.  We couldn’t have been happier with the home inspection.  Rick walked us through every detail of the home.  Thank you.

Megan O, Patrick G. Rochester, MN


Call and schedule your inspection today 507.202.8942