In this guide, we’ll be discussing septic tank odor neutralizers and ways to stop odor problems in septic systems.
A well-constructed septic system that is functioning well is odor-free.
One thing that comes to mind at the mention of a septic tank odor is the foul smell that forces its way into the nose. A Septic tank odor can stimulate irritation and, on rare occasions, cause people to vomit.
Nobody likes it when a foul smell comes from the bathroom, toilet, and kitchen outlets.
In this context, we will discuss how to neutralize septic odor. But before then, we shall be looking at what a septic tank is, what septic tank odor is, the causes, and the dangers attached.
A septic tank is a watertight box mostly made of concrete, plastic, or fiberglass.
What a septic tank does is receive wastewater coming from inside the house through an inlet pipe, hold the wastewater for a long period to treat the wastewater by separating the solid from the liquid, and finally discharge the liquid through an outlet pipe to the drain field.
Water from the house could be from the kitchen, toilet, bathroom, etc.
Handling Septic Tank Smells
A septic tank odor, as I said earlier, is a foul smell emanating from within or outside the house. This foul smell is a result of the malfunction of the septic system.
In this case, the release of septic tank gases, instead of being contained in the septic tank, is discharged back to the house outside the house through the channels that lead to the septic system and out of the septic system. This causes you to run out of your bathroom, toilet, and kitchen because of the odor of fume from the waste outlets.
It could be more embarrassing when friends and family visit and the whole house is full of this foul smell.
The most embarrassing may be when passers-by have to cover their noses and run as fast as they can because of the irritating smell coming from your compound.
Some of your neighbors might come knocking to advise you to do something fast about it because they, too, are also affected.
Causes Of Septic Tank Odor
Septic tank odor could arise when the followings happen:
When The Septic Tank Is Not Well Installed: It is imperative to give the septic system installation job to a professional who does not only have an idea but knows how to fix it well.
Most people take up jobs because they have an idea, even when it is not their area of specialization.
Unemployment could lead some people into taking up a job like installing septic systems because they have read about it or have seen where it is done somewhere.
The people who give jobs to such people do so to spend something lesser than what they ought to spend if an expert has been given the job.
In most cases, such people end up spending more than they should have at the end of the day.
The Septic Tank Is Full: I mentioned earlier that the septic tank separates the solid waste from the liquid and delivers the liquid through an outlet pipe to the drain field.
This means that the septic tank does not give out the solid, and as far as it retains the solid, the septic tank can get full.
As such, a septic tank odor becomes unavoidable.
The Vent Pipes Are Faulty: The vent pipes stabilize the pressure of the gases coming from the septic system within the house, but when there’s a failure, the gases such as methane gas and hydrogen sulfide are made to escape into the ground around the house.
The gases find their way to the atmosphere, causing everywhere around to give a foul smell.
The foul smell emanating from these channels is not only irritating but is dangerous and could cause some damage to the health of people exposed to it.
Some dangers attached to the septic tank odor:
- Shortness of breath
- Memory Loss
- Loss of appetite
- Eye irritation
- Respiratory Issues
Now that the dangers of having to live with septic tank odor have been highlighted above, there is also a need to take steps to neutralize it. This brings us to the topic of focus:
How To Reduce Septic Tank Smell
Routine inspection and pumping will help keep perfect hygiene.
A septic tank will work for years with minimal maintenance, while fiberglass, plastic, or concrete tanks can last about 50 years. Septic system sizes and designs vary from neighborhood to neighborhood across the country due to various factors.
These factors include household size, soil type, site slope, lot size, proximity to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, or local regulations.
Preventing Septic Tank Odor Occurrence
Prevention, they say, is better than cure, so why wait till there is a fault when the fault could have been averted. Here are some things you should do to avoid getting a septic tank odor:
- Do not flush an inorganic product down the toilet, such as used sanitary pads, trash, cigarette butt, etc.
- Do not wash cleaning products, coffee grounds, fat oils, paint, and other chemicals down drains.
- Always add a cup of soda to drains once a week to maintain the pH level of the septic tank.
- Get experts to get your septic tank cleaned out every 3 – 5 years to keep the septic tank odor-free.
What Can You Use To Neutralize Septic Tank Odor?
The design of many septic tanks makes them generate sewage odor. These smells are then leaked gradually into the surrounding atmospheric air.
Septic odors are combinations of gases in your installation. They include a mixture of methane, CO2, and hydrogen sulfide. Not only can these gases be offensive, but they have toxic and explosive properties at high concentrations.
Septic odors emanate from acidic pH levels in your sewage system.
Microorganisms exist in the septic tank and digest the organic matter–yet, in turn, they produce large quantities of hydrogen sulfide, methane gas, carbon dioxide, and organic acids.
These by-products result in a pH level that is too acidic for the microorganisms. They stop digesting the organic matter, resulting in a release of hydrogen sulfide gas which smells like rotten eggs.
6 Septic Tank Odor Control Products
Neutralizing septic tank smell can be easy but tasking. You won’t want to live in a smelling environment as it harms your health.
