What To Do When You Smell Sewer Gas

What To Do When You Smell Sewer Gas

At Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer, we know there are few things as unpleasant, and downright unsettling, as smelling sewer gas in your Northwest Side home. For starters, it’s a rotten egg smell that infiltrates the entirety of the home and makes it uncomfortable from the second you walk in the door. We get it and that’s why we’ve created this article – to help you understand sewer gas and deal with it when it arises in your home.

While we can explain what sewer gas is, where it comes from and how it might have entered your home, that’s not going to resolve whatever the issue is that’s causing the problem in the first place. The only surefire way to accomplish that is by calling Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer at (773) 633-6139 to have our team come out and find the cause and solve it for you once and for all.

What Exactly Is Sewer Gas & Why Does It Smell So Bad?

First off, sewer gas smells terrible because, well, it’s sewer gas. Primarily composed of trace amounts of hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide, sewer gas gets its noxious smell from the hydrogen sulfide. That’s the rotten eggs you smell. The other gases come from the waste materials the plumbing system disposes of and they offer their own unique odors – none of which are pleasant.

Sewer gas in the amounts usually found in homes isn’t harmful but when it gets out of hand or if a person is exposed to it for long periods it can have some deleterious health effects you should be aware of – including:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Trouble Concentrating

How Did This Sewer Gas Get Into My Northwest Side Home?

The origins of sewer gas will be different in each Northwest Side home that experiences issues but 99% of cases stem from faulty plumbing fixtures or plumbing systems. See modern plumbing systems are designed to mitigate sewer gas at all times during successful operation. But when something goes wrong you can end up with sewer gas permeating your Chicago home and that’s what you want to avoid at all costs – not only because it stinks terribly but because it could be dangerous long-term.

There are really five plumbing issues that cause the majority of sewer gas problems for our Northwest Side customers. We’ll dive into each of these and provide insight into why they occur and how to address them. These five reasons include:

  • Pipe & Vent Leaks: Plumbing pipes and vents can cause sewer gas to seep into the home when they have leaks or are improperly installed in your home. A vent placed to close to an intake or window can cause backdrafts that pull sewer gas into the home. Leaking pipes can emit sewer gas behind walls or underground where it can seep through cracks in your foundation. You need the Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer team to deliver a video plumbing inspection to find the root cause.
  • Cracked/Broken Pipes: Much like a leaking pipe will introduce sewer gas into your home, a cracked or broken one will let more gas in and make your home unlivable without the proper plumbing repair immediately delivered by a licensed and insured professional – like those from Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer.
  • Clogged Drains: When your drains become clogged, they lose their ability to quickly move toxic material away from your home and into the sewer system. That clog backup can give sewer gas the way in its looking for and once it starts it won’t stop until the clog has been cleared by an experienced Vanguard plumber with all the right tools.
  • Unused Plumbing: Plumbing systems are designed to be used and to stay wet in the process. Toxic waste material is designed to be moved constantly using water so when a system dries out after use – say because you turned off water to a toilet for a length of time – the material begins to emit sewer gas into the home. The only way to avoid this is to turn on unused plumbing regularly to maintain a wet internal environment.
  • Improperly Installed Toilets: Toilets have to be installed correctly to function properly. That’s just a fact so an improperly installed toilet can allow sewer gas to seep right into your home from the base. There has to be a tight seal between the toilet and the sewer line and Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer’s pros will ensure you get it with the best toilet repair and replacement on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

Get Expert Plumbing Assistance To Find Your Sewer Gas Source!

Don’t live with a sewer gas smell in your Northwest Side home for even a moment longer than you have to – not when all it takes to find and resolve your problem is one call to the licensed, insured and highly skilled plumbing professionals from Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer. Just call (773) 633-6139 or submit a contact form to schedule an immediate visit from the top-rated team in all of Chicagoland – 500+ five-star reviews and counting!

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Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer is a local, family-owned plumbing company with decades of experience delivering the finest service to Chicago and its northern suburbs.

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Vanguard Plumbing

Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer
Phone: (773) 633-6139
Location: 4352 N. Kenneth Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60641


Business Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM–5:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM–3:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

City & State Licensing:
Chicago Sewer: #2422
Illinois Contractor: #055-043043
Chicago Contractor: #SBC196464