Best Sewer Gas Detector (Rotten Egg Smell in 2023)
Sewer gas leak detectors are used for sewer odor and sewer gas detection. Sewer gas smell in the home is annoying and can be harmful to human health. Sewer smells in bathroom and sewer smells in home drain openings are common. Sewer gas includes ammonia, methane and hydrogen sulfide. Sewer gas detectors are very helpful for plumbers, inspectors, water works, HVAC, contractors and maintenance engineers.
The Best Sewer Gas Detectors?
The best Sewer Gas Leak Detectors Include:
- Forensics Detectors Sewer Gas Leak Detector
- Klein Tools Combustible Gas Leak Detector
- UEI Gas Leak Detector
- Ridgid Combustible Gas Leak Detector
- PCE Ultrasonic Gas Leak Detector
- Sensit Leak Detector
- Extech Gas Leak Combustible Detector
What is Sewer Gas?
Sewer gas is composed of:
- hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and methane.
It is a natural by-product of human waste and becomes a problem for homeowners when there are leaks, clogged vents, and/or broken pipes. Most term this the rotten egg smell in house, found commonly in older sewer plumbing and building.
What is a Sewer Gas Detector?
A Sewer Gas Detector is a electronic handheld device that has a gooseneck with a sensor. The sensor detectors sewer gas coming from your drain in your shower, bathroom or kitchen. The sensor changes electronic signal and sent to the display showing you the gas concentration level detected. Make sure your gas leak detector is reading in the parts per million concentration scale, abbreviated as ppm. Ensure it is NOT showing %LEL, this is not very sensitive.
Why Does My House Smell Like Sewer?
Sewer gas is produced as a result of household and industrial waste. In includes a mixture of several different gases from the decay of such waste. When you smell sewer gas in your home it means you have a leak, the gases are accumulating to the point where your nose can smell it.
What Causes Sewer Gas In a House?
A typical drain system is meant to vent sewer gas. If there is a blockage in your plumbing system, such as a clogged drain or a blocked vent pipe, sewer gas can build up and seep into your home. This can also happen if your plumbing system is not properly vented, allowing sewer gas to escape into your home instead of being vented outside.
It also means you have standing sewage in your drain lines. In other words, the waste water is not draining adequately, which allows for organic decay. The decay produces gas which should vent to via a drain vent pipe, but due to some blockage or bad plumbing, it is redirected to a opening in your home. This could be a intended opening like a drain opening, or a unintended opening such as a toilet wax connection not sealed, or a drain pipe that is not sealed or some drain pipe open pathway.
Sewer gas is also known as sewage gas, rotten egg smell gas and sometimes professionals refer to it as biogas.
Can Sewer Gas Cause Health Problems?
Sewer gas has the potential to cause both minor and serious health effects, as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services details, including:
- Hydrogen sulfide poisoning: This poisoning irritates the eyes and respiratory tract and can cause death at high concentrations.
- Asphyxiation: The presence of methane can suffocate and cause death when the methane displaces large quantities of oxygen.
- Burns: Flammability of certain gases in sewer gas can cause burns to individuals who encounter these fires.
Will Sewer Gas Explode?
Sewer gas does have the potential for creating both fires and explosions due to the presence of certain flammable and unstable gases in the mixture. Gases of particular concern include hydrogen sulfide and methane.
What is the Rotten Egg Smell (Sulfur Smell) in My House?
If you smell sulfur in your house, there are two possible explanations and causes for the foul odor.
First, it could be a sign of a natural gas leak. This can occur in the case of a substantial natural gas leak. The second explanation for this distinctive odor is that it could be a sign of a sewer gas leak-- such gas does contain some toxic gas components including methane and hydrogen sulfide.
What Does It Smell Like if You Have a Sewer Gas Leak?
In most cases, a sewer gas leak will have a strong sulfur smell which can often translate into a smell reminiscent of rotten eggs. This is primarily due to the presence of sulfur in sewer gas through the gaseous component, hydrogen sulfide.
Does a Gas Leak Detector Find the Sewer Gas Leak?
The first step to finding the source of the smell of sewer gas in the home is the use of sewer odor detection. This can be accomplished with a sewer gas leak detector, or sometimes referred to as simply a gas leak detector. Other methods include calling in a plumber and he will undertake a smoke test to assess where, exactly, the leak may be in the pipes and also undertake a acoustic leak test.
