What if I smell something odd from my sewer? What causes it to happen? Are sewer gases dangerous? What is sewer gas anyway?
You may have all these questions wandering around inside your head that lead to another question: is it necessary to evacuate yourself and your family? Let’s go over the basics of sewer gas exposure and cover what to do if you or those around you experience specific symptoms.
Are Sewer Gases Dangerous: The Definition
Sewer gas is produced as a byproduct of the natural decomposition of human waste. How do sewer gases smell? Many report the gases to smell like sewage or decay. Sewer gases contain various types of bacteria, which release multiple gases; one of them can even cause the sewer gas to smell strong of “rotten eggs.”
Are sewer gases dangerous? While a single whiff couldn’t kill you, long-term exposure to sewer gas can be harmful to your health. Worse, it will cause a slew of other issues in your home and your plumbing.
Even though sewer gases are produced naturally by the decomposition of human waste, the presence of sewer gases indicates that you may have something wrong with your plumbing system. Take a look at some of the most common causes of sewer gases below:
Make sure you securely fastened your toilet to the drain. It is critical to preventing septic gas leaks. Even if you are confident that you have installed your toilet correctly, the rubber coating and wax rings can wear out over time; this is frequently the main suspect in sewer gas leaks.
A leaking pipe or ventilation system
Cracked or aged piping and improper piping or ventilation installation can cause leaks and allow sewer gas to escape. Another cause of leaks is clogging caused by items that you should not throw down the drain.
Dry or Unused Pipes
Did you know that if you don’t use your sewer system on a regular basis, the piping can dry out? Since water usually acts as a barrier between the gases and the outside world, a dry pipe or toilet bowl can cause a buildup of waste gases.
Are Sewer Gases Dangerous: The Compounds
Keep in mind that sewer gas can contain various compounds. Each has distinct characteristics and side effects. So, are sewer gases dangerous? The gases produced by your sewer determine the danger that awaits you. Here are a few explanations:
● Ammonia: You may find this compound commonly in cleaning products. Though it’s safe to use for cleaning, prolonged exposure can be irritating, toxic, or even deadly. When combined with bleach, ammonia can be highly hazardous.
● Methane: Methane is a flammable gas. Thus, if it is produced in large quantities, it may pose a fire hazard in your home.
● Hydrogen sulfide: It is the most common type of sewer gas. Aside from being the culprit of that rotten egg smell in your home, hydrogen sulfide is among the most toxic gas. This gas is harmful in high concentrations and can affect the performance of several body systems.
● Carbon Dioxide: The amount of carbon dioxide produced in a sewer is usually insignificant enough to be harmful. However, it can pose a severe health risk when produced in large quantities. One of them is causing a lack of oxygen in the blood, leading to death if not treated immediately.
A word of caution: exposure to hydrogen sulfide can impair or even eliminate your ability to smell. So, just because you’ve stopped smelling that rotten egg doesn’t mean you’re out of the gas problem. It is critical to understand the symptoms of sewer gas exposure.
Are Sewer Gases Dangerous: The Symptoms
Pay attention when you start having the following symptoms after being exposed:
● nausea and vomiting
● a light headache
● poor concentration
● memory issues
Symptoms of high sewer gas exposure (typically in the industry workplace) include:
● mouth, throat, or lung irritation
● loss of smell
● pink eye
● eye irritation
● possibly death
Are Sewer Gases Dangerous: The Treatment
Note that if there is only mild sewer gas, the first treatment is to air out the house. Then call a plumber to check and fix the leak. You can get out of the house to get some fresh air and relieve your symptoms.
Furthermore, if you have been exposed to a high level of sewer gases, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible:
● breathing difficulties
● other signs of high-level exposure
What To Do If I Smell Sewer Gases?
When you notice an odd odour coming from your home sewer, the first step is to locate the source of the leak. Examine all drains: toilet, floors, and ventilation to ensure that nothing is blocked, loose, cracked, or clogged.
Once you’ve identified the source of the leak, hire a plumber to inspect it. A plumber can assist in better locating the possibility of a leak area. They can also fix leaks and advise you on the best steps to take to keep your plumbing system running smoothly.
Air out your home while you wait for the inspection. Maintain the cleanliness of the drain and air ventilation pipes.
Are Sewer Gases Dangerous: The Bottom Line
Sewer gases may have leaked into your home due to cracks, leaks, or blockages in the plumbing. The best treatment for a mild sewer is to contact a local plumber to assist you in locating and fixing the leak.
While sewer gases are not dangerous in low quantities, several compounds, including ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide, contribute to sewer gas toxicity at high concentrations.
Hydrogen sulfide contained in the sewer gases is toxic to the body’s oxygen system. This gas can cause adverse health effects, organ damage, and even death in high concentrations.
So, are sewer gases dangerous? The answer depends on the symptoms you experience. Symptoms of sewer gases exposure are typically mild and will simply vanish once the exposure ends. Moreover, if you presume sewer gases leak and are experiencing symptoms of severe exposure, seek an emergency plumber and emergency medical care immediately.