That Sewer Smell: Causes And Solutions

You're having people over for a barbecue when suddenly, over the delicious scent of sizzling meat and grilling vegetables, comes the nauseating stench of sewage stemming from your septic tank. People start to squirm, but what can you do except grill on and light candles, both inside and outside your home? To prevent this scenario from happening to you, take some time to track down and correct your septic problems.

Inside Odors

If you are smelling sewage inside your home, you probably have a plumbing problem instead of a septic tank problem. Before you call to have your septic tank checked, do a little investigating. Dry drains in the basement may be the problem. If water is not regularly run down your basement showers, sinks, and other plumbing, there is nothing blocking the sewer scent from filling the room. Water "seals" off the smell, so an unused drain can be the source. Experts also say that a roof vent could be the problem. It might freeze or become blocked with debris, keeping odors inside instead of allowing them to disperse outdoors.

Outdoor Odors

If your septic tank is stinking up the backyard, you may have one of several issues. If your tank is full, it may smell. The answer to that problem is to call your septic tank technician and have your tank pumped. Unfortunately, the smell could also indicate that your drainage field is failing. The area around your septic tank is responsible for properly filtering the gray water that comes out of your system. If neither of these problems is the issue, you may have a septic tank leak.

Weather Conditions

Sewage will always emit an unpleasant odor, but the air usually quickly dissipates this smell. On certain "heavy days," the smell becomes trapped so you will notice it more. This issue tends to arise on "windless," high-pressure days. If you are experiencing these weather conditions, you can wait and see if the smell goes away once conditions change. If it doesn't, you need to consult with your septic tank technician.

The smell of sewage is never welcome, but, in some cases, you can easily fix the problem. If you cannot find the source of the smell or the odor continues, you should seek expert advice. If you have a serious septic system problem, you may soon have actual sewage in your home instead of just the smell of it. Be vigilant and properly maintain your system to keep the sewage where it belongs.

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