Septic tank odor flows with the air and can easily get into the nose and the body. Eliminating this odorous flow of air demands blocking all loopholes that cause free airflow in and out of the septic tank.
Looking for septic tank odor neutralizers? Here are great examples that work.
- Household Bleach
- Ammonia Cleaner
- Septic-Safe Drain Cleaner
- All-Purpose Cleaners
- Water-Based Cleaners
- Household Items, e.g., Baking soda
To prevent a potential septic tank odor problem, you can adopt any of the following procedures.
Household Items, e.g., Baking Soda Septic Tank Odor
- Once a week, empty a cup of baking soda down your toilet or drain to preserve the pH level in your septic system.
- Using more water than necessary will flush out the baking soda faster. It will also move out undigested waste from the septic tank faster.
- Do not throw items that are not bio-digestible into your toilet. Items that microorganisms cannot digest, such as coffee grounds, plastic, cigarette butts, cat litter, or facial tissues, should be disposed of in the trashcan.
- Contract the services of an expert septic tank cleaning company to carry out periodic waste pump-out e.g. You may decide to evacuate your tank every year, bi-annually, or at 3-5 years intervals, depending on the number of occupants on the property.
Household bleach is a mixed chemical.
The bleach, also known as chlorine bleach, is a light liquid containing sodium hypochlorite. Bleach can be dangerous and therefore must be kept out of the reach of children.
Studies show that it is unsafe to use raw bleach for septic tanks. It is therefore advisable to dilute the bleach with water before use.
Using household bleach will not only reduce the odor but will also help kill bacteria in the septic tank.
Household bleach is applied by diluting the bleach with water and flushing it down into the septic tank.
The Use of Bleach and ‘Nok Out’ Eliminator
While real bleach is used to disinfect, ‘Nok Out’ is used to absorb the foul smell after disinfection.
‘Nok Out’ is an amazing product that absorbs any odor. The process is pretty simple, but necessary precautions must be taken, like using a mask, goggles, and gloves.
Once you are well suited up for the job, take your bleach, check the body of the container for the appropriate measurement, and disinfect the affected area.
Check your ‘Nok Out’ product for the direction on how to use it before spraying around the area you disinfected. It takes almost a day to dry, especially in a damp basement.
However, this can cause harsh fumes because of the presence of chlorine which can be choking.
The use of this product too is amazing and could be more expensive. But it is a great odor eliminator that does not give off harsh fumes, in addition to the fact that it does not require a supplement.
This makes it preferable to use bleach and a ‘Nok Out’ product.
Any of these two should give you a positive result the next day, but if the stench does not disappear, get an expert to look into the problem.
Ammonia cleaner is known to have an offensive odor. However, it is very potent when it is used for cleaning.
Remarkably, ammonia is used for household cleanings such as floor and glass cleaning. It is also a perfect liquid for cleaning the bathroom, toilet, and drain.
Just like household bleach, ammonia should be used in a little quantity. And similarly, it is strong enough to eliminate bacteria from your septic tank.
It is advisable not to mix household bleach with ammonia cleaner.
Just any type of water-based cleaner can help to stop the septic smell. You can use toilet cleaner, tub cleaner, and any disinfectant.
If you don’t like to go shopping, or you want to be creative, you can try some do-it-yourself techs.
In most cases, you will need the following ingredients – water, a tablespoon of vinegar, a tablespoon of baking soda, and the soap of choice.
There are several kinds of all-purpose cleaners. You can find a whole lot of this online, in local shops or shopping malls in the country.
All-purpose cleaners, for example, Muscle and Morning Fresh, can be useful in cleaning or reducing the septic tank odor.
Septic-Safe Drain Cleaner
Only liquid drain cleaners are safe for septic systems. Foaming or solid drain cleaners can damage the system and should not be used.
However, even liquid drain cleaners may cause septic tank damage if used regularly. Use even a septic-safe drain cleaner sparingly with a septic tank.
If you have to use the drain cleaner weekly or monthly, you may be causing damage to the system
When and How to Empty Your Septic System To Avoid Odor
If you own a septic system, it must be well maintained.
The frequency of pumping solids out of your septic tank depends on the following:
- The number of people in your household;
- The amount of wastewater generated (based on the number of people in the household and the amount of water used); and,
- The volume of solids in the wastewater (e.g., using a garbage disposal will increase the number of solids).
Your septic tank absorption field usually would not require maintenance. However, you should adhere to the following rules to keep and lengthen its functional life:
- Do not drive over the absorption field with cars, trucks, or heavy equipment.
- Do not plant trees or shrubbery in the absorption field area because the roots can get into the lines and plug them.
- Do not cover the absorption field with hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. The grass is the best cover because it will help prevent erosion and help remove excess water.
- Do divert the surface runoff water from roofs, patios, driveways, and other areas away from the absorption field.
How did you neutralize the smell from your septic system? Share. I’ll update this post, and others can benefit too.