If you notice a foul sewer gas tester smell, it is important to know that it could indicate a problem with your home plumbing. Each drain in your house connects to the waste and sewage removal pipes that take solids and liquids outside to the sewer or septic system for treatment. These pipes can become damaged from blockages, corrosion, or just age. When these pipes leak, they can release sewage, raw sewage, and dangerous gases into your home.
These gases can cause many problems, from unpleasant odors to health issues and even structural damage. The primary contaminant of sewer gas is hydrogen sulfide, which has been shown to irritate the respiratory system and can even cause death at high levels. Other contaminants can include ammonia, which has a strong odor similar to Windex and is toxic at higher levels. Carbon dioxide and methane are also present in sewer gas, which makes it flammable.
The Dangers of Ignoring Sewer Gas: A Comprehensive Look
A quick and easy way to locate a sewer gas leak is with a simple smoke test. A plumber can use a special device to push non-toxic smoke containing UV dye through the plumbing vent stack, wall cavities, light fixture openings, and other areas. The smoke will quickly flow to the source of the odor, pinpointing the location of a leak in the vent line.
This vapor detection method is very useful for finding the source of sewer smells in your home or commercial property. It can save you from unnecessary, costly repairs by allowing you to determine the exact source of the issue before taking action. For example, you may be able to replace a toilet wax ring or p-trap under sinks instead of replacing the entire sewer vent pipe up on the roof.