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Septic Tank Odors in My House

Septic Tank Odors in My House

Does the yard smell weird? Are your drains gurgling and emitting strange odors? 

There is nothing more unsettling than strange odors coming from your septic system. These odors can be caused by something as simple as a dirty trap or a clogged septic tank line. It is essential to know the causes of these odors to better take care of your home's plumbing and septic system. 

No one wants a smelly home. In this article, we will dig into why your septic tank is emitting strange odors in your home, as well as ways to resolve the issue.


What Is That Smell?

More often than not, a smelly septic system is due to an unhealthy habitat for your septic tank's micro-organisms. That's right; your septic tank is home to billions of creatures that process all of the “organic” matter that ends up in your septic tank. 

Waste, water, and toilet paper are flushed via the drain pipe and into the septic tank. Once the trash is in the septic system, microorganisms turn it into sludge. While the cleaned water is dispersed into the ground through a network of pipes, the sludge is discharged into the tank's bottom.

When the microorganisms digest organic matter, they produce large quantities of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane gas, and other organic acids. When these gasses build up, they can damage the micro-organisms living in the septic ecosystem, slowing down their process. Sometimes this can cause an increase in hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs. 

Here are some things that you can do to keep your septic system in tip-top shape and not stink up your home.

  • Avoid flushing grease or fats into your system.
  • Avoid flushing waste such as cigarette butts and coffee grounds
  • Install an effluent filter to help remove solids from wastewater before it enters your drain field.
  • Never use harsh chemical cleaners such as drain cleaners or heavy bleach to clean out your drains.
  • Check for shrubs and tree roots that can clog your drain field.
  • Never put hazardous waste such as paint thinners, gasoline, or motor oil into your system.

Other Causes for Plumbing Odors

Not all odors in your plumbing are caused by your septic system, as your home's plumbing is a fairly complex system. There are plenty of other things that you can check off of your list before digging into your septic tank(literally)

1. Trap and Drain Issues

All drains in your plumbing should have some sort of bend in the pipe where water collects, called a trap. This water blocks sewer gasses from escaping the drain. When odors are coming from your drains, it's best to first check the trap for these issues. 

  • The trap could be leaking, allowing water and sewer gas to escape into your home.
  • The trap could be empty, allowing sewer gasses to emit from your drains
  • You may not have a trap at all. This is common in older homes.

You may also have a buildup of organic matter in your trap or drain pipes. Residue from things such as toothpaste, scraps of food, grease, and everything else that makes its way into your drains can build up and attract bacteria. While bacteria is not always a bad thing, the bacteria/sludge combo can build up, and bad odors and clogged drains can occur. 

To solve trap and drain issues, there are a few DIY fixes that can be implemented:

  • Pour boiling water down the drain.
  • Sprinkle one cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar down the drain.
  • Manually pick out any material that is directly under the drain cover.

2. Clogged Vent

Plumbing vents are vital and help allow for air in the piping to vent so that water can move through the drain pipe freely. From time to time, vents can clog up, causing a vacuum in the plumbing. This vacuum can suck water from the traps allowing sewer gases to escape.

How to Rid Your Home of Septic Tank Odors Once and For All

If your drains, traps, and vents are all working properly, then it may be time to reach out to have your septic tank pumped. By working with a septic tank specialist, you can be sure to keep those awful odors at bay. 

Contractors will show up with a pump that they will hook up to your septic tank and suck out all of the waste from your septic tank. Sewage from your tank is then transported and processed. This allows for the bacteria in your septic tank to start fresh.

Work With Your Local Septic Tank Experts

If you reside in the Asheville area and your septic system requires repair or pumping, Viking Septic Services can help. We provide septic inspection, pumping, and repairs throughout the counties of Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, Madison, and Transylvania.

Contact us today for more information on how to rid your home of septic tank odors.