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What Causes Septic Tank Odor in Your House?


What Causes Septic Tank Odor in Your House?

Homeowners have a long list of potential problems to keep an eye on, and unpleasant smells from the septic tank rank high on that list. The stench of septic odor isn't just a minor inconvenience - it can signal serious problems. Let's dive into the world of septic systems and explore why your house might suddenly smell like a sewer.

The Sensitive Septic System

Septic systems are designed to handle our waste discreetly, but when they start to smell, it's anything but discreet. The septic tank smell in house can be quite off-putting, and it's not something you can ignore. So, what causes this smell, and how can you get rid of it?

Why is There a Septic Tank Smell in my House?

The septic system in your home is a complex network of pipes and tanks designed to process and dispose of waste. When everything is working as it should, you won't notice it at all. But when something goes wrong, you'll know about it pretty quickly.


Common causes for smelly septic tank in your house include clogs in the system, a full or overflowing tank, and blocked vents. Each of these issues can lead to sewer gas building up in the system and eventually making its way into your home.

The Role of Clogs

Clogs are one of the most common problems in any plumbing system. If your septic system is clogged, it can cause sewage gases to back up into your home. This is not only unpleasant, but it can also be dangerous. In such cases, you might need professional assistance to clean the drains and stop the toxic gases from entering your home.

The Overflowing Tanks

Another common problem is an overflowing septic tank system. If the pump stops working, the tank can become too full and even overflow. This can lead to incredibly strong septic tank gases in your home. Local plumbers can help solve this problem by pumping out the tank and restoring the normal flow of wastewater.

The Blocked Vents

Proper venting is crucial for a well-functioning septic system. If a plumbing vent pipe is covered or has failed, it can cause sewage gas to build up and create a toxic and flammable environment indoors. The solution to this problem might involve placing a carbon filter on top of them if accessible, as these filters can help absorb foul smells.

Man performing a septic tank cleaning

How to Get Rid of Septic Tank Odor in the House

If you're handy with tools and have a basic understanding of how the septic system works, you might be able to tackle the smell problem on your own. Here are some DIY solutions you can try to combat the odor:

Balancing pH Levels

Septic tanks contain bacteria that help break down waste solids. These bacteria thrive when the pH level is maintained between 6.8 and 7.6. If the pH level becomes too acidic, a rotten egg odor can develop. You can correct pH levels by adding a cup of baking soda into a sink drain or toilet at least once a week.

Inspecting the Manhole Cover

A cracked or worn-out manhole cover that no longer seals properly can be a source of septic tank smells. Check your manhole cover for any noticeable cracks or open areas, and replace it if necessary.

Changing Wax Seals

If the septic smell is most noticeable in your bathroom, you might need to replace the wax seal on your toilet. This job requires some plumbing experience, but it's a relatively straightforward process.

Using Septic Additives Wisely

While some suggest using septic additives to help eliminate septic odors, it's crucial to research which additives are best for your system. Using additives does not guarantee a solution, and depending on the additive, it can disturb the natural activity already in the system.

Choked septic tank

When Septic Tank Smells Become a Major Concern

If your DIY solutions don't eliminate the septic tank odors in your bathroom and other areas of your home, it's time to call in the pros. Plumbing services such as inspections, septic tank pumping, part replacements, leak detection, and waste removal can help solve your problem permanently.


Remember, it often takes more than a quick fix to solve odor problems. A professional can check every possibility and determine what truly needs to be done to eliminate the septic tank smell in your house.


At Purge Ventures LLC, we've been professionally servicing the plumbing and septic system needs of homeowners for decades. Our plumbers can tackle practically any need your plumbing system may have. To get started and schedule a thorough septic system inspection, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

Purge Septic Enhancer

Frequently Asked Questions

Wooden squares that read out "questions"

How to get rid of septic smells in the house?

To eliminate septic system smell inside inside the house, it's crucial to first identify and repair the source of the smell. Common solutions include ensuring all P-traps are filled with water, checking for cracks in the toilet seals or vent pipes, and properly maintaining the septic tank by regularly pumping and inspecting it for any failures.

Why does my house suddenly smell like septic?

A sudden septic smell in your house often indicates a dry P-trap or a broken vent pipe. It could also suggest a full septic tank needing service or issues with the house's plumbing system, allowing gases to enter the home.

Does your house smell if your septic tank is full?

Yes, if a septic tank is full, it may cause a sewer smell inside the house. A full tank can push gases back through the plumbing system or lead to sewage backups, both of which produce unpleasant smells.

Is septic tank smell harmful?

Septic tank odors can be harmful if they contain high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas, which is toxic in large concentrations. Prolonged exposure to septic gases can cause health issues, so it's important to address odors promptly.

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