I THINK I SMELL SEWER GAS—WHAT SHOULD I DO?
One of most common calls at the Moundsville Sanitary/Stormwater Utility Board is sewer gas smell in homes and businesses. Residents call and report a strong odor in their house or buildings and want to know what to do about it. The first thing to do is make sure it is sewer gas—usually a rotten egg smell—and not a natural gas smell, which usually smells like a skunk. If you think it is a natural gas smell call the gas company, Fire Department or the Police and then evacuate the building until the building has been inspected and cleared.
The Plumbing system in your house is designed to allow water to leave your house but to keep the sewer gas out. The part of the plumbing system which does this is known as floor and sink drains with traps, and the vent system. A trap is a device made from a bowl or u shaped section of pipe, tubing, plastic, metal or tile which holds water. The water then acts as a seal to prevent sewer gases from entering the house.
The only way sewer gas can get into a home is if there is something wrong with your plumbing. The most common causes are:
1). Untrapped drains and pipes, this is particularly true in older homes. To correct the problem , have a trap installed in the drain and keep filled with water.
2). Dry traps: If there is a trap in a drain line that is not often used, the water in the trap may dry up, breaking the trap seal. These traps are usually in basement floor drains, washing machine/laundry sink drain pipes, shower drains, furnace drain and sink drains (bathrooms, kitchen or anywhere you have running water.) The solution is to run at least 2 gallons of water in the drain.
3). A damaged trap. If the trap is cracked and allows the water to run out, the trap seal is again broken. Replace the trap and keep filled with water.
4). A disconnected sink, shower, washing machine, ect.. which were removed but the drain pipe had not been capped off. Seal up the opening where the sink drained into.
5). A damaged drain pipe. If the pipe in the floor or wall is cracked this will also allow gas to leak out. Replace or repair the pipe.
6). A damaged or plugged vent. The vent system in your house or building is used to allow air into the drain system as well as to allow sewer gas to escape above the house. If the vent pipe has a crack or hole in it gases may escape through the opening. Need to replace the vent stack or the part of the pipe which is cracked.
The best answer is to find the problem with the plumbing system and have it repaired. If the floor drains are untrapped, have traps installed. It is probably not wise to simply plug the drain, because any water that enters into the basement or utility room will have no place to go and possibly flood the room. In any case, an experienced plumber will be able to find the shortcomings of the system and offer suggestions on how to correct them on an individual basis.
KEEP FISH SWIMMING AND DRINKING WATER SAFE RECYCLE OIL THE RIGHT WAY