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5 Common Causes for Septic Tank Smells

Although you may not want to think about it, septic tank smells can cause an awful stench in your home. Although a well-maintained septic tank can last many years, when your septic tank smells in your home it could indicate that something is not working properly.

What is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is the underground container that houses your household waste. That said, some homes don't have septic tanks because in more urban areas, they are connected to the local wastewater systems. However, septic tank smells can occur in homes that are in more rural areas and don't have the option of a sewerage system.

But what makes them "septic?" This refers to naturally occurring bacteria within the septic tank. This bacteria is responsible for breaking down any matter within the tank and can help with avoiding those foul septic tank smells.

A functioning septic system allows for new wastewater to be flushed down the drain and into the tanks. Old wastewater, which has been treated, is then pushed out into a drainage area (made up underground of perforated pipes). The wastewater is eventually absorbed into the ground at a safe distance from your house.

Unwanted septic tank smells can result from a faulty septic tank. This is because bacteria in your tank produces gas when it breaks down waste, and septic tank smells can happen if your septic system is not working properly or you are using it improperly.

Here are five common reasons for septic tank smells, and what you can to do about it.

1. A Full Tank can Cause Septic Tank Smells

Although septic tanks can naturally handle waste, they are sometimes unable to keep up with the volume of waste being deposited. In this case, you'd need to empty your septic tank on a regular basis to avoid those awful septic tank smells, otherwise it can build up and cause a sewage leak in your home.

Try and stay well-informed about the safety concerns every septic tank owner must know, and follow up with any necessary maintenance. You should have your septic tank inspected every one to three years.

2. Blocked Vents Can Cause Septic Tank Smells

Although ice buildup can be problematic in the way of causing septic tank smells, but it's not just inclement weather that can lead to blocked vents. If your landscaping is not well maintained, it can also block vents. Be sure to regularly trim any bushes that might block the vents and maintain a trimmed lawn.

3. Clogged Drains Can Cause Septic Tank Smells

Drains that are blocked can dry out. Although it doesn't sound like a problem, a dry drain can easily lead to problems such as unpleasant septic tank smells. A serious clog can result in a blockage that causes the pipe to dry out.

When this happens, it means that there is no ventilation, which is necessary to eliminate those septic tank smells. Dry drains cannot filter the gasses that build up in the tank, and can seep into your home and cause a foul odor.

4. A Broken Pump Can Cause Septic Tank Smells

The pump is an essential component of any septic tank system. The septic pump is responsible for moving wastewater into and out of the tank. If you start to notice septic tank smells, it could mean that your septic tank pump may be out of date and not able meet your household's needs.

5. Ice Build-up Can Cause Septic Tank Smells

In colder weather, ice can buildup onto your pipes' vents. While a little bit of ice can be fine, too much can block airflow through your pipes and cause your home to become contaminated to the point of causing septic tank smells. This is not very pleasant.

If you're able to remove the ice from your vent quickly and without causing any damage, this problem is easy to fix. If the situation gets out of control, then it's time for a professional like In-Pipe Technology to come in.

For more answers to your septic tank smells questions, contact us here: 630.509.2488

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