Friday, June 16, 2017

Methane Gas Can Kill You

Over the last several weeks Gary had a slight headache in the morning. He attributed it to stress because of my ER visits. We had been keeping the windows open at night and closing them during the day. Recently it became too humid and hot to keep the windows open so we decided to start using the air conditioning for the season.

The next day we both had headaches AND the bathroom smelled like sewer gas. Gary uses the lower shower and I use the middle shower. It seems the bathtub on the upper level was allowing methane gas into our home. When we turned on the air conditioner it must have evaporated the last bit of water in the P trap in the bathtub. The P trap is used in plumbing to prevent methane gas and other toxic sewer gases from entering your home through the sewer pipes from a sewer or septic tank.

Please, if you don't use a bathroom in your home, perhaps on an upper or lower level, make sure you run a little water in the sink and shower or bathtub at least once a week. Perhaps you have a second home or a cabin you only use occasionally. Run water in the drains when you arrive. They do make methane gas detectors fairly inexpensively. We now have one installed. The detector should be replaced every ten years.

A side note - Barney, our cat, was trying like crazy to get us up that night and wouldn't give up. When your cat tries to wake you up to go out, there may be a good reason to pay attention to them. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Wow! So glad you got that figured out, Linda. I will check into that methane gas detector. We do have a carbon dioxide detector.

  2. Hi Rian, thanks, we have a carbon dioxide detector as well but the methane gas is also flammable and can cause brain damage and death due to lack of oxygen.

  3. Wow, close call. In Hawaii, we have solar water heater and electric appliances, so we don't worry about gas.

  4. Hi Gigi, thanks, but the methane gas comes from the sewer or the septic tank drifting by the plumbing P trap in the sink or bathtub; not form appliance run on gas or electric.

  5. a good warning Linda... here is Australia in older homes like ours this really isn't a problem as the homes are not built to be airtight in our milder climate... I was astounded when I first saw gas detectors in the UK.

  6. Yes, that is a good hint of old, and one I'm sure many aren't aware of or have forgotten

    Good reminder, Linda.


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