Plumbing problems are inconvenient, and they can damage your property and cost you when it comes time to pay your water bill. But can bad plumbing make you sick? Yes, there are a few ways that plumbing problems can impact you and your family’s health. Here are a few ways that bad plumbing can make you sick and how you can avoid it.
Released Sewer Gases
Serious sewer problems, such as clogs, breaks, and back-ups, can all release sewer gases into your home. In fact, even minor issues like a dry trap can bring sewer smells right into your home. If you leave these problems unresolved, the sewer gases can make you sick and even cause very serious health consequences if they are left unchecked. If you can smell your sewer, you should get a plumber’s help.
There is always a certain number of bacteria in the drains in your home. Every time you wash something, including food and your hands, you send that bacteria down the drain. Normally that’s fine, as the bacteria leaves your home into the sewers. But sometimes you can get an overgrowth of bacteria in your pipes that can cause smells, and, rarely, health problems. One example is when your water heater gets infected with bacteria, perhaps because the temperature is too low. Legionella pneumophila may grow in water heaters that are too cold, and getting infected with it can be deadly.
Don’t waste time and money pouring chemicals down the drain or into your water heater to try to remove bacteria. Get a plumber to resolve the problem for you once and for all.
Minor and major plumbing leaks can both introduce too much moisture and humidity into your home. If you leave a leak unchecked, it can produce enough moisture to encourage mold growth. Or, if you have a major leak and don’t dry out the area afterwards, the residual moisture can encourage mold. Either way, mold spores can annoy those with respiratory problems. Some rare molds can make toxins that can cause very serious health problems, even death, which is one reason it is critical to dry your home after a plumbing leak.
Lead pipes are getting rarer and rarer, but some homes still have them. Outdated plumbing can release small amounts of lead into your drinking water. Your body can’t get rid of the lead, so it will slowly build up in your body until you start to experience symptoms of lead poisoning. If you’re not sure about the age or quality of your pipes, you should get a plumber to check them out for you.
Viruses and Other Contaminants
When you have a leak from your home’s drain or sewer, it will release contaminated water into your home. The seriousness of this contamination depends on the source of the leak and the condition of the water in your pipes. It is best practice to sanitize surfaces that have been exposed to plumbing leaks, to kill the viruses and bacteria before they can spread or infect you or your family.