Sewer Gas

A house enveloped by sewer gas or a sewer gas smell is a living nightmare for any homeowner or business. Imagine a restaurant that suddenly has to deal with a sewer gas odor problem. Not good for business. It is a frustrating experience that not only can make make people sick of the sewer gas odor, but also panic when you can't seem to find the source of the smell. The nauseating and embarrassing feeling that comes with sewer gas is one that cannot be understated. Unfortunately, these are not the only problems that sewer gas brings in the home or business. Sewer gas can be a ticking time bomb that can produce disastrous effects. The dangers of sewer gas include:

Poisonous Gases

Sewer gas can be a caused by a combination of non toxic and toxic poisonous gases such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. Another of these gases is methane, which poses several dangers in the home. High levels of methane can result in an explosion or even cause asphyxiation. The asphyxiation is a result of the person being deprived of oxygen. H2S (hydrogen sulfide gas) in lower amounts can cause a person to feel light headed and have irritated breathing and burning eyes and with higher levels of hydrogen sulfide the person can lose consciousness immediately and result in death.

A Kansas City woman found dead in March 2013 under a kitchen sink, apparently fell victim to sewer gas asphyxiation. A later autopsy confirmed hydrogen sulfide intoxication as the cause of death, what authorities at the time suspected from the strong smell of sewer gas coming from the home. Read more about this tragedy here.

Sewer Gas Explosion

It should go without saying that you should not be lighting up a birthday cake when a sewer gas smell is present. Methane and hydrogen sulfide are flammable and highly explosive. People should leave the area until a professional has addressed the problem and the dangers have been removed.

Causes of Sewer Gas

Some of the causal factors for sewer gas include:

Leaking Pipes

Leaking pipes are one of the reasons that the smell of sewer gases usually seeps into the home. Homeowners have the obligation to ensure that none of the pipes in the home’s plumbing system is leaking. It is important that they contact a professional plumber at the first sign of a leaking pipe.

Low Water Levels

When drains dry up, sewer gases are likely to rise to the surface. Without water, here is no barrier to suppress these gases inside plumbing and sewer lines. When the sewer gas reaches the surface, chances are high that this smell will spread throughout the house. Running water through drying pipes may help prevent the emergence of sewer gas.

Clogged Pipes

Clogged pipes are another cause for sewer gas. Thanks to an accumulation of debris, these pipes are blocked and allow sewer gas to escape into the home or business. Things may take a turn for the worse when the home or building lacks a proper ventilation system.

Redundant Drains

In a network of pipes, redundant drains can be the weak points that allow sewer gas to spread into the home. The anecdote for this problem is drain capping, which involves the sealing off of redundant drains. Usually, the capping process is dependent on the material of the drain pipe. Redundant drains are those that are of no consequence to the drainage system.

Roof Plumbing Vents

A blocked roof vent pipe can cause big problems when the gas gets trapped in the pipe. Bird nests and other debris can block a roof vent. Periodic plumbing inspection of these vents can help avoid these problems.

Enlisting the Help of a Professional Plumber

Tackling sewer gas can be an arduous task, but should be looked into immediately. That is why it is best to get the help of a professional plumber. This expert likely possesses the experience in dealing with the problem. It is also important to call a professional plumber since they will have the necessary leak detection equipment and tools to solve the problem. This equipment may include leak detection, smoke testing, white smoke and sewer gas detectors among others.

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