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What is Sewer Gas?

Sewer Gas Can Be Hazardous to Your HealthHave you ever entered your home to the pungent smell of rotten eggs? If yes, chances are sewer gas is escaping from your home’s drainage system. This combination of toxic and nontoxic gases is produced when waste materials decompose in sewer or septic systems. Hydrogen sulfide is often found in sewer gas, and is responsible for the rotten egg odor. Other odorous gases that are typically included are ammonia, carbon monoxide, methane, and sulfur dioxide.

How it Happens

Plumbing systems are designed to contain sewer gases using plumbing traps with water seals and external vents. The water in these traps can occasionally evaporate (due to rare use) and allow gas to enter the home. Other common causes may include:

  • Backed-up sewer
  • Clogged drains
  • Cracked drain pipes
  • Loose pipe connections
  • Deteriorating toilet wax ring

Health Risks

Sewer gas can be hazardous to your (or your pet’s) health with regular exposure. Headaches, fatigue, dizziness, pneumonia, and bronchitis can result from prolonged exposure. Even low levels of hydrogen sulfide can cause a sore throat, irritated eyes, and fluid accumulation in lungs (high levels can result in unconsciousness or death). Methane gas is combustible in high concentrations, which could lead to an explosion.

NOTE: Desensitization to hydrogen sulfide occurs very quickly, so even if you no longer smell the gas, you may still have a leak.

What to Do

If you notice a noxious odor in your home, don’t hesitate to take action. Try to identify the location and source of the gas leak before calling a plumber. You might be able to resolve the leak without needing to make a call.

  • Dump a pitcher of water into any drains emitting an odor to reseal the trap
  • Flush any rarely-used toilets to reseal the trap
  • Check toilet wax rings for any possible leaks
  • Clear any clogged drains
  • Check all fittings and joints for loose connections
  • Inspect drain pipes for cracks or leaks

Some of these methods may be difficult with limited access or without proper tools. If you’re unable to locate or solve the sewer gas issue, call your plumber right away. Raby Plumbing specializes in Tulsa drain cleaning, pipe repair, septic tank pumping, and all general plumbing needs. Give us a call today! 918-200-9906


Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Raby Plumbing does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.

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