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Are You Smelling Natural Gas in Your Greenwood Home?

Jan 17, 2024

If you smell natural gas in your Greenwood home, open some windows to bring fresh air into your home. Leave your home and notify the gas company immediately. While natural gas is considered a safe fuel for home heating, cooking, and other uses, it is highly flammable.

Natural Gas Odor

Did you know that pure natural gas doesn’t have an odor? That strong rotten-egg smell we associate with the fuel (and that you’re remembering) actually comes from an additive known as methyl mercaptan. Natural gas producers add the stinky chemical to make sure we’ll be able to detect leaks.

Other Gas Odors

Sometimes, the odor you smell is definitely a kind of gas … and it results from a natural process … but it isn’t natural gas. The smell many Greenwood-area homeowners refer to as “sewer gas” is a form of methane gas. It’s created when organic matter breaks down, or decomposes, in a confined space. A sewer pipe is a great example. When we dump leftovers into the garbage disposal or flush the toilet, natural bacteria in our sewer lines begins to break down solid matter. That creates the familiar sewer gas smell.

Keeping Gas Where it Belongs

Most of the time, you shouldn’t be able to smell sewer gas inside your Greenwood home. That’s because your home’s drainage system is set up to keep those bad smells from coming through your drains. One way they do that is through bends in the pipes known as “traps.” Those traps remain filled with liquid, keeping the gases from getting past them. If a trap dries out, you may start smelling sewer gas. If it seems to be coming from a floor drain or a sink in your basement, try pouring a couple cups of water into it. That often restores the trap’s function.

Symptoms of Drain Problems

Sometimes, though, adding water to a bad-smelling drain doesn’t make the gas odor go away. That’s usually a sign of more serious problems within your drainage system or your sewer lines — and the most common reason is some kind of blockage.

What are Sewer Blockages?

As the term suggests, sewer blockages are what it’s called when waste material in your sewer line begins to collect in a certain location, often where there’s a bend in the piping. Food debris, fats and oils, paper products, and those so-called “flushable” wipes are examples of what can collect and gradually block the proper flow of the sewer line. Sometimes, the problem can be caused by tree roots that grow through small cracks and other gaps in your sewer line. Most sewer blockages happen slowly.

Can’t I Just Use Drain Cleaner?

The hardware stores and the supermarkets sell bottles of chemicals that promise to immediately solve problem clogs. Unfortunately, they rarely work as well as advertised. In fact, many can make the problem even worse, either by corroding pipes and damaging fittings, or by injuring people who accidentally get splattered by these caustic and toxic materials.

Should I Use a Plunger?

You can try to use a plunger to resolve a serious sewer clog, but it’s unlikely to have much effect. Plungers work by forcing clogs and other materials to move back and forth so they detach from the pipe walls. It can take a substantial amount of pressure to do that, and the materials may still remain in the pipe.

A Better Approach to Sewer Gas Smells

Professional drain cleaning is the most effective way to make sure your drains are flowing freely, so they can remove all those unpleasant waste materials from your home. They’re often able to pinpoint the underlying problem, so you don’t have to worry about those smells returning in the future.

Get Professional Help

If you’ve been noticing a frequent sewer gas smell, don’t ignore it. Most sewer-related problems only become worse with time. The professionals at Indiana Leak Detection use today’s most advanced technology to find and pinpoint blockages and other sewer problems. They also know the best ways to repair any damage so your system can go back to protecting your home and family.

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