Sewer gas stinks. However, it can also be very dangerous. At high levels, sewer gasses can displace oxygen, resulting in lower-than-normal oxygen levels. Gasses can also cause eye irritation, drowsiness, nausea, headache and in rare instances, death. What's more, sewer gasses are flammable and can contribute to a fire or explosion.
Because there so many risks associated with sewer gas, it's vital that you find out why your house smells like sewer as soon as possible. Following are four things that could be causing the buildup of sewer gas in your home and what you should do about them.
Clogged Sewer Drain
A clogged sewer drain can cause sewer gasses to back up into your house. Drains, especially old ones, often become clogged with toilet paper, feminine products, paper towels and other items. To fix this issue, you need to hire a plumber who will come to your home and clean out the drain for you. The plumber will also be able to identify what caused the blockage so you can avoid more blockages in the future.
Dry Drain Trap
Sinks and tubs have drain traps and S-shaped plumbing features that hold water at all times. The water serves as a barrier, preventing sewer gasses from backing up into the home. However, traps can dry out, allowing gasses to pass backwards through the pipes. This usually occurs with plumbing fixtures that aren't used very often. To fix the problem, pour water down the offending drain to fill the trap with water.
Missing Cleanout Plug
Your main sewer drain has a cleanout plug that plumbers can remove to gain easy access to your sewer line. If the plug is broken or missing, sewer gasses will escape into your home. If you suspect a broken plug, have your sewer drain inspected by your plumber.
Broken Wax Ring
A broken or wobbly toilet can eventually cause the wax ring that seals your toilet to the drain pipe to break. Once this occurs, gasses can enter your home. If you smell sewer gasses in your bathroom and your toilet has seen better days, have it inspected to make sure the wax ring is still intact.
In addition to these common causes, there are also more obscure causes of sewer gas in the home. If you suspect that sewer gas is invading your home, call a plumber right away to find out the exact cause. While you can take care of some problems yourself, most issues require a plumber to diagnose and repair. For more information about plumbing repairs, contact a business such as Total Enviro Services Inc.