Your septic system is responsible for processing and treating all the sewage from your home. Despite this, there is no noticeable septic smell when the system is functioning properly. In fact, a stinky septic smell in the home or the yard can be a sign that something is wrong.
Septic Tank Pumping
One of the main causes of septic odors is a full septic tank. If you have not had regular septic tank maintenance for several years, it may be time to contact a professional to do an inspection and septic tank pumping or cleaning.
Here is what to expect from a septic pumping and inspection:
- The septic company will use a special vacuum truck to completely pump out the contents of your septic tank.
- The technician will do a visual inspection of the tank. Any damage or other abnormalities will be noted and reported to the homeowner.
- The septic tank filter will be cleaned.
- The septic tank cover and vent pipes will be inspected.
- The drainfield will be assessed to determine if it is operating effectively, and any issues or potential issues will be reported.
It is recommended that most residential septic systems be inspected every 2 – 5 years, depending upon septic tank size and usage.
Septic Smell Inside
Sometimes, a foul septic tank smell in the house is a result of pH levels in the tank that are too acidic. Excess acidity can result in a release of hydrogen sulfide gas, which has the distinctive odor of rotten eggs.
A pH imbalance can be caused by a number of things, including when a resident of the home is on certain kinds of medications or is undergoing chemotherapy. Additionally, a high amount of coffee or coffee grounds flushed into the septic system can cause issues because coffee is highly acidic. The high sugar content and acids found in sodas and fruit juices can likewise cause harmful changes to the pH level in your septic tank.
Whatever the cause, you can try to reduce the acidity by flushing one cup of baking soda down any toilet or drain. If this doesn’t work as a septic tank deodorizer, you may need professional septic services to pump the tank or provide recommendations.
Septic tank smells in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundries can also be a result of something known as a dry trap. In the drains of your home, there is a trap that provides a seal to keep sewer gasses out. If this trap becomes dry because the toilet, shower, bath, or sink are not used for a long time, gasses can come into the home. A septic smell in the basement can often be traced to dry trap lines in drains that are not used frequently.
Septic Smell Outside
A septic tank smell outside the home could be caused by several things:
- Broken sewer pipes near the house or to the drainfield can cause foul odors in the yard. Repairing or replacing the pipes should correct the problem.
- Plumbing vent pipes that are not installed in the proper location may not carry the gasses away. This can be resolved by extending the vent pipe or by placing carbon filters on top of the vent to help defuse the odors.
- The drainfield (or leach field) may be experiencing problems, like broken or clogged pipes. A septic professional can provide recommendations to address the specific issues you are experiencing.
- The septic tank lid may have a hole or may be installed improperly. Septic companies can usually repair these issues easily.
A Note About Septic System Enhancers
The market is full of products that are marketed as septic tank odor neutralizers or septic system additives that promote the proper functioning of bacteria in your septic tank. However, before using any of these products, it is wise to consult with a septic professional. Many of these products do little to help, and some can even have a negative effect on the functioning of your septic system.
Proper Septic System Care
The best way to minimize the potential for septic odors is through proper care and maintenance of your septic system.
Have regular septic maintenance, including inspections and pumping every 2 – 5 years. Be sure to keep records showing when inspections and pumping are done, as these can be useful later if there are problems or if you want to sell the home.
Only flush human waste and toilet paper. Wipes, feminine hygiene products, cat litter, condoms, cigarette butts, diapers, or wipes can all cause clogs, which can lead to backups and host of other problems.
Harsh chemicals, including cleaning supplies like bleach, can have a negative impact on the bacteria in the septic tank, which are needed to break down the waste.
Medications, prescription and over the counter, can kill septic tank bacteria. Do not dispose of unused medications by flushing them down the toilet or sink.
Using more water than the septic system is designed to handle can overload its ability to process the wastewater. Limit water usage by installing water-saving faucets and toilets, and spread laundry throughout the week.
Trees or long-rooted plants can damage the septic tank or septic pipes. Keep them away from the septic system to avoid problems.
Driving, parking, or building on the drainfield can cause soil compaction or pipe breakage, which can lead to the leach field being unable to effectively process the wastewater.
Septic and Drainfield Services
If you are experiencing septic odors inside or outside your home, contact Septic and Drainfield Depot. Our experienced technicians have the experience and knowledge to quickly diagnose the issue and get your septic system back to proper functioning the first time.
We are a fully insured and licensed septic contractor in the state of Florida.
Services are available 24/7, because we understand that septic problems can arise at any time. Contact us for a free estimate and ask about our septic financing options to pay for the costs of septic repair or installations. We serve you in and near Lakeland, Polk City, Winter Haven, and Plant City, FL, and more areas throughout central Florida.