Safety Concern Related To Bathroom Light Fixture - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 01-10-2008, 03:10 AM   #1
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Safety Concern related to bathroom light fixture


I replaced the vanity lighting over my bathroom mirror tonight the screw holes to secure the vanity back plate were a little bit closer in on the new lighting, and I had to put the back plate a little higher (lights drop down). When I drilled the left hole for the expanding wall screw latch (not sure what its called) I ran into a rough patch about 1/2 inch into the drill. I switched out my bit for a stronger bit and it worked fine after a little pressure.

I secured the vanity light, and got everything set up and cleaned up, and I swear after returning the power to the lighting and testing them I smelled the slightest odor in the bathroom. (I also just installed 2 faucets, so it could be the smell of fresh metal).

I'm very concerned that I may have drilled through a natural gas pipe or something similar, and can't sleep because of the danger of carbon monoxide.

Could somebody let me know:

1) Are there gas pipes in close proximity to electrical fixtures in bathrooms?

2) Who can I call this late at night to test for a gas leak?

3) I shut off the lighting for the hall/bathroom, but have no breaker for just the electrical for that area. Do I need to shut off power to my house to avoid an electrical fire sparked by the gas?

I hope somebody is up and can help me out. I'm very concerned.

Thank You!


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Old 01-10-2008, 07:41 AM   #2
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Do you have gas in the house? If you have gas you should know what it smells like so that you know if you have a leak. This is an important thing to know, it could save your life. Natural gas has an onion like odor.

Is there any gas fed heating equipment in your attic?

You may have drilled into the plumbing vent line behind the vanity. If so you may be getting an odor of sewer gas, methane, leaking into the wall cavity.

Carbon monoxide has NO smell which is why it is a silent killer. Unless your house is all electric it would be a good idea to install a carbon monoxide detector.

You could call the fire department and/or your gas provider, the sooner the better.


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Old 01-10-2008, 08:06 AM   #3
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You should call in someone who works with plumbing. The bad news is, houses most often have one wall in them called a "wet wall". It's a wall that's got a lot of space in it to fit the large venting pipes of your plumbing system and pipes. Since it's wide and easy to work in electricians use it for their wires, gas people use it for their stuff, plumbers use it for their pipes the "wet wall" is very busy place. The bad news is, that wall is in almost all cases the one your vanity & toilet are against. So, to answer your question if pipes would run in the wall behind your vanity, unfortunately chances are almost certainly.

Chances are you drilled into the plumbing vent, and it's leaking sewer gas. I'm not sure you'd be around right now if you went into a gas line and since a gas line is under pressure you'd probably be hearing it leak, plus they put a smelling agent in gas... you should be able to smell it. Who you get to come in to fix it, will probably attempt to remove the medicine cabinet if you have one so they can stick their head in and peak, or they may have to cut a section of the wall out to see what's behind it and repair it after. Time to call in the professionals.

Last edited by Piedmont; 01-10-2008 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:57 PM   #4
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I'm not sure I understood the whole bit about stronger bits and where you had to drill. But these guys are on the money. Your bathroom wet wall has tons of piping in it. Don't freak out
Chances are you drilled into the plumbing vent, and it's leaking sewer gas. I'm not sure you'd be around right now if you went into a gas line and since a gas line is under pressure you'd probably be hearing it leak,
This very true. You will be able to hear a gas leak. Again, if the drill encountered that much resistance, it's more than likely you drilled into a plumbing stack. Or if you're lucky, a vent. Keep us posted.
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