No matter how well and often you clean your home, it may still contain bad odors. Many of these are relatively harmless, like the aroma of a long-forgotten vase with rotting flowers, the lingering stench of burnt food, or the fragrance of your cat’s litter box. However, some of these smells can be dangerous, such as the odor of sewer gas (also known as hydrogen sulfide). This type of gas isn’t only unpleasant but can also be incredibly harmful since it can cause headaches, dizziness, and even respiratory problems like sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. If you notice this in your house, you need to take action ASAP.
The first thing you should do is to understand your home’s sewer system. It basically has two parts: a p-trap (which contains water that acts as a seal or barrier to keep sewer gas out) and a vent (which allows hydrogen sulfide to escape harmlessly through the roof). If either of these parts are blocked or damaged, you’ll definitely detect sewer gas in your home.
With these in mind, do your homework and find out where the unpleasant odor is coming from. If you have a rarely used drain in your home, it probably is the cause of your sewer gas problem. This comes from the fact that drains have to be frequently used so the p-trap will always have water in it and maintain the seal. If a drain is unused for a long period of time, the water seal dries up and sewer gas can freely flow into your house.
Fix the Issue
If this is the case, you can try a home remedy that may help you fix the problem. These are the steps you must take:
1. Pour a cup of vinegar into the unused drain.
2. Follow it up with one-fourth cup of baking soda.
3. Leave the drain for a couple of hours to let the vinegar and baking soda set.
4. After two hours or so, pour a gallon hot water down the drain. After this, turn on the shower and allow cold water to flow down the drain for ten minutes or so.
5. Pour a half-cup of chlorine bleach down the drain. Leave for a couple of hours.
6. When the time is up, repeat step number four.
7. Pour around eight tablespoons of cooking oil into the drain. This will “cover” the water in the p-trap, preventing it from evaporating, maintaining the water seal, and helping keep sewer gas away.
If you don’t have an unused drain, your sewer gas problem might stem from blocked vents. You can check by carefully climbing up your roof and seeing if your vents are blocked by leaves, dirt, or even a dead bird or squirrel. If they are clogged, remove the things that are blocking them; if the vents are clear upon inspection, pour water down them using a garden hose to remove the obstruction. If they stay clogged, use a stick or a sewer auger to clear the blockage.
If you’ve taken these steps but to no avail, it’s definitely the right time to call the plumber. This way, you’ll have a professional who’ll take a look at your sewer system and fix the problem ASAP.