Did you notice a septic smell or sewer gas smell in your house? If you do, there might be an issue that needs attention. Sewage or septic smell in house is not a good sign and means that something is wrong and it also could be a plumbing issue.
A lot of the time you might notice that you wake up on a rainy morning or maybe you reach your home on a rainy day after spending some time outside and something smells funky. Your house has a septic and a sewage type of smell instead of a fresh and natural odor.
A smell like this which seems like rotten eggs should not be taken lightly. Sewer smell and gases can lead to many health issues including headaches, nausea, and even poisoning if exposed to them for longer durations.
In this case, you first need to find out the source of the smell and then take action to get rid of it. And that is precisely what we are going to talk about in this article.
- 1 Is a septic tank smell in the house normal?
- 2 Possible sources of septic smell in house.
- 3 Harmful effects of septic smell in house
- 4 How to get rid of septic smell in house?
- 5 Conclusion.
Is a septic tank smell in the house normal?
No, a septic smell in house is not normal because if your septic tank is well maintained and is functioning properly, there should not be any foul odor.
And if you are experiencing unpleasant septic or sewage smell in the house, it is usually a bad sign and happens due to the build-up of gases and when the environment near the septic tank is too acidic.
The ideal pH level to maintain in a septic tank is between 6.8 to 7.6, and if the pH level falls below the ideal range, it can give rise to a peculiar and unwelcome septic odor.
Maintaining your septic tank is essential for its proper functioning, and this unwanted smell is a sign that the system is alerting you for better maintenance and a boost.
However, if you notice that the septic tank is working fine but you are still experiencing that peculiar sewage smell, it might also be due to leaking pipes, dried-up drainage system, clogging in the sewers, etc. And once you find out the reason, it is quick and easy to get rid of it.
Possible sources of septic smell in house.
If the septic smell inside your house is getting too strong, and the air fresheners and exhaust fans are not able to mask it up, it is time to dig around a little and investigate to figure out the source behind this smell.
Here are some possible sources as to why you are experiencing that sort of smell in your space.
A full septic tank.
This is the first suspect that you need to investigate in this matter. You might experience a very foul odor if your septic tank is full. Moreover, if you failed to clean the septic tank on time, this may also lead to an overflow of the sewage.
It is very essential to empty the septic tank every one or two years. It also depends on a couple of factors including the size of the tank, the size of your family, and the needs Opera family.
Maintaining it regularly can also make it possible for the tank to last longer before it needs to be emptied.
Dried up drains.
If you check out the drains of the septic tank, you will notice a U-shaped part of the pipe, also known as the trap. The primary objective of this part is to hold the water and prevent the gases from rising up where you do not want them.
And when the drain line and the water dries up, an unpleasant smell travels up the pipe and is released into your house. Keeping water running through the drains will not let the trap dry up, and will help in eliminating the risk of odors.
However, make sure that you keep the pipes clean as well.
Clogged up vent.
The vent pipe system in your house is an essential part to make sure the toxic gases stay out and unreleased via your roof. Vents also help keep the pressure regulator in your plumbing system.
Unfortunately, it might happen that fallen debris and other particles can jam the passage due to which all bad odors get trapped inside your house and do not have any way of release.
Hence it is important to keep the vent pipes clear from dried leaves, snow, bird nests, and so on. The vent can also get blocked due to some landscaping action in your yard. So always keep an eye on it, especially after you have done leaf blowing, grass cutting, or any such activity.
Old toilet wax seal ring.
A wax ring is a part at which your toilet attaches to the ground. The function of the wax ring is to seal the connection between the toilet and the grain and prevent toxic gases and water from leaking out.
Gradually, with time, it is natural for the wax ring to face some wear and tear. And this can result in a sewage smell in the house.
Another common issue is the slipping of the seal on your toilet. This usually happens if the anchor bolts are not fastened properly. But no matter what, if the toilet is the reason you are experiencing that sewer smell, you will have to contact an experienced plumber for fixing it.
Cracked pipes and leaks.
This is another quite common reason behind a septic smell in house. When sewer tank pipes or the pipe connecting to the main sewage line is broken or degraded, it can lead to sewer gases being released into your home.
