We can find even the smallest sewer gas leak.

shaw-plumbing-smoke-testA “Smoke Test” uses a safe odorless chemical that when heated makes a thick white smoke. When attached to the buildings drain system and pressurized, the smoke exposes the failure. The bigger the failure the more visible it is. So far our success rate is 100 percent. This test tells us one of two things. Either your system is good or bad. If its good the smell is not due to sewer gas. If its bad we locate the leak and explain what it will take to fix it.

Smoke Testing Will Easily Find Cracks/Flaws In System
What is sewer gas?

Sewer gas is a complex mixture of toxic and non-toxic gases that can be present at varying levels depending upon the source. It is formed during the decay of household and commercial waste.

Sewer gas also contains methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxides. In addition, chlorine bleaches, industrial solvents, and gasoline are frequently present in municipal and privately owned-sewage treatment systems.

How are people exposed to sewer gas?

Sewer gas can enter a home through a floor drain, from a leaking or blocked plumbing roof vent, cracked or cut pipe or (if the gases are in soil near to the house) through cracks in foundations. Sometimes when hanging a grab bar behind a toilet or shelf above the toilet or sink can puncture the vent pipe. This is usually not a problem until its removed during a remodel or a bathroom motif change. Then the screw that was blocking the gas from escaping and holding up your shelf is now a problem that can be very hard to find.

What are the effects of exposure to sewer gas?

The principal risks and effects associated with exposure are:

  • Hydrogen sulfide poisoning. Exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide causes irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Other symptoms include nervousness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and drowsiness. This gas smells like rotten eggs, even at extremely low concentrations. Exposure to high concentrations can interfere with the sense of smell, making this warning signal unreliable. At extremely high levels, hydrogen sulfide can cause immediate loss of consciousness and death.
  • Asphyxiation. High concentrations of methane in enclosed areas can lead to suffocation as large amounts of methane will decrease the amount of oxygen in the air. The effects of oxygen deficiency include headache, nausea, dizziness and unconsciousness. At very low oxygen concentrations (<12%), unconsciousness and death may occur very quickly and without warning. Sewer gas diffuses and mixes with indoor air, and will be most concentrated where it is entering the home. It can accumulate in basements.
  • Explosion and fire. Methane and hydrogen sulfide are flammable and highly explosive.
What should I do if I suspect a problem?

First, following the odor, try to locate the point of entry, such as a floor drain. By adding water to the floor drain or removing debris from a roof plumbing stack vent you may be able to prevent sewer gas from entering your home.

Symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness, or drowsiness may indicate exposure to an odorless gas like methane or carbon monoxide, or to hydrogen sulfide, which smells of rotten eggs. Persons experiencing severe symptoms should seek IMMEDIATE medical care.

If you suspect that high concentrations of sewer gas have accumulated in an enclosed space, you should evacuate the area and contact the fire department for assistance. Avoid creating an ignition source such a spark from an electrical appliance, match, or cigarette lighter.

How can I avoid being exposed to sewer gas?
  1. Flush floor and sink drains with water to prevent the traps in pipes to the sewer from drying out.
  2. Occasionally check the roof plumbing vent for blockage from debris such as leaves or bird nests. You may want to hire a professional to install metal screens over the vents on the roof.
  3. Never enter a municipal sewer line, manure-storage tank or any other large storage tank without proper training and equipment.

Call us at: 321-229-7582 and schedule your SMOKE TESTING FOR METHANE GAS today.

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