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Signs of a Scary Sewer Gas Problem


Everything you flush down the toilet should be gone forever. And it’s easy enough for your sewage system to deal with liquids and solids—as long as you’re not flushing anything you shouldn’t be. But what about gases? Your plumbing has some design features specifically for trapping and safely venting sewer gases, but if something goes wrong, you need a plumber right away. Sewer gas is extremely toxic, so if you have any concerns about it whatsoever, you should treat it like what it is: a major health risk.

What Sewer Gas Is

As household waste (as in, whatever you’ve flushed down the toilet) decays, it naturally produces a variety of gasses. Particularly toxic among these gasses are hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, but carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide are also present.

Why Sewer Gas Is Hazardous

Breathing these toxins can cause dizziness, sleepiness, headaches, nausea, and—strangely—nervousness. If exposure is concentrated, for example in an enclosed or unventilated space, unconsciousness and even suffocation can occur. The methane in particular is also highly flammable, and methane being improperly vented through a home is a fire hazard.

How to Detect a Sewer Gas Problem

The main causes of serious sewer gas problems are damage to or blockage of the sewer pipe which carries all the sewage away from your home, or damage to or blockage of the venting pipes that are meant to direct any back-flowing sewer gasses up to the roof and out of the house. Here are some things you might notice if either of these critical parts of your plumbing are having problems.

  • Foul Odors: If you have a stinky smell floating up from just one sink, chances are, there’s a simpler explanation. In a kitchen sink, there might just be bacteria growing in food residue down there, so pour in some baking soda and vinegar and let it fizz. In a rarely-used sink, the p-trap might be dry. This bend in the piping should be full of water. It’s meant to prevent sewer gas from flowing back up. Running some water down the sink might do the trick. But if you have foul odors coming from multiple drains throughout the house, chances are, your problem is more serious.
  • Clogged Drains: While a single clogged drain probably has a specific cause (anything from food grease in the kitchen sink to a toy that a child flushed down a toilet), multiple clogged drains indicate that the sewage is not properly making its way out the sewer pipe. If this problem continues unchecked, you could end up with sewage backing up into your home, so don’t delay in getting professional help.
  • Strange Noises: If you hear gurgling from your toilets or sinks, as though your home’s plumbing has a bad case of indigestion, that is the sound of bubbles of sewer gas making their way through the water. You urgently need a plumber in Green Valley, AZ so you can avoid the serious health and safety risks of exposure to sewer gasses.

Contact Picture Rocks Cooling, Heating & Plumbing today to schedule an appointment with our professionals.

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