Your sewer line may be clogged up from grease, tree roots, or maybe some other items that cannot be flashed like diapers and makeup wipes. The gas might also leak from the pipe if it has broken down due to corrosion, rust, or clogging.
If your vents are installed too close to a window or to an air intake, this can also lead to the leakage of sewer gas into your home. It may also occur if the toilets are not fitted tightly to the sewer lines.
Harmful effects of septic smell in house
Breathing in septic gas is definitely not healthy and if not addressed properly, it can end up being quite dangerous. If we talk about the composition of sewer gas, it is actually a mixture of multiple compounds and gaseous particles including methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide.
Inhaling sewer gas is not dangerous when the quantity is very small. But at the same time, it is important to know that some of these gases included in the composition are highly toxic.
For example, research shows that hydrogen sulfide is harmful to the oxygen systems of the body, and can lead to adverse conditions including organ damage, and in some cases, even death if inhaled in large amounts.
On the other hand, ammonia is commonly known due to its distinct smell. But, it can cause irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, and can even lead to death at higher levels.
Methane and carbon dioxide are harmless in small amounts but are extremely flammable in high quantities. Ammonia can be added to this list too, and all three gases are a serious fire hazard in large quantities.
Here are some symptoms and effects of exposure to septic and sewer gas-
- Poor concentration.
How to get rid of septic smell in house?
If you want to get rid of that nasty septic smell in house, here are some tips that can help you out-
1. Use an air purifier
Air purifiers are absolutely amazing in getting rid of toxic particles and unpleasant odors. It comes with different types of filters, with the most popular one being a HEPA filter. The HEPA filter is very well known for its capability to eliminate 99.97% of harmful contaminants as small as 0.3 microns.
Choosing an air purifier that has a combination of a HEPA filter along with an activated carbon filter can really help in getting rid of unwanted smells and dust particles.
There are multiple options available in the market today and you can make a purchase depending on your budget and the size of the room. If you get stuck, here are some of the best air purifiers, we reviewed so far.
2. Use a diffuser with essential oils.
Diffusers are a great chemical-free odor eliminator when used with essential oils. There is a wide variety of essential oils available that targets bad odors. You can go for lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, etc.
Each of these oils works beautifully to mask unpleasant scents and will leave your house smelling fresh and clean and free from any septic odor.
3. Make a DIY solution of baking soda and vinegar.
A DIY solution containing baking soda and distilled vinegar can work great as a natural cleaner. First, you need to boil around 5 to 10 quarts of water and pour this boiling water down the dried drain or bathroom sink pipe or sewage pipe or shower drain, or wherever the source of the smell is.
Next pour one cup of white distilled vinegar and follow with half a cup of baking soda immediately after that.
Let the mixture sit in the drain for around 2 hours, after which you need to dump a gallon of boiling water to rinse everything out. You can also go ahead with the drain brush to give a good scrub.
4. Use bleach.
Bleach is especially helpful if you want to clean the overflow from your sink. For this, you need to mix equal parts of water and bleach. Apply the solution to the affected area and scrub using a bottle brush. This will eliminate any lingering nasty odor and bacteria as well.
You can also use bleach after using the baking soda and vinegar solution. After letting the bleach sit for another two hours, you can run cold water for 10 to 15 minutes to remove any clogging and prevent the drain traps from drying up.
5. Let in the fresh air.
If there is a septic smell in house and you do not let in fresh air by opening the doors and windows, the intensity will only increase and will become unbearable after a while. Maintaining healthy ventilation levels is very important for a healthy airflow. And this can also help in reducing unpleasant smells in the house.
6. Contact a plumber.
For issues like broken or collapsed sewer lines, cracked pipes, and serious leakages, it is not possible for an average homeowner to solve them. It requires the expertise and knowledge of a plumber. Hence, call an emergency plumber in situations like this and they will be able to assess the issue and offer the best solution.
The above-mentioned tips will definitely help to get rid of the septic smell in house. The key is to find the source of the smell. You can solve minor issues like emptying the septic tank, pouring water down the drain, cleaning the pipes, unclogging the vent, etc. But always remember that if you have never dealt with sewer gas before, it is best to call a plumber to address the issue.