This may seem like an odd topic with the holidays just around the corner, but if you’ve ever seen National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation,” you know sewer gas is nothing to laugh about—unless your last name is Griswold. For those of you unfamiliar with the scene, Clark’s hillbilly cousin Eddie decides to empty his RV’s toilet tank into a storm drain. Later, when Uncle Lewis lights his cigar, the sewer explodes, sending the holiday decorations blasting into the sky.
So what does this have to do with your home? Well, sewer gas unpleasant and probably indicates a bigger problem. Knowing what to do could help save your holidays.
Plainly put, sewer gas is a cocktail of toxic and nontoxic gases that build up over time. As the organic matter we flush down the toilet breaks down, it releases gases. Some of the gases include nasty compounds such as methane, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide. The latter typically gives sewer gas its yucky rotten-egg smell and is not only extremely toxic, but explosive as well.
Other products that are improperly disposed of also contribute to the toxicity of sewer gas. Gasoline, and some mineral solutions contribute to the mix. But sewer gas shouldn’t be taken for granted. It can pose a serious health risk, explosion or fire.
An overpowering smell of rotten eggs is caused by the hydrogen sulfide and is not safe to breathe in. But how did it get into your house in the first place?
Typically, there are a number of ways to prevent sewer gas from entering your home. Plumbing traps are the main defense against sewer gas, but oftentimes, vents are installed to expel the gas. However, in homes with infrequently used plumbing, this gas can seep in through evaporated water. This is why it’s important to occasionally flush every toilet in your home—even that Pittsburgh potty in your basement.
Other common culprits for sewer gas leaks include old pipes that are cracked or rusted out, allowing sewer gas to seep back out. Another common point of entry is your basement floor drain.
If you think sewer gas is seeping into your home, give us a call right away. We can help diagnose the problem and it fixed quickly and correctly. Learn more about our sewer line repair services or contact us today!