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Thread: bad smell from gas appliances

  1. #1

    Default bad smell from gas appliances

    I turned on my gas clothes dryer and got an awful oil/fuel smell emanating from it as it heated up. A short time later I preheated the gas oven and ..same thing. Had PG&E out here for 3 hours...no leaks nothing...they left scratching their heads. They thought that maybe (just maybe) there was some sort of breakdown in the gas pipes that were run 10 years ago to support these new appliances..highly unlikely but they were at a loss for any other explanation.
    This morning PGE boss guy calls and says that maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are having wood floors refinished as we sit here! Someone that he worked with said that he had encountered this years ago (same smell situation etc.) and fumes from wood floors were present.
    So..my question is this: has anyone heard of anything (even remotely) similar to this? Does the "mixing of fumes/reacting to gas being burned in appliance" sound plausible at all? Any other ideas or thoughts would be hugely appreciated. This is a head scratcher.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    Interesting question. I have experienced the same odor occasionally and have never figured out where it comes from or why. I is infrequent and doesn't last long. Seems to be strongest in the stairwell between the basement and the ground floor.

  3. #3
    Like an engineer alternety's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Keep in mind that the can of floor finish probably warns you about the fumes being flammable. That means lighting a gas appliance (or pilot light) could be a bad thing.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default gas

    IF there is ANY possibility of it being something involving propane, it is deadly serious. I saw a situation on TV recently when there was a propane leak, but the gas company could not find it because they did not calibrate or test the instrument in clean air so it did not recognize the gas in the building. However, it did react to a small spark and demolished the 6 story building.

  5. #5

    Default nope...no propane

    no propane..we are hoping that as the floors dry and the smell dissapates it will all just go away...weird though.. will update as it goes...

  6. #6
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    S. Maine


    Yes, polyurethane reacts with the gas and produces a pretty nasty smell.

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Is your floor finish water base or spirit based...

  8. #8


    i would guess spirit based....why? does any of this sound familiar?

  9. #9

    Cool beware!! hardwood floor refinishing solvents and gas appliances do not mix

    So it has been almost a week now and the smell from our hardwood floors being refinished has pretty much dissapated....guess what?? no more smell coming from gas appliances! Mystery solved! We were that close to hiring a plumber to start ripping into gas pipes to figure it out...it was that bad! PG&E was at a complete loss.....Whew!!

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member burleymike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    It is funny this came up. My dad painted over some old paneling in his house with an oil based primer. He thought he had good venilation but then when my mom dried clothes she thought the laundry smelled like kerosene burning.

    Even with our electric dryer you could smell the solvents from the floor finish burning. We had this odor for almost a month, I have a feeling that it is from the linseed oil in the urethane since the light solvents evaproate fairly quickly.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010



    I just found this thread. I live in a condo and just had my place painted. On Monday evening, they finished painting rustoleum on the door. I went to use the stove (natural gas) about an hour later and noticed a kerosene smell. I sniffed around the burner, and that seemed to be where it was coming from. When the burner is off, it just smells like paint in the apartment. Last night, same thing. Do you think the kerosene smell coming from my burners is due to the recent painting in the condo?


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