Homeowner's Guide To Sewer Gases In The Home


Sewer gases aren't something you want to smell inside your home. Their presence isn't just unpleasant, it also indicates that something is wrong with your plumbing system.

Sewer Gas Concerns

Not only are sewer gases bad smelling, but they can also pose a health concern. The gases can contain ammonia and other harmful substances that can lead to health problems if breathed in large quantities. Although rare, sewer gas is also flammable and can ignite if the right conditions are present, which can lead to a house fire.

A more pressing concern, though, is what damage is occurring or has already occurred to lead to sewer gas backups in the home. If sewer gas is coming up your drains, there may be major issues in your plumbing such as line breaks, blockages, or other problems.

Common Causes

There are several common causes that result in sewer gas backups. The most likely is that there is a blockage somewhere in the line, which is trapping gas so it has no option but to flow back into your home. The blockage may be in your sewer line, in the municipal line, or as a result of a full septic tank. This problem can be made worse if you have any dry drains in the house, which are drains that are used so infrequently that the water in the trap beneath the drain has dried up.

Gas may also come back up the drains if the system is not properly vented. There are vent pipes on your roof that allow air bubbles in the drains to escape, as well as routing any sewer gases that come up the pipe safely away from your home. If something is wrong with the vents, then the gas may end up inside your house.


Since a variety of causes can lead to sewer gas in the home, the first task is determining the likely cause. If your plumber suspects issues in the drains, they may begin by performing a drain inspection with a camera. This will locate blockages or failures within the system. For homes on septic systems, the first step is usually to check the tank to see if it requires pumping.

If the drains are in good condition or if other issues lead your plumber to suspect the ventilation system, the roof is the place to look. Your plumber will verify that there are sufficient vents for your plumbing and that there is nothing clogging the vent pipes. They may also install special vent covers to keep out debris.

Contact a plumbing contractor in your area for more help if you are smelling foul odors from your drains.


18 February 2021

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