Many times on our blog here at Metro-Flow Plumbing we will choose to discuss topics that are not typically covered in our plumber Dallas blog but are related to the health of your home. Today we will discuss 5 ways sewer gas can make you sick. But what is sewer gas you may ask? And how can sewer gas possibly affect me inside my home? Sewer gas can be described as a byproduct of natural human waste breaking down. It is made up of a number of gasses mixed together. Mainly among these are ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. Though not entirely toxic, long exposure to sewer gas can cause serious respiratory problems. Enough of it can even cause symptoms of sewer gas poisoning.
The most basic way of telling if you have a sewer gas leak is its smell. Sewer gas smells very similar to rotten eggs, this is because of the hydrogen sulfide mixed into it.
What causes sewer gas leaks?
To put your mind at ease the first thing you should know is if you have a newer home, chances are that it has come equipped with different measures to protect you from sewer gas leaks. Reinforced piping prevents any sort of leaks from occurring. The number one cause of sewer gas leaks is faulty plumbing. Unfortunately, older homes are more susceptible to faulty plumbing by how old the pipe and sewage system is below the home. A number of things can contribute to your sewer gas leaking: cracked pipes, clogged drains, dry or abandoned pipes, loose toilets are among some things inside your home that can cause this.
So how can exposure to sewer gas make you sick?
There are various symptoms that you can look for. We listed the most common ones.
- Fatigue: since it’s a gas your respiratory system is the first to take a hit. Less oxygen to your lungs means a feeling of fatigue or tiredness.
- Dizziness: some dizziness may occur if you have been breathing in sewer gas for a period of time. You might feel lightheaded.
- Nausea: the smell of sewer gas can even cause enough discomfort to make you feel uneasy and may cause you to throw up.
- Headaches: mild to intense headaches may occur if you are breathing sewer gas in for a period of time and not realizing it.
- Loss of concentration: if you find yourself disoriented or at a loss in your own home this too might be a symptom of breathing in sewer gas.
Before continuing we want to invite you to review our post on 5 Ways to Get Your Appliances Holiday Ready, which will surely be useful for you.
Going back to the point, we briefly mentioned the causes of sewer gas leaks in our homes but now we are going to expand on them. What are the sources or even things you should look out for when you smell the rotten odor in your home?
If your drains are clogged from waste items that should not have been flushed in the toilet or poured down a drain, it can cause a sewage backup. If this sewage backup goes unnoticed and not serviced it can start to decompose and turn into sewer gas which will then in turn leak back into your home. This works the same way for sewer gas leaks.
Blocked Air Vents
The main use of air vents is so any toxic gasses can leave your home so there is enough circulation going around the place. If the air vents are blocked by any kind of debris like dirt, rocks, or anything else that might have crawled or ended up in there, then this will keep the air vents from doing their job. This will cause sewer gas to form and start to make its way back into your home. As routine maintenance, you should include cleaning out all air vents exiting your home in order to prevent this.
Cracked and Loose Toilets
As you can probably imagine this is a no brainer. Loose or cracked toilets are one of the more common ways sewer gas can get into your home. A toilet that is not properly installed and tightly fitted into your sewer lines will cause sewer gas leakage quite quickly. If you have an older home, wear and tear can also cause a toilet to become loose. Rest assured, that this is something that we can check when performing an inspection of your home.
Leaks and Cracked Pipes
Another common cause of sewer gas leakage in your home are leaks and cracked pipes. Leaks and cracked pipes can be caused by a number of things. If pipes are not properly installed this will cause leaks almost right away. Though pipes running through the inside of your home are usually reinforced to prevent sewer gas leakage, old construction tends to go through its natural wear and tear and the possibility of cracks along the pipes will increase regardless. This is why it is important to get ahead of such problems and schedule a plumbing inspection sooner rather than later.
You don’t really have to worry about this one if your water services are running properly but we thought we would include it here just because. When water isn’t flowing through your pipes for a long period of time, the pipes will tend to lose what we refer to as a water barrier. Without this lubrication and steady water flow, sewer gas can indeed make its way back up into your home.
Another thing we suggest as soon as you feel you detected a leak by the smell alone is opening your windows. The air conditioning will just circulate the air but the open windows will provide a steady flow of clean air through your house that will clear some of the sewer gas if any is present.
Note: If you already feel you are suffering from any of the symptoms above seek medical help, it should not be anything to worry about but just wanted to give our readers a heads up!
Long and intense exposure to sewer gas can indeed be lethal but do not worry, these high concentrations are very rarely found inside one’s home. Industrial sites are usually more susceptible to such high sewer gas leakage. For now, if you do believe you have a leak somewhere and you are smelling rotten eggs, call us here at Metro-Flow Plumbing immediately and we will send a certified and insured technician to come inspect your home and put your mind at ease. If a leak is in fact found and sewer gas is leaking into your home you are going to want to get it repaired right away before it becomes a bigger problem. We will walk you through what we found and the steps we should take in order to get rid of the issue at hand.
The fix is simple, contact us and we will come inspect and repair any present leak in your home!
Thank you for joining us for another entry here at the Metro-Flow Plumbing blog. We strive to bring you helpful tips for all your plumbing needs and know-hows, and along the way teach a little bit of the ins and outs of our business. We invite you to explore our brand new website and check out all the services that we provide. If you have any questions give us a call at 214-328-7371.
Until next time Dallas!