Sewer gas is not just an affront to the senses, it can actually be detrimental to your health as well. There is no mistaking when you smell sewer gas. You may be wondering, how is sewer gas produced? How does it get into my home, and what can I do about it? Most importantly, what effect is this smell having on my body?
Producing Sewer Gas
Sewer gasses, both in the toxic, and non-toxic variety are produced by the decomposition of organic materials and domestic waste. Typically, sewer gas will give off of the distinct, unpleasant scent of methane gas. You are probably already quite familiar with methane gas, as it is also produced by humans during the process of digestion. The scent produced overtime by decomposing organic material in the sewer line can be much more potent however.
How does it get from the Sewer to Me?
That is an excellent question, and really, it is the only one that really matters. As long as the sewer gas stays in the sewer, it is not really doing anything to you, is it? Sewer gas can reach your home for a number of reason. First off, your septic tank may be overflowing. Septic tanks should generally be flushed once every 3-5 years. It is also possible that the septic tank vent pipe is clogged, although this happens infrequently
Additionally, sewer gas can enter your home if the water in a P-trap of one of your fixtures has evaporated. Usually, this water keeps sewer gas from moving up your pipes, however, if it has evaporated, that that preventative measure is no longer present. Simply run some water to refill the trap. Repeat this process periodically for infrequently used plumbing fixtures.
If you are worried about the presence of sewer gas in your home, you can obtain a gas detector. Alternatively, you can have a qualified plumber come out to your home and perform an inspection. This is a much more reliable option and one we happily provide at Parker & Sons. Sewer gas can be harmful to your health, so if that smell comes creeping, don’t hesitate to call.