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Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?


Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

I have had Uverse cable and internet for almost 2 years. About 6 months ago I got a new internet router and the technician had to install it in my bedroom. For several months I have noticed a strong chemical smell in my bedroom, but nowhere else in the house. I have been cleaning excessively trying to figure out the source of the smell, when last night I was on my hands and knees trying to smell the carpet, when I noticed that the AT&T internet router was emitting the awful fumes. It is not a plasticy smell, it is a chemical smell. It has been making me sick for months and my husband has to sleep in a different room because his allergies to it are so bad. I have unplugged the router and tried to air out the room, and am hoping that the odor hasn't contaminated my carpet and furniture. Has anyone else experienced this? I am calling customer service today to request a new router and that it be placed in a different room in the house. If AT&T says it can only go in the bedroom, I will have to find another solution because the chemical smell is unbearable and likely not safe or healthy. 

Message 1 of 11
Former Employee

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

Hello @arbarne2


This is the first time I have heard of something like this but in my opinion you are doing the correct thing by reaching out to customer service and having that checked out, the only thing I can think of is it may have been getting hot due to it being on the carpet.  

Message 2 of 11

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

Thank you for your reply. I have searched other forums and haven't come across this with the uverse equipment either. However, I've come across several posts claiming people have experienced this with routers from other providers. For now I will try getting a new router and asking AT&T if they can set it up in another room where there are hardwood floors.

Message 3 of 11
Former Employee

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

Anytime !


I was just reading along the same lines on how some routers started to  smelling really bad because of the circuitry was getting hot LOL!


Hope everything gets resolved ! 

Message 4 of 11

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

@arbarne2   It is not suppossed to be on carpeting for 2 big reasons, no ventilation it gets hot (even hotter with no ventilation) and static.  So hot it was areosolizing some of the carpet ingredients, not fit for breathing.


Can't believe the tech installed the RG on the carpet (for reasons above).  Was it on a table or dresser, and you did not want it there and moved it after the tech left?


My suggestion is get a piece of clear plastic that the RG can sit on, lifting it up to let air thru and not contacting the carpet. Smiley Surprised



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Message 5 of 11
Not applicable

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

I bet it's the firewall your smelling.......  Smiley Tongue  Sorry I couldn't resist!!  I do hope you get it resolved.....

Message 6 of 11

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your reply!!


The technician installed in on the carpet.. it was the second time I had the Uverse installed at my apartment, and both times they installed it on the same place in the bedroom on the carpet. It was my understanding that this was the easiest place for it to be hooked up or something because I asked once that they do it somewhere else and they said it had to be there. However, the first install I had was in place for over a year, and I don't remember it ever smelling. This current installation has been there since October and has smelled since the beginning, although I didn't locate it as the source for the smell until last night when I couldn't inhale it any more and got on the floor and smelled everything in the room, to find that the overwhelming chemical smell was blowing out of the router.


I hope there is somewhere else in my house that this can be installed, because I can't breathe this in any more! Let's hope so. 

Message 7 of 11
ACE - Expert

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

It's NOT the router that is smelling.  It's the carpet UNDER the RG that is releasing potentially toxic fumes.


Rather than moving the router, can you get some sort of short table or stool to put the router on, just enough to lift the RG up off the carpet and allow air to circulate?  Even something cheap like this:



The RG has little feet on all four corners but by sitting onto carpet, those feet sink down in the carpet and stop air from circulating.  A plastic step stool like the one above would allow the feet to do their job.

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Message 8 of 11
Former Employee

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

Talk about you learning something new everyday , that makes more sense now lol !
Message 9 of 11

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

I, too, just got a new modem/router and it's giving off the same kind of odor described in the original post. The smell is a cross between a chemical odor and that given off by an over-heated electric socket. It's really strong in my home office (where it is set up) and nowhere else in the house. I've had it only a few days but the smell suddenly started today.


I plan to call for a technician to come out again to see if he can identify the problem.  Right now my eyes are burning and I'm getting a headache. I may even unplug it until I can get someone out here and this horrible stench out of the air.



Message 10 of 11

Re: Toxic Fumes from Uverse Router?

I, too, just got a brand spanking new AT&T U-verse router a few days ago. It works fine and my online experience is much improved (better speed).


Only today, it started emitting a weird chemical-like smell very much like that described in the original post from 2016.  The odor is a cross between a caustic chemical (bleach or lye) and the smell given off by an over-heated electric circuit. As I type this, my head and throat ache and my eyes are starting to tear up.  I will unplug it overnight and call for a technician to return to trouble-shoot what could be the issue. 


The strange thing is the green arrow indicating wi-fi activity is "vibrating" constantly (instead of flashing). And the WPS arrow is blinking rapidly (maybe it's supposed to). Those are the only two lamps fluttering away...all the other green arrows are lit but not moving. 


Before I found this site, I even touched all the computer peripherals connected to my CPU and none were hot to the touch. The U-Verse router (Model 5268AC) is slightly warm but nothing unexpected for a device that is plugged in and working hard.


My router is NOT stationed on carpet (as described in the original post) but sitting high on a table, right next to my computer's hard drive. I do have quite a few things connected (a couple of USB ports, an Ooma Telo phone, a printer and a TP-Link ethernet port with 2 extensions going to hard-wire Blu-ray players so I can watch Netflix. 


I just wanted to post here to confirm that the original poster is not delusional. The strong, strange smell coming from the U-verse modem is very, very real.


Hopefully, someone can look at the model I posted and see if that's common behavior but (like I said) I've used it for several days without issues. I describe which arrows flash so that a technician can confirm whether the unit could be defective and thus, the off-putting odor.

Message 11 of 11
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