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For most homeowners in Chattanooga, TN, and beyond, foul smells from their septic tanks are a common occurrence. Often located outside your home, the septic system plays a vital role in treating household wastewater. It’s made up of a pipe that runs from your home to the septic tank, a drain field, and the earth that your Chattanooga, TN home sits on. Within the system, microbes actively work on the contaminants present in the wastewater, breaking them down before they’ve reached the underground water. Each of the aforementioned components has individual roles to play in the entire septic tank pumping process.
The pipe allows the sewage water to move from your home and into the septic tank, where partial decomposition of solid wastes occurs. From there, septic tank pumping experts claim that the system pushes out the treated wastewater into the drain field, which is essentially an open field where sewage drainage lines run. Thereafter, the water seeps into the soil, which also helps in the treatment process by facilitating removing harmful bacteria and microorganisms.
Wastewater treatment Or the lack of it is considered the major cause of odors emanating from your home’s septic system. This is because the odors are often a by-product of the activities taking place inside the septic tank. The by-products include gases such as hydrogen sulphide, methane, carbon dioxide, and ammonia.
Carbon dioxide and methane, non-toxic greenhouse gases, can be quite lethal in excessive amounts, with various reports of toilets exploding due to immense methane build-up. That aside, hydrogen sulphide is known for wreaking havoc within the body by destroying oxygen processing systems, causing organ failure or death.
In that case, homeowners in Chattanooga, TN, and other regions across the US should have a working understanding of such odors’ causes and how regular septic tank pumping and maintenance can reduce their occurrence. Below are some reasons describing why the septic system smells occur;
Full or overflowing septic tanks
According to septic tank pumping experts in Chattanooga, TN, full or overflowing septic tanks are the leading cause of sewer smells in and outside your home. This is because every septic tank has a limit on the amount of wastewater it can harbor at any given time. As such, homeowners must embrace regular septic tank pumping to allow excessive waste to be removed and responsibly disposed of.
When the septic tank becomes full to the point of overflowing, the first chamber of the tank is the one that fills up first. When nothing is done to remedy the situation, the other chambers also get filled up until the whole tank can no longer accommodate any more wastewater. This not only results in odors emanating from your septic system, but it also deters your Chattanooga home’s system from functioning properly, leading to greater plumbing problems.
To know if your system is full, you can pay attention to any gurgling or strange noises originating from plumbing components such as sinks. Additionally, full septic tanks can be denoted by slow-flushing toilets. If you’ve noticed any of the above indicators, it could be time to schedule a septic tank pumping service.
Blocked ventilation stacks
Ventilation pipes, otherwise known as ventilation stacks, are the components responsible for preventing sewer gases from finding their way into your Chattanooga, TN home. In most homes, ventilation stacks can be seen on the house’s roof, and they are directly connected to the septic tank.
They are particularly handy in keeping methane levels in check, given that it potentially causes explosions, leading to unprecedented and catastrophic consequences. Septic tank pumping companies near Chattanooga, TN, that offer septic system installation services often mount the stacks on locations within your home that have adequate airflow to ensure the effective dispersion of sewer odors.
Nonetheless, there are instances when the vents get clogged, either by untreatable solid wastes, rodents, and small animals, or frost. In such scenarios, septic system odors are bound to occur within your home and even outside in the area surrounding your septic tank. To avoid the problems arising from clogged ventilation stacks, you can schedule a septic tank plumbing service, which may entail detailed inspections of the vents to determine whether there are any clogs present.
The tank drains, also known as traps, are U-shaped bends that hold water, preventing sewer gases from rising within the pipes. When the drains are dry, the gases can get through and infiltrate your home. However, it may take two to four weeks of inactivity for drains to dry up, and when they do, the materials and debris in the drains also dry up.
If you’d left your Chattanooga, TN, home for such a period, and upon returning, you pour water into the drains, the materials may loosen up, causing the drains to develop blockages that may substantially hinder the effectiveness of your septic system causing need for septic tank pumping.
When this happens, it would be best to call a septic tank pumping service whose technicians have the relevant tools and know-how needed to fix the problem. Be warned that trying to unclog the pipes yourself could lead to more costly damages.
On the other hand, professionals in septic tank pumping also advise homeowners to pour water down the drains regularly, keep them from drying up, and help in cleaning the pipes.
Additionally, they recommend that homeowners who are planning to travel pour a few tablespoons of cooking oil down each drain to lower the evaporation rate and keep them moisturized.
However, for professional septic tank cleaning, it’s advisable to get a trusted septic tank cleaning company to do the job for you since any mishap could cost you a pretty penny in terms of damages.
Broken wax seal
Sometimes the sewer odors could be more prominent in the bathroom than any other room in your Chattanooga home, a phenomenon that experts in septic tank pumping could attribute to a broken toilet wax seal. This is particularly true when your home has a constant water patch around the toilet base.
