How to Test For Sewer Gas

How to Test For Sewer Gas

how to test for sewer gas

The plumbing system in a home is designed to carry solid and liquid wastes to the sewer or septic tank for removal. While this process generally works well, sometimes the pipes can get damaged or break. When this happens, the rotten egg odor of sewer gas can enter a residence through drains, vent pipes, and other openings. Sewer gases are heavier than atmospheric air so they will sink down and accumulate in basements. The odor of sewer gas is the first clue that something is wrong and it is best to call a plumber right away for an inspection and repair. Resource:

The first step in treating a sewer gas leak is to remove the source of the smell. This usually means adding water to drains that have dried up, cleaning the p-traps in kitchen and bath sinks and showers, and checking for blocked or clogged rooftop plumbing gas vents. If this doesn’t work, it may be necessary to evacuate the house and clean out all drains and vents.

Step-by-Step: How to Conduct a Sewer Gas Test in Your Home

If symptoms are severe, a plumber will use a tool called a “smoke test.” The smoke is blown into the plumbing system and travels through all openings until it encounters a leaking area of the pipe. The plumber can then identify the leaking section of the pipe and make repairs.

Exposure to sewer gases can cause many different symptoms, from eye and nose irritation to dizziness and headaches. Higher levels of exposure can lead to more serious health problems, even death. Hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg odor of sewer gas) is toxic to the oxygen systems in the body and can kill you quickly at high levels. Ammonia is also present in sewer gases and can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Methane (a nontoxic greenhouse gas) is another component of sewer gases and is extremely flammable when combined with ammonia, creating an extreme fire hazard.

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