How to Get Rid of Foul Sewer Smells & Remove Methane Gas Odors
The gases produced by sewers are a very complex mixture of a lot of different gases. They can consist of both nontoxic and toxic gas that was produced in the sewer due to the decomposition of industrial waste or organic waste.
There are a lot of gases that you will find in typical sewer gases, including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, methane, esters, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide. When combined, they can create a very noxious and memorable odor. In addition, when people improperly dispose of certain items containing petroleum, such as mineral spirits and gasoline, they will make the odor even worse. People are constantly wondering how to eliminate sewer odor because it has effects on people’s health, smells bad, and can potentially cause an explosion or a fire due to the gases that are present.
While people have worked hard to be able to restrict the entrance of sewer gas into buildings through plumbing traps, this means that the gas will exhaust outdoors.
Can You Eliminate Sewer Gas?
Using a water seal where the gas may try to enter a building and making sure to vent the gas outside will help to protect a building from being filled with this gas. Sometimes, however, plumbing fixtures that aren’t used very often will allow these gases to enter the home. Traps can dry out, especially in summer months and will let the gas enter. The most common culprits for this problem are floor drains, infrequently used restrooms and sinks, and even showers. Using trap primers that will add water to traps to help block the movement of gas is important. Additionally, water seals can fail because of blocked plumbing vents.
Sewer gas doesn’t have to come through an open trap – it can also seep in through a leak in a vent pipe or plumbing drain. Foundation cracks under a building may be large enough for the sewer gas to leak in. While denser than atmospheric gases, sewer gas can mix with the air and move up instead of being trapped in the basement. Cleaning septic or manure storage tanks will put people at high risk of exposure to sewer gas.
When plumbing vents are placed too close to windows or air intakes of an HVAC system, it is easy for these gas odors to enter a building. Even the wind can help to blow this gas towards and into a building, making it difficult to control and leaving many people wondering how to get rid of sewer odor.
While sewer gas in homes is unpleasant, it is not terribly harmful to a person’s health. Not only does sewer gas contain the gases in the air, it also contains methane, but it is usually at a nontoxic level. The “rotten egg” smell of sewer gas indicates the presence of hydrogen sulfide content, which can cause some health problems, including eye irritation, a sore throat, and dizziness, among other issues. Prolonged exposure can lead to headaches, fatigue, and pneumonia, while higher concentrations can actually lead to loss of consciousness and even death.
Methane and hydrogen sulfide are explosive and highly flammable. Any flames near these gases can cause them to ignite, which is why caution is necessary if you are working in an area that has these gases.
Plumbing Vents & Sewer Gas
When sewer gases are fully vented they will actually contribute to greenhouse emissions. It’s a good idea to use a septic vent pipe that can remove some of the odors.
Some people are considering using sewer gas as a source of power, which would reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. By piping the gas into a cleaning system, it can be used to power a generator or even a CHP (heat and power plant).
The Hidden Threat Behind Sewer Smells & Odors
Beyond just smelling bad, some gases that are present in sewage can negatively affect the durability of certain materials. Microorganisms in the gas can result in corrosion. Hydrogen sulfide can actually cause microbial corrosion or sulfide corrosion. When exposure is high and prolonged, this can result in a structure collapsing. It’s best, when you are worried about how to get rid of methane gas, that you consider the benefits of Odorox/Pyure hydroxyl processors, as they can decompose the organic gases and make sure that the space is clean, fresh, and safe.
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Odorox hydroxyl technology destroys 99.9% of germs, bacteria, mold, mildew, voc's and viruses in the air and on porous and non-porous surfaces which can cause illness and infections. MDU/RX FDA approved and safe to use in spaces occupied by people, pets, and plants.