The water leaks may be hidden in some rooms in some instances, but other rooms may experience minor ceiling damage, specifically, the room beneath your home’s bathroom.
Luckily, this can be resolved by seeking the services of a septic tank pumping company with plumbing technicians on staff who can install a new wax ring or stack up two seals in the event the flange isn’t above the ceramic floor. They may also look into whether the toilet mounting bolts are loose, causing sewer water and odor leakage.
Lose manhole covers
Sometimes it’s advisable to keep a keen eye on your home’s maintenance hole cover to ensure that it hasn’t loosened up, leading to the escape of the dangerous sewer gases into your home.
To guarantee that your system’s manhole stays protected from people or automobiles, which can both cause it to get loose, septic tank pumping and installation professionals recommend that it be placed 12 to 24 inches beneath the soil.
This is also because it will be shielded from weather changes that sometimes cause the bricks surrounding the utility hole cover to get distorted gradually. Under such circumstances, you may need the help of a plumbing expert to help you in determining if your manhole has been compromised in any way. If it’s indeed compromised, you may notice cracks on the concrete surrounding it. These cracks may be the ones responsible for odor leakage throughout your compound.
After looking around your home and you notice that the maintenance hole cover is slacked, you can call a septic tank pumping technician to help secure it tightly with lag screws to keep you from smelling like rotten eggs.
Septic tank failure
Total septic tank failure is yet another reason why your home could be wreaking of sewer gases. Apart from the acrid smell of septic system odors, septic failures can also be denoted by toilets and sinks backing up when you flush the toilet or do laundry and the presence of luminous green grass above the drain field.
Other symptoms of septic unit failure may be observed when groundwater mixes with untreated or treated wastewater. However, diagnosing the latter type of failures may require the professional eye of a septic tank pumping service provider or help from the officials of your locality’s public health department.
That aside, it’s important to keep in mind that such failures not only affect you but also the community around you. This is because the contaminated water mixes with fresh water from nearby water bodies, which could be the source of water for many households in your community.
Also, experts in septic systems’ servicing maintain that most septic unit failures occur due to substandard installation work and the lack of frequent maintenance or regular septic tank pumping. In that context, homeowners should preemptively seek septic system professionals’ services to help them stay ahead of the problems that cause a system failure.
Conventional septic systems are designed to disintegrate and store body waste just as your body’s metabolism works towards breaking down food and absorbing its nutrients while removing any waste products resulting from the digestion process. Using the system as a disposal point for waste food matter, you’re allowing unwanted waste into your septic tank.
The tank’s microbial organisms that help break down solid wastes cannot fully deal with undigested food. This results in increased acid levels as the food stays in the tank untreated for a long time, killing the system’s anaerobic bacteria. In that case, you can expect to experience the smell of rotten eggs from your home’s septic setup since the organisms relevant to its optimum functioning are no longer present.
Therefore, if you’re used to dumping food down your kitchen drain, it’s high time that you look for other ways to dispose of your food wastes as you risk incurring the hefty cost of replacing a failed septic system.
Poor weather conditions
Experts in septic system servicing claim that poor weather conditions can cause the ventilation stacks in your home to clog. When the external temperatures get extremely low, frost and ice may form, eventually causing the stacks to block. During such instances, the vents’ ability to keep sewer gases from infiltrating your home greatly reduces, and sometimes they may fail altogether. This results in the gases being redirected, eventually causing them to re-enter your home via sink drains or the toilet.
You should also stay informed that if you live in areas with high amounts of rainfall regularly, surface run-offs are bound to happen. The rainwater may seep into the septic tank, causing it to overflow and the gases within it to escape as the water flows. Luckily, there’s a minimally-invasive solution to this problem.
You can contact a septic system service provider to create another drain that will disrupt groundwater flow into the septic tank. Not only will it curb the escape and spread of sewer gases, but it will also ensure that excess water finds an alternative path as opposed to the one leading into your septic tank.
Low-lying home locations
If your home is located in a low-lying place or is surrounded by trees, it could be another cause of the sewer system smells inside your home since there may not be enough wind to blow away the gases. By getting a plumber to extend the vent pipe, the bad smells can be reduced.
Alternatively, you could get an expert to install a septic tank pump to enhance how your septic system pushes the waste into the sewer line or leach fields. Frequent septic tank pumping may also help reduce the odors during such instances.
Metro Plumbing, Heating & Air: A reliable septic tank pumping service in Chattanooga, TN
Do any of the above signs sound familiar? If so, it is likely that you need a professional plumber. Since 1989, our plumbing technicians have provided reputable residential and commercial plumbing services to homeowners in the Chattanooga metro area. With a master plumbing technician on staff, we strive to provide quality solutions to a wide range of sewer problems, including septic tank pumping, annual septic system maintenance, septic field line services, and sewer line repairs. Contact Metro Plumbing, Heating & Air to schedule an appointment.