The cheapest way for a landlord or homeowner to track down a sewer gas leak is to use a Sewer Gas Leak Detector.
Is There a Device to Detect Sewer Gas?
A combustible gas leak detector for sewers is a piece of detecting equipment that can be used in order to monitor the presence of multiple kinds of combustible gases that are commonly found in sewer gas. In most cases, these devices will alert the user to the presence of specific types of gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, but not have a broad "sewer gas" detection as a whole.
Instead, the user must be equipped with knowledge of which gases are commonly found in the mixture of gases included in sewer gas and deduce from the combustible gas leak detector whether or not those gases are individually present in a given area.
How Much Does a Sewer Gas Detector Cost?
A sewer gas detector ranges from $30 to $300. The Forensics Detectors Sewer Gas Leak Detector costs less than $100 and comes in both RED and YELLOW versions.
How Long Does a Sewer Gas Detector Last?
A sewer gas detector lasts for over 5 years.
Does a Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect Sewer Gas?
No, it does not.
Carbon monoxide detectors DO NOT detect sewer gas.
These devices are designed to detect only the presence of carbon monoxide, and thus will not pick up on the other gases that are found in a sewer gas mixture.
Is My Nose More Sensitive Than a Sewer Gas Detector?
Yes. The human nose is more sensitive than a ppm type of gas leak detector.
Your nose can detect down to 0.001ppm. A detect that costs about $100 bucks detects down to about 1ppm.
The problem however is that the nose changes sensitivity once it smells a rancid smell such as sewer gas in the home. A process called olfactory fatigue reduces its sensitivity, and as such, is not a reliable objective detector.
So in other words, a sewer gas detector is more effective than the human nose for identifying a sewer leak and a much more objective instrument. But, the initial nose sensitivity is much more sensitive than any gas leak detector on the market.
What Gases Does a Gas Leak Detector Recognize?
Gas leak detectors can recognize a variety of gases, especially if they are used in the broad sense. Combustible gas detectors can recognize combustible gases, as their name suggests. The Forensics Detectors Gas Leak Detector is intended for combustible gases and, as such, can detect combustible gases including the following:
- Hydrogen Sulfide
- And more
Many gas detectors that are marketed as combustible gas detectors are be able to detect the same gases - combustibles.
Are Sewer Gases Release from Drains?
It depends on your drain configuration.
Sometimes due to sitting sewer water and lack of drain ventilation, sewer gases can accumulate and be release from certain drain openings. In most cases however, if there is venting, airflow, and open access to the outdoor environment, the gases are diluted and the typical sewer smell is not present.
Does Lowes Sell a Sewer Gas Detector?
Yes, Lowe's sells gas leak detection solution and a digital multimeter with the capabilities to detect a number of combustible gases that are found in sewer gas.
Does Home Depot Sell a Sewer Gas Detector?
Yes, Home Depot sells multiple types of combustible gas detectors. Several of these devices have the capability to detect multiple gases found in a sewer gas mixture.
How Do I Get Rid of Sewer Gas Smell in My House?
There are several steps that should be taken to remove sewer gas odor from the home. To start, clean the sink overflow, address the toilet by checking the wax ring and caulking the base, remove bacterial growth from drains, check plumbing systems that are not used frequently, check the garbage disposal, and check for any potential leaks in pipes. The last step on this list may require the assistance of a hired professional if the homeowner is uncomfortable with identifying holes on their own.
What is the Main Cause of Sewer Gas Smell in a Home?
The main causes for sewer gas odor in the home include the following:
- Cracked pipes
- Air vent blockage
- Drain clogs
- Dry plumbing
- Loose toilets
- Standing wast water in drains
- Poor plumbing with P-Traps
- A sewer gas detector may also be called a combustible gas detector, sewer gas leak detector, sewer odor detector, sewer gas detector of the home, or combustible gas leak detector for sewers.
- Long-term exposure to sewer gas can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
- Sewer gas detectors can provide homeowners with a means to test the presence of sewer gas in their homes if they smell sulfur.
- Sewer gas leaks can be fixed by hiring plumber. They will find and fix the leak, that is usually caused by old, defective and degrading plumbing infrastructure.
About the Author
Dr. Koz is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS, where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.
Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and having a cold beer.
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