Sewer smells are rather pungent. It can ruin a pleasant environment and can even shut down a restaurant or retail store. A couple common culprits that allow sewer gas smells to escape are Traps and Drains. Roof vents and cracked piping can also be the cause. Rarely, if ever, do septic systems cause sewer smells (other than when pumping the system).
Traps & Drains
Unused, or dried out P-Traps will cause a sewer smell. Unused, or dried out drains will cause a sewer smell. This includes floor drains, shower drains and utility drains.
Commercial Sewer Vents
Both residential and commercial properties have sewer vents. Sewer vents are purposed to carry sewer smells up and away from the building. If the sewer vent develops a crack or is poorly installed, sewer smells escape into the building. This is very common in commercial buildings because of multiple TI’s and As-Built’s that occur for tenants needs.
These are the most common findings when it comes to sewer smells but not limited to. We find interesting ways sewer smells have escaped.
To detect where the sewer smell is leaking out of a smoke test is performed.
Plumbing Smoke Test
A smoke test can be done on any plumbing lines (residential or commercial) to reveal and detect any leaks. The #1 reason smoke tests are performed are for SEWER SMELLS.
Sewer smells and sewer odors are annoying. They can and will greatly affect commercial businesses if they have a regular flow of customers.
How Does A Smoke Test Work?
Non-Toxic smoke, or vapor, is pumped through the plumbing lines. The vapor is identical to what a traditional fog machine would use for entertainment purposes. Portions of the plumbing/sewer system are blocked off and smoke vapor is pumped through the line. Any breaks, cracks or uncapped lines will reveal smoke.
It is important to have an experience and licensed plumber provide this service as enough exposed smoke vapor will set off fire alarms. On a commercial building, this is not a fun oops.
How Much Is A Smoke Test?
Depending on the size of the plumbing system a residential smoke test will be between $300-$350 and a commercial smoke test will be between $400-$600.