- By Tom Frank
- In News
- Tags cleanout access plug, locating home odors, odor, septic tank, sources of home odors, toilet, wax seal
Septic odors inside the house are annoying and sometimes can be hard to locate. An odor inside typically does not mean that your septic tank needs to be pumped, but are more often an indication of a plumbing problem. Weather can also play a part. “Heavy air” days produce odors which are more noticeable than “light air” days.
One very common problem is the drying out of a trap in a basement floor drain or unused toilets, sinks, and showers. The water is used as a seal to keep gases from the septic tank from entering into the home. This can be corrected by making sure all unused drain traps are periodically filled with water. It’s also possible the cleanout access plug inside a drain may be loose and could allow for sewer gas to escape. A professional that provides line cleaning could check this out.
Another common problem is the plumbing vent located on the roof. It is necessary to allow the pressure in the drainpipes to equalize as wastewater flows through them. Without this vent, sinks, tubs, and toilets would gurgle, and in some cases, the toilets and drains would act like they were plugged. These plumbing vents can freeze closed during prolonged cold periods or get clogged with leaves or other debris. A warm day or two will thaw out the frozen pipe but leaves will need to be cleaned out. The pipe can be thawed using a high pressure water jetter used for cleaning sewers or warm water.
Down drafts from wind pattern changes can also create odors in the home. The vent may need to be raised which can be accomplished by just adding onto the existing pipe. (Always take special precautions when working on a slippery or steep roof!)
A dried out wax seal on a toilet is a common source for odors in the bathroom. This can be corrected by pulling the toilet and having a new wax seal installed. If a ceramic tile floor has been installed and the toilet flange has not been raised, two seals may have to be stacked on top of each other to properly seal the gap from raising the floor.
We suggest checking all exposed plumbing, toilet seals, and under sinks for holes and joints for tightness. Once this is done, if the odor persists, smoke can be “blown” into the drain lines. The places where you see smoke escaping means odors can escape as well. These areas will need to be repaired. The majority of the time it is a bad toilet seal. Check this first. It could save you lots of time and frustration!
If you have question regarding septic odors in your home, give us a call. We may be able to help determine the source.