If you live in a rural area, there’s a good chance your house is equipped with a septic tank. The septic tank will normally go unnoticed during day-to-day living, but it sometimes makes it odorous presence well known.
If you are experiencing an odor from your septic tank, it is usually caused by one of three things.
1. Dry Drains
A dry drain is probably the most common cause of septic tank odor in the home.
Nearly all drains include what is called a “trap” somewhere along the pipe. This is a U-shaped segment of pipe filled with water which prevents gases from traveling through.
If the water should dry up, however, the gases are able to leak into your house. This most often occurs in places such as guest bathrooms or other places where the drain is used infrequently.
The solution to this common problem is to simply run water through the drain. This will refill the trap and stop the gases from reaching your house.
To avoid future dry drains, you should use them periodically to prevent them from drying up.
2. Problems With The Vent Stack
Septic tank odors can also be allowed to enter your house because of a problem with what is known as the vent stack.
The gases produced by the tank are released via a pipe that extends through your roof. This is the vent stack.
If this pipe should become clogged with leaves or other debris, the gases will not be able to travel through and will be forced back down into your house.
Leaves covering the opening of the vent stack may need to be manually removed.
Even if the gases are allowed to pass through the vent stack, a strong wind with some down force may blow the gases back down to your house again. This is normally fixed by raising the height of the stack.
3. Faulty Seals/Gaskets
Yet another possible cause of septic tank odors within the home is a broken seal or gasket along one of the pipes.
This commonly occurs near the base of the toilet, and you should be able to detect it by smelling around the area.
Unless you are a handyman, it is probably best to call a plumber or other professional to repair the seal. It should be a relatively simple job, and not too expensive.