Imagine: You get home from a long day at work and step into your home, ready to relax when...ugh. What’s that smell? Sewer gas isn’t just a minor annoyance — it can be harmful to your health and even be a safety concern for your home.
Sewer Gas FAQ
But what exactly is sewer gas? Our team breaks down everything you need to know to stay safe:
What is sewer gas?
Sewer gas is gas that is formed as organic waste breaks down. Our bodies naturally decide what is and isn’t helpful to us, then expel the not-so-helpful waste to keep us healthy. When this waste begins to break down, different gases can form. These gases are a mixture of toxic and non-toxic, so overall, not something you want in your body or home.
Why do I have a sewer gas leak?
Sewer gas has many common causes in our homes: blockages in the drains that cause sewer backups, blocked vents, cracked sewer pipes, and leaking pipes are all reasons you may be facing a sewer leak.
Should I be worried about sewer gas?
Some of the compounds present in sewer gas are highly flammable, and others can cause adverse reactions. However, these aren’t likely to happen in small amounts or low levels of gas.
High levels of gas and long-term exposure to sewer gas are where the real danger to your health and home lie. Some of the compounds found in sewer gas include:
- Ammonia - A well-known substance found in many cleaning agents. It’s an extremely flammable substance, and at high levels, ammonia is toxic to humans and can cause organ failure or even death.
- Methane - Generally, methane is non-toxic, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about it. High levels of methane can be extremely flammable.
- Hydrogen sulfide - This is the main component of sewer gas. In large amounts, hydrogen sulfide can be toxic to the oxygen system in the body. Prolonged exposure can lead to organ failure and death.
Sewer gas exposure can lead to severe and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. Knowing what the warning signs are can save you and your family’s lives.
Signs and Symptoms of Sewer Gas Exposure
The smell of sewer gas is the biggest sign of a problem. Like a normal gas leak, sewer gas may have the smell of rotten eggs. It’s important to note that if you are concerned your home has a gas leak, the proper steps are to evacuate the property and call for a professional to handle the situation.
According to Healthline, the following are common symptoms of sewer gas exposure:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Poor memory and concentration
It should be noted that it’s fairly uncommon to be exposed to dangerous levels of sewer gas in the home. Industrial workplaces face a higher risk of more serious, often fatal, side effects. Symptoms of high amounts of sewer gas exposure include loss of smell, respiratory irritation, eye irritation, seizures, coma, and even death.
What do I do if I smell sewer gas?
If you smell rotten eggs and think you may be dealing with a sewer gas leak, try to locate the source by following the smell. Common places to check include:
- Floor drains
You’ll be looking for anything that looks cracked, blocked, loose, clogged, or otherwise out of the ordinary.
Whether or not you’re able to locate the source of the leak yourself, call your local plumber to schedule an appointment for an inspection. While you wait, open windows, turn on fans, and air out your home to reduce the levels of gas inside.
Moe Plumbing Services has been your trusted Los Angeles plumbers for over 90 years. When you worry about the safety of your home or workplace, there’s truly no other choice. Contact our team online or by phone at (818) 396-8002 to schedule an appointment or speak to a member of our team today.