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Septic System Smells (10 Causes And Their Preventions)

Updated: Jan 4

Do you ever catch a whiff of an unpleasant smell and realize it's coming from your septic system?

It's not exactly a delightful experience.

Well, you're not alone.

Many homeowners face this issue, but the good news is it can be prevented.

In this blog post, we uncover the common causes behind these unsavory odors and provide practical solutions to help you prevent them.

This approach can create a more delightful and harmonious atmosphere within and around your home.

What Is A Septic System?

Septic tanks are essential for homes without centralized sewer systems, particularly in rural locales.

These underground structures fulfill the crucial function of treating wastewater directly at the point of origin.

Functioning as a crucial part of a home's septic system, these tanks handle household waste safely and efficiently.

They work by separating liquid from solid waste, a process that allows the organic portion of the sewage to decompose naturally.

The resulting filtrate is not only devoid of unpleasant septic tank odors but is also environmentally friendly.

What Causes Odors to Emerge from a Septic Tank?

Unpleasant odors can sometimes waft up from your septic tank, typically because of the accumulation and release of certain gases within the system, known as septic tank gas.

This occurrence of smelly septic could result from a full tank, blocked vents, or an imbalance within the system.

While these smells can be off-putting, they also serve as a warning sign. If you notice such odors outside your home, it's likely a signal that your septic system requires attention.

Regular maintenance or necessary repairs can help mitigate these gaseous emissions, ensuring a healthier and more pleasant environment around your home.

10 Reasons for Septic Tank Smells And Solutions

Here are ten reasons septic tanks can smell and the solutions to fix them.

1. Blocked Drain Vents

Cause: If vents in your dwelling's plumbing system become clogged, it could result in the buildup of septic gasses in houses, leading to the smell of septic gas.

Prevention: Regularly inspect these vents for any obstruction from such materials as bird nests, leaves, or other types of debris. Clearing them can help prevent the accumulation of poisonous gasses.

2. Full Septic Tank

Cause: As time passes, solid matter fills up septic tanks, which reduces their efficiency and sometimes causes blockages, leading to a septic tank smell in the house. This is usually when your tank needs to be pumped.

Prevention: Arrange for regular septic tank pumping and maintenance. Although most homes will need this service every 3-5 years, that will depend on how much they are being used and the size of the container.

3. Dry Drain Traps

Cause: Occasional sewage smells in houses may be due to dry drain traps, which let septic gases into living spaces. In some cases, this occurs mainly in guest bathrooms or other drains that are not regularly used.

Prevention: Make sure all sinks, showers, and tubs have running water from time to time so that the traps are not empty. Doing this can stop gas from moving above through the pipes.

4. Damaged Drain Pipes

Cause: Drain pipe cracks or ruptures can allow septic gasses to escape, resulting in a foul smell from your septic system. This rupture may be caused by age, corrosion, or external pressure.

Prevention: Inspect your pipes regularly for any signs of damage. This will help to prevent the development of odors if detected early and repairs are done.

5. Overloaded Septic System

Cause: Excessive water use or wrong waste disposal may overload the septic system, leading to backup and septic smells.

Prevention: Avoid disposing of non-biodegradable items such as diapers, wipes, and feminine products in the toilet.

You can also connect to a professional sewer and septic system service for cleaning and pumping.

Also, reduce water usage and spread out laundry tasks throughout the week instead of doing them all at once.

This will help balance the load on your septic system.

6. Vent Pipe Issues

Cause: When the vent pipe gets damaged or is not installed correctly, gasses cannot escape, causing a foul smell from a septic tank at home.

Prevention: Ensure you have pipes installed well without any damage to them. Inspecting them to identify issues before they get worse frequently is good.

7. Biological Decomposition Imbalance

Cause: In your septic tank, the ecosystem depends on the balance of bacteria, which helps break down waste. Various agents, usually chemicals, cause this imbalance, making it difficult to break down waste, resulting in efficient septic smells.

Prevention: Don't use harmful chemical products in your septic tank, as they will kill all bacteria inside. In addition, don't pour harsh chemical substances into the drainage.

8. Groundwater Contamination

Cause: Groundwater contamination may occur when the sewage system leaks or overflows. Thereby causing a septic smell in the bathroom of your house and other places.

Prevention: Regularly inspect your septic system to detect any faults early enough. It should be regularly serviced and must meet the stipulated industry standards.

9. Poorly Sealed Or Damaged Toilets

Cause: When there is a leak around your toilet's seal, it could cause gasses to enter your home; this is mainly observed as a septic system smells after rain.

Prevention: Inspect toilets for seal tightness routinely. Replace old seals that are worn out, preventing gas outflow, or switch the septic with sewer.

10. External Environment Factors

Cause: Whenever the ground around your septic system is saturated due to heavy rain, a severe smelly septic system could be experienced within your house.

Prevention: Ensure water does not accumulate near or linger around your system during heavy rainfall by properly landscaping and draining surrounding areas.

Final Verdicts

Dealing with unpleasant odors from your septic system can be challenging.

However, understanding the root causes and implementing effective prevention strategies can significantly reduce the likelihood of these unwelcome smells.

Regular maintenance of your septic system is crucial.

Should you encounter persistent issues or need professional advice on eliminating septic smells from your home, contact Barnes Sewer & Septic at (765) 584-7295. we also provide rental portable toilet services.

We're here to help you regain control of your air quality and end the odors emanating from your septic system.

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