07 Aug 2014

Tracking down sewer gas odor problems, we’ve found these common sources of sewer gas odors:

  • Air conditioning and heating systems using air ducts and blower fans can pick up odors from one source and move them to another destination. In some cases local negative air pressure may also overcome normal drain pipe venting, especially if plumbing traps are omitted or defective or if there are loose toilets leaking odors into a room.
  • Electrical conduit leaks: found septic gases following electrical conduit from septic pumping station into the principal building.
  • Sewer/Septic Piping Leaks: Found DWV (drain-waste-vent piping) plumbing piping leaks: had a plumber pressure test the drain waste vent piping to find sewer gas leaks due to mechanical damage, rust, corrosion in piping, improper sewer vent locations, or inadequate/missing waste pipe venting
  • Toilet seal leaks: Found sewer gas leaks at a toilet with a bad seal – a toilet can be leaking sewage water or just gases around its base if the toilet is not properly mounted, even if the toilet is not obviously loose on the floor.
  • Sewer Piping Joint Leaks: Found sewer gas leaks where plastic pipes had never been properly glued in a wall, ceiling or floor, from original construction. Found by pressure testing.
  • Sewer Piping Punctures: Found sewer gas leaks where drain waste vent pipes had been perforated by a nail from flooring or in one case from hanging a picture on the wall.
  • Private Septic System Failures: Found sewer gas leaks outside due to a failing septic drainfield and/or blocked sewer piping causing backups that leaked outdoors. In a case where odors were traced to leaks at a septic tank, odors from the septic tank were strongest at the front entry door to the home, perhaps in part because the system was in failure and backing up.
  • Drain trap odors: Found sewer gas odors at plumbing fixture traps whose water trap was lost due to trap siphonage due in turn to missing, improperly installed (too distant), or blocked plumbing vent piping. Where dry plumbing traps pass sewer gases back into a building the problem may be worse in cold weather or when building vent fans are decreasing the in-building air pressure, drawing gases out of drain piping
  • Swamp gas or marsh gas: Traced sewer/septic gas odors to swamp gases or marsh gas, also potentially dangerous, especially if swamp gas leaks into and accumulates inside a building.  Swamp gases include methane produced by the decomposition of organic materials in subsoils.
  • Other sulphur type gas odors: traced to gases or chemicals in private water supply, well water contaminants, or traced to bacterial contamination of a water heater or corroded water heater anode

Contact Los Angeles Electrician if you have any question or to add other sewer gas odor sources you’ve found.