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Reasons Why Your Septic Tank Smells and How to Deal With It


Nothing is perfect. There are times that things can go wrong. The same goes for your septic tank. Installing a septic tank is there to prevent bad smells from going into your home.

However, there are times that problems happened out of nowhere. It is important that household owners are aware of the consequences to the health and wellbeing of their family because of these smells.  There are quite a few reasons contributing to why your septic tank could release a pungent smell. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the common causes behind a foul septic tank. We will also give you some take-home tips to help you address this issue right away.

Full Tank

The most common reason why a septic tank causes a pungent smell within the household is the tank is full. We cannot deny the fact that most households don’t know much about the septic tank. Good thing, you will know more about them here in this article as we go along. One thing you can do to prevent this is to check and empty your tank regularly to see if there are build up solids that need to be removed. According to home experts, the nearest chamber closest to your house will definitely contain the most solid particles, and in the event it gets full, it will find another way to flow into another chamber and might end up blocking up the system and preventing your tank to function well. Emanating smells directly from your tank. To avoid this from happening, empty your tank. This can be done by calling a professional or learning and be part of the process. There are some tanks that are designed to be pumped every four years. However, this will depend on the size of your tank and how much water you use in your house.

Food Waste

As humans, we consume and break food down inside our body, collecting only the nutrients we need and leaving only waste. This waste that we are referring to goes straight to the septic tank and finds its place at the very bottom of the tank. Basically, if you are using a food disposal system, you are letting the food waste get into your tank. It can end up bringing a foul odor, just like a rotten egg coming from your tank. It is best if you control the food wastes coming into your tank. One way you can do it is by having a grease trap in your kitchen area. This is to avoid grease from coming into your septic tank.

Too Much Chemicals

Little did you know that your detergent and other chemicals such as paints, solvents, anti-freeze, transmission fluid, and gasoline can cause your septic tank to smell. Yes, they kill bacteria and stop the breakdown of waste. However, this can cause something serious. If you smell something is off, you may avoid and minimize your use of a strong chemical to help alleviate any smell.

Incorrect Ventilation

One thing you must always remember is that the septic tank must have an adequate ventilation system. If your vent stacks are not well vented, this can cause your tank to smell bad and become toxic. Vents should be designed where there should be good airflow. It too permeates any smell evenly that comes from the tank. For your ventilation system or vent stacks, you can put a carbon filter to regulate the smell from the tank. However, if your system has a specific filter, it must be coordinated with the manufacturer for further details. Also, you may consider putting an active wind ventilator to direct the air to its specified direction and go straight to the soil stack.


Every year your septic tank must be thoroughly clean and de-sludged. This process involves removing hard build up solids inside your tank and emptied out. You may have known someone who is bragging that they have only cleaned their tank once, don’t be jealous of this person and be thankful that you are not him. They may not smell their septic tank because they might have good ventilation, but their drainage will suffer much and maybe be blocked up real bad already. As a gentle reminder, always keep on emptying your septic tank every now and then to avoid such a problem in the future.

Defective Seals

Sealing a pipe can be easy, but once you miss something open, there could be a problem on hand. A pipe that is not sealed properly or has a broken connection can create a bad smell. The most common area in your house that you can experience this is your bathroom. If you feel like the sewer in your toilet smells bad already, check the gasket or seals if there are any loose or rotted. This may happen to an old house. To fix this, you may install a new wax ring, or you may call a professional plumber to access your problem. If you are worried about the cost, they should be that costly.

Cold Weather

If you live in a cold environment, that could be one of the reasons why you are experiencing an odor problem. In cold weather, ice can form in venting areas and trap bacterias and pungent smell inside. Same with having clog drainage, caused by other debris and other small particles. The best solution to this problem is to always check everything. Go to the area of your house where there could be ice in place. Placing warm water around the ventilation pipe can help meltdown any build-up ice. You may also talk to a plumber to weigh in your options to keep your vents protected and safe.

If your tank is smelling, the first thing you should do is to look at what you are stuffing inside and ask how often you empty it out. If you think you are doing your responsibilities well, then go check your ventilation and make sure you have good vents and a nice airflow.





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