An efficient septic system should not smell. The system should be able to handle the wastes from the house to the disposal field without emanating foul gases into the atmosphere. Therefore, something is wrong with your septic system if you can smell septic gases in the home. Here are some common malfunctions that lead to septic odors in the home.
Plumbing vents have multiple functions, and one of them is to help septic effluent and gases flow out of the house. The vents do this by providing the air pressure necessary for driving the septic fluids out of the house. A blocked vent is like holding a straw full of liquid with the upper end blocked; the liquid won't flow out of the straw. Therefore, septic gases can accumulate in your house if the vents are blocked.
The septic tank contains a serious mix of solids, liquids, and gases. Some of these gases have a pretty bad odor, and they can escape and contaminate your home if the tank is damaged. Septic tanks can experience various forms of damages; for example, concrete tanks can crack and metal tanks can rust.
Clogged or Damaged Pipes
A properly functioning septic system relies on an efficient flow of wastes. As an oversimplification, the wastes need to flow out of the house, into the tank, and out of the tank into the drain field. Anything that interferes with the flow of wastes can cause the system to stink. For example, if the drain pipes are clogged, the gases can back up into the house and foul it up. The same thing can happen if the septic pipes get broken and give up their wastes before the wastes get to the tank for treatment.
Drain Field Failures
Lastly, drain field problems can also leave your home choked with septic odors. The septic drain field should receive treated waste from the tank and allow the wastes to percolate into the soil within a reasonable time. Unfortunately, some malfunctions can prevent this from happening. For example, septic wastes can take too long to soak into the drain field if the field is saturated with water, compacted, or undersized. In all of these cases, wastes might accumulate in the drain field and contaminate the environment.
Hopefully, you won't be dealing with septic odors in the home any time soon. If your home starts smelling, however, contact a septic system service for diagnosis and help before further complications occur.