Question Weird question - is there anything that would come out an exhaust fan that would be bad to breathe?

Dec 9, 2021
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Reading the title I realize I sound like a murderer-in-planning, but I've been having breathing problems as of late.

I had exercise-induced asthma very rarely as a kid, and since then only touched my inhaler once in the next ten years at the very start of the pandemic, when I got a mild case of COVID, or what I assume was COVID based on the symptoms - tests were not yet available and if you didn't need hospitalization they wanted you to stay home, so I did.

About... August? This year, I bought a Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K - I have upgraded it from it's base 4 GB of RAM to 16, and added an additional SSD. However... at some point I began to feel a bit of a... tight, burny kind of feeling in my throat when I leaned over the laptop. I'm not sure exactly when this started. It's been a few months. I have investigated what this could be more than once. Occasionally I'll catch kind of an odor - but not one that I would call a scent of burning. There is no smoke. My mother has caught a whiff just once during one of these little laptop burps, and she said she almost got a sweet smell out of it. To me it smells a bit... gassy? Like fossil fuels, almost? Sweetish plastic? It's like it hits my nose and throat like bus exhaust would, but it is otherwise completely incomparable to such a bad inhale. It's very hard to describe.

In the time following whatever reaction this is, I have begun reacting to something(s) else in my environment really badly - I had a strange, out of the blue asthma attack the night after Halloween, and about a month later I am using a nebulizer 3-4 times a day, taking a daily inhaler and antiallergen, and generally having a really really bad time. I have cleaned inside my laptop multiple times - I even went in and repasted the GPU, because I can feel the fans blowing (I also have my laptop propped up so the vents are higher off the table and I'm trying to angle the screen so it doesn't blow air at my face from the exhaust), but that didn't really seem to do much? Certainly it made me flinch at the amount of paste that had been there to begin with, but otherwise I feel like I don't have any options on how to convince my laptop not to hurt me. I've checked with hardware software, and that reports that everything is operating as it should - temperatures are getting a little higher than I'D like personally, but looking around the internet it doesn't seem like this series runs particularly cool. I'm basically religious with drivers because I want to make sure everything is running like it should be - but has anyone heard of anything like this before? The fan has been recently cleaned, so was the keyboard, I wiped the whole exterior with isopropyl alcohol, and I'm kinda choking on some fume!

Any insight would be appreciated, thank you
 
only if one of your components was severely overheating or actually burning up and even then it would only last until the actual component died totally.
and in this scenario a modern system would crash/shutdown before this would get too bad due to the failed component.

it's possible that a lower quality system could have some plastic or silicon that would heat up and smell a bit but nothing near what would be dangerous to breathe.

i've seen some systems that had been in use for a while and/or in really bad locations that had accumulated a lot of dust buildup and then sometimes you would be able to smell that heating, but never actually burning that i've experienced.
 
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Dec 9, 2021
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only if one of your components was severely overheating or actually burning up and even then it would only last until the actual component died totally.
and in this scenario a modern system would crash/shutdown before this would get too bad due to the failed component.

it's possible that a lower quality system could have some plastic or silicon that would heat up and smell a bit but nothing near what would be dangerous to breathe.

i've seen some systems that had been in use for a while and/or in really bad locations that had accumulated a lot of dust buildup and then sometimes you would be able to smell that heating, but never actually burning that i've experienced.
That's sort of what I assumed, but I felt like I should check?? I think I developed an allergy to something in my environment and became really, really sensitive to everything - I'm starting to think that the main issue is that I've just become so wildly sensitive to everything that just the fan of my laptop pulling air in from the surroundings and blowing it in my direction, at a high frequency because my laptop gets hot, that I am uncomfortable from just... The air that has already been around me being blown at my face. I've just gotten a cooling pad for the laptop because A. this was intensely uncomfortable and B. it's just better for the laptop, and that has definitely made a difference - I'm not hearing the fan working so much anymore and during my simple testing with monitoring the temp. with and without the cooling pad I've definitely noticed a big difference. It's brought the "ceiling" of heat down maybe 10 degrees? Overall it's just running at a much better temperature for its longterm usage and I'm not getting blasted with a concentrated beam of whatever allergen is putting me on a nebulizer.

