When you think about gas leaks, you probably picture the natural gas lines that may feed into their homes. While these gas leaks are a concern, you should also be aware of the dangers of leaking sewer gas and why it’s crucial for the people of Indianapolis, IN, to take care of this issue right away.
What Is a Sewer Gas Leak?
The breakdown of human and waste produces sewer gas, which contains hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and other substances. That familiar rotten egg smell (sulfur) you associate with sewage is hydrogen sulfide. This gas also comes from commercial processes like refining petroleum.
Every home or place of business that has a bathroom must be made to deal with sewer gas. That is usually taken care of by a vent pipe that allows those gases to escape safely. If your vent pipe is cracked or damaged in any way, sewer gas can leak into your home. If that happens, it’s important to contact an expert in sewer gas leak detection. They will be able to pinpoint the issue so that it can be fixed.
How Is a Sewer Gas Leak Harmful?
If you have a sewer gas leak, the primary concern is hydrogen sulfide, the compound that is most likely to cause health concerns. The severity of these will depend on the amount and length of exposure. People who are exposed to hydrogen sulfide from a sewer gas leak may experience:
- Unpleasant smells and eye irritation.
- Skin irritation.
- Sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Poor memory
- Memory Issues
In extreme circumstances, this exposure can lead to loss of consciousness, even death. While they are very unlikely to happen in your home, there is an increased risk in specific industries. Still, the potential for health issues is enough to make it worthwhile to find someone to detect and fix a sewer gas leak.
It’s also important to mention that leaking sewer gas is combustible. The methane gas produced could become an explosion hazard. That is especially true if the gas comes into contact with a flame source.
What Causes a Sewer Gas Leak
If a homeowner in Indianapolis, IN, experiences a sewer gas leak, it usually means there’s a clog in the sewer vent pipe. Clogs may be due to something like an animal nest, debris, or other items blocking the sewer gas from escaping through the vent on the roof.
There are other causes, as well. A dry or clogged drain trap can hold sewer gas and cause it to leak into the home—so can a broken or otherwise damaged sewer and septic pipes. Finally, if the ring on your toilet is worn, that can cause sewer gas to back up and leak out from around the toilet’s base.
How to Avoid Sewer Gas Exposure
The less time you spend exposed to sewer gas, the fewer health impacts you will notice. That’s why it’s essential to act quickly if you detect a leak to minimize exposure. If you smell sewer gas or have any other reason to suspect you have been exposed to dangerous sewer gas, leave the area. Go to a well-ventilated space, open windows, and turn on fans.
Of course, prevention is the best approach here. If you take care of your home’s plumbing systems and schedule regular preventative maintenance, you will reduce your risk substantially. Likewise, if you notice a seemingly small problem, call in a professional to fix it right away. Even a tiny sewer leak is unpleasant enough to make staying inside your home difficult.
Can “Plumbers Near Me” Detect Leaking Sewer Gas?
Plumbers with expertise in sewer leak detection can find the exact location and cause of any sewer leak in your home or business. To do this, they make use of a variety of tools and techniques.
One of these is a smoke test where the leak specialist “smokes” your sewage pipes to detect any place where gas could leak out. If this or any other test shows a problem with leaky sewer gas, they will locate the cause and fix it. Sometimes, they may even have recommendations to help avoid other leaks in the future.
Sewer gas leaks are responsible for much more than unpleasant smells. They cause short and long-term health issues, too. In severe cases, the impacts can be deadly. As a property owner, it’s your responsibility to notice and deal with suspected leaks. Your first call should be to a licensed plumber who specializes in sewer gas leak detection.