You come home from work, enter the kitchen, and smell a nasty odor similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. You try to find the smell to a specific area, but you can’t seem to nail it down. There’s a good chance you have a natural gas or propane leak. Even the smallest leaks can produce a foul odor. The safety of you and your family always comes first, so remove yourself, and the family from your home. Don’t forget your pets.
Then call your local gas utilities company or the local fire department, they will come right out and test your home for a gas leak. If the utility company or fire department finds a gas leak, they’ll turn off the gas. It will be your responsibility to call on a licensed plumbing contractor that specializes in repairing gas lines to come and repair the leak.
The Rotten Egg Smell Is For Alerting Residents Of A Gas Leak
A word of caution before leaving your home, don’t use any devices, including a cell phone or appliance until you’re a safe distance away from your home. They’re both capable of creating a spark. Natural gas and propane give off that rotten egg smell. That odor is a sulfur compound called Mercaptan. The compound is inserted into the gas for the very purpose of alerting residents to a gas leak.
Methane Gas Mixed With Hydrogen Sulfide Will Create A Rotten Egg Smell
A gas leak isn’t the only way the smell can enter your home, but once it’s ruled out, you can move forward to search. If the odor is coming up from a drain in your home, then it’s usually a matter of letting your nose do the locating. Chances are the pipe that’s giving off the odor is one rarely used. Drain pipes such as shower, tub, or sink that receive minimal use can also be subject to foul smell. If the water in the drain “trap” evaporates or dries up, it becomes exposed to a methane gas mix coming up from the sewer line.
Methane gas alone is odorless but mixed with other gases like hydrogen sulfide, it will create a rotten egg smell. Hydrogen sulfide derives from decomposing organic matter, either animal or vegetable. As a side note, low concentrations of methane gas are not harmful.
Once You Find The Pipe That’s Causing The Problem, It’s A Simple Fix
If you’re a homeowner, you will have already noticed that the U-shaped drain pipes connected to your fixtures under your sinks. The U-shape design is for trapping water so that smelly gases cannot make their way up the drain. Once you find the drainpipe that’s the cause of the problem, the fix is simple. Turn on the water for a few seconds and allow it to drain, the dry trap will fill back up. Remove yourself from the area for a short time then return if the smell is gone. Hence, the drain trap was the culprit all along.