Thanks for the answer, though, I've become JUST a little paranoid about everything around me because we haven't identified what is causing these health issues for me, so it's a relief to get reassurance that my laptop ISN'T murdering me! Ty!!!!!
 
my sister had a similar sounding issue in a house they had purchased.
was fine for the first few years but the carpet was 40+ years old and had started to rot.
each time anyone shuffled through the house the particles/dust of the deteriorating carpet would kick up into the air and she would suffer serious allergy-type symptoms.
removed the carpet for wood flooring and after another week her symptoms had disappeared.
 
Reactions: OhThatsNotGood
Dec 9, 2021
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my sister had a similar sounding issue in a house they had purchased.
was fine for the first few years but the carpet was 40+ years old and had started to rot.
each time anyone shuffled through the house the particles/dust of the deteriorating carpet would kick up into the air and she would suffer serious allergy-type symptoms.
removed the carpet for wood flooring and after another week her symptoms had disappeared.
Yeah, we are actually very much suspicious that this is a mold issue by this point. There are definitely parts of the house that are worse than others, but there are a couple places that are Big Suspicious - this house was built in the 80s, and they put a jacuzzi tub in my bathroom. So. Lots of holes in my shower, yeah. I have given up showering in there for the time being because it is agony. The other room is over the garage - it's the only room in the house with wall-to-wall carpeting. This year however I started spending a lot more time in there because that was the room I could let my bird out all day in without worrying about our cats getting in - so I spent basically all summer into fall in there. That was where my laptop had lived previously, and probably is why I noticed the laptop being a problem before anything else - the whole room is toxic to me now, but when my sensitivity was lower this was the only thing that was concentrated enough to make me notice, just this little funnel of air blowing into my face. I was worried I had developed bird fancier's lung, but I seem to be clear of that. We're waiting on the allergist appointment, but considering I can sit outside with the birds and only get a little reactive but my kitchen table is giving me a asthma attack, there's something inside the house that is affecting me. Having 2 fire inserts probably only made me more sensitive, plus being in the room with my bird and working my ass off to keep the dust down in there - I was diagnosed with asthma long ago but never had any problems until what was probably Covid right before the US went into lockdown, and I've only picked up a couple small little food allergies from foods I ate too much of... and thus........ over...sensitized myself to.... So if I was hanging out in the Worst room in the house, with an extra source of particles being breathed (pigeon), huffing mold in the bathroom all the time, and the fireplace season started - well, let's just say that since I started needing and using a nebulizer that I've realized I actually DO NOT feel my asthma like you are supposed to! I don't feel my chest get tight until I am about to keel over - I only feel the gradual loss of oxygen.

Soooo naturally with being set off everywhere I go, boy oh boy the urge to check that the thing I sit in front of ISN'T the source of my problem was present! This does certainly add credence to my suspicion that the carpet needs to come up. It may also explain why being downstairs is more difficult - that room is connected to the rest of the house by two avenues, one which is a basically unused hallway/closet between my room and this room, 2 doors between, on the 2nd floor, and the other from a flight of stairs down from the bad room that leads to the 1st floor - this is also separated by a door, but the airfloor between that room and the bottom floor is much more prevalent than between my room and the bad room. So I would bet whatever crap is in the rug comes down the stairs VERY easily, especially because that room is basically unheated, so that over-garage Bad room does drop a draft down those stairs.

Welp. I appreciate the input, that really does add a substantiated extra layer to this. I knew that rug was dirty, I'd been trying sooooooo hard to get it cleaner, I'm talking like, new vacuum, vaccuming every 3 days, cleaning the vacuum between each session - so boy oh boy. Glaring at that rug. Damn rug.
 

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