Do you smell that? If it smells like septic, you might have a problem.
Septic tanks are designed to keep foul odors out of your home, but malfunctions can occur. When septic odors come wafting into your house, it’s extremely unpleasant. Learn about the common causes of nasty sewer smells emanating from your septic tank and steps you can take to remedy them.
Septic tank odors should never be ignored. If you smell sewage within your home, it’s time to call a professional. To schedule an appointment with C&W Plumbing, call 972-395-2597.
Problem #1: Full Septic Tank
The most common cause of a septic tank smell within the home: The tank is full. Aside from the smell, you may also notice:
- Gargling sounds coming from your sink, or
- Your washing machine running much slower, or
- A sluggish toilet
Failing to clean out your septic tank on time can also cause the sewage to overflow.
Solution to a Full Tank: Empty It
A septic tank should be emptied every one to two years. This is a good rule of thumb, but your particular schedule will depend on:
- The tank’s size
- The size of your family
- Your family’s needs
Regular maintenance could make it possible to go longer before you need to empty the tank.
Problem #2: Dry Drains
The drains of a septic tank have a U-shaped bend in the pipe, known as the trap. This is designed to hold water and keeps gasses from rising up where you don’t want them. If the water and the drain dry up, the odors begin to travel up the pipe into your home.
Solution to Dry Drains: Pour Water Down the Drains, and Clean the Pipes
You can help keep water in the trap by running water through the drains, especially in areas that don’t get a lot of use, like a guest bathroom. Create a schedule, so you don’t forget.
Keeping these pipes clean is also important, but you should contact a plumber for assistance with cleaning. Plumbing mistakes can cause costly damage.
Problem #3: Vent Stack Clog
The vent stack is the pipe that releases all the gases that build up in your septic tank. The stack should send these gases out around your roof, so the smells don’t affect you. Unfortunately, leaves and other fallen debris can get jammed inside and cause odors to be trapped around your house.
Solution to a Vent Stack Clog: Clean the Roof and the Vent Stacks, and Lengthen the Pipe
Debris can be carefully removed from the vent stack to restore proper functionality. In general, try to keep the area around your vent stacks clear of leaves, garbage, and other items. This means cleaning your roof and gutters of debris every so often. Following a regular plumbing maintenance plan can help.
A vent-stack clog can also occur after landscaping on your yard, so keep an eye on this part of your plumbing after you’ve had grass-cutting, leaf-blowing, or other yardwork done.
The vent stack itself may also need to be lengthened or modified to prevent future build-ups. Some septic systems have their vents situated at ground-level. These can be extended away from the house if odor is a consistent problem.
Problem #4: Cold Weather
If you live in an area like North Texas that can have the occasional cold snap, then the weather could be causing your odor problem. In extreme cold or ice storms, ice can build up around venting areas and trap odors inside, similar to a clog caused by leaves or other debris.
Solution to Ice Traps: Monitor the Area, and Remove the Ice
Your best bet in this case is to keep a close eye on the area in question and check for ice. Warm water around the vent can help melt ice blockages. Vent pipes can also be insulated, if you feel the need. It can be helpful to lengthen the pipes, so they don’t end up covered in a layer of snow. Talk to a plumber about the best options for keeping your vents safe.
If you find your vent pipes have been covered in ice, chip away at the ice to help remove the blockage.
Problem #5: Defective Gaskets and Seals
An improperly sealed or broken connection around one of your pipes can also cause smells where you don’t want them. A common area for this to occur is near the base of the toilet. If you notice the sewer smell in your home is particularly strong in the bathroom, check the toilet wax seal. Seals or gaskets can be loose or rotted in other areas as well, especially in older homes.
Solution to a Defective Gasket or Seal: Call a Plumber
This problem is easy for a plumber to fix and shouldn’t be too costly. If a toilet is the culprit, a new wax ring can be installed by removing the toilet. Have a professional plumber go through your home’s plumbing system to detect any loose or rotted seals or gaskets, especially if the toilet is not the cause of the sewer smell inside your home.
Septic tank odors are unwelcome and extremely unpleasant. If you smell sewage inside your home, it’s important to call a professional plumber right away. C&W Plumbing is always available to help you identify the cause of the stench and rid your home of the nasty odor. Give us a call anytime at 972-395-2597.