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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was at my parent's house yesterday and noticed a very strong sewer gas smell outside their 1-story ranch. There was even a visible "gas" steaming from the roof plumbing stack vents, and it's middle of the summer. I know venting gas is what they are designed for, but I've never experienced that much smell or steam before at their house and they've lived there for 50+ years. No obvious drainage or backup issues that I can see from within the house.

Does this sound more like an issue with the city sewer mains? I don't know why else you'd see that much gas coming from a vent stack in the middle of summer. Called a plumber and he doesn't see how power rodding to the main would help in this case. Scratching my head on this one because it doesn't seem normal.
 

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Atmosphere air pressure can do strange things, along with wind. I think that is all that was happening. Low pressure over the house could pull gasses out of the sewer.



Sewer gas is heavier than air so once out of the pipe it will drop to the ground with out a wind to disperse it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Atmosphere air pressure can do strange things, along with wind. I think that is all that was happening. Low pressure over the house could pull gasses out of the sewer.



Sewer gas is heavier than air so once out of the pipe it will drop to the ground with out a wind to disperse it.
Thanks, but do you think it's normal that it can be seen coming out as a steam? I get the smell if it's an occasionally issue from low pressure, but steaming in the summer seems strange right?
 

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Thanks, but do you think it's normal that it can be seen coming out as a steam? I get the smell if it's an occasionally issue from low pressure, but steaming in the summer seems strange right?
Boy, that's a head scratcher, I agree, atmospheric pressure can do strange things, you see this steaming effect all the time when driving by big industrial/commercial complexes mostly in winter but also in summer time as well.

While very possible, I do think it's strange to see this steaming effect coming from a residential house in the middle of summertime.

Does this steaming effect and awful sewer smell happen to just your parents house or other houses in the neighborhood as well.??

There isn't any issues with blockage or backing up so the only thing I could suggest for piece of mind is have them contact their local municipality/dpw, and ask them if this is normal for your area and see what they suggest you do about the awful smell and steaming from the vent stack.

Possibly something very hot or boiling is entering the municipal sewer main somewhere and then steam is venting wherever it can, but that would seem highly unlikely as everyone on that main sewer line would be affected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Boy, that's a head scratcher, I agree, atmospheric pressure can do strange things, you see this steaming effect all the time when driving by big industrial/commercial complexes mostly in winter but also in summer time as well.

While very possible, I do think it's strange to see this steaming effect coming from a residential house in the middle of summertime.

Does this steaming effect and awful sewer smell happen to just your parents house or other houses in the neighborhood as well.??

There isn't any issues with blockage or backing up so the only thing I could suggest for piece of mind is have them contact their local municipality/dpw, and ask them if this is normal for your area and see what they suggest you do about the awful smell and steaming from the vent stack.

Possibly something very hot or boiling is entering the municipal sewer main somewhere and then steam is venting wherever it can, but that would seem highly unlikely as everyone on that main sewer line would be affected.
So the DPW did an inspection on the mains this morning and found nothing unusual. It's gravity fed and nothing nearby entering hot or boiling. Normal flow they said. As far as neighbors, I could actually smell the sewer gas around other houses in the neighborhood, but didn't seeing the steaming. Funny enough, today I don't see or smell it, so atmospheric issues might make more sense.

I wonder if it's possible that a very hot roof can worsen a low pressure situation to "pull" the gases out of the sewer like that? I'll try to get a photo if it repeats today or tomorrow in the heat of the afternoon.
 
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