What STINKS? Deciphering The Awful Smells Coming From Your Plumbing And Septic Systems

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Plumbing stinks and septic systems are supposed to stink. However, when they stink so bad that your entire house smells awful, there is something not quite right. At that point, you have to call in a plumber or call septic services to find out what stinks so bad. Here are some of the possible problems you may be facing after the plumber or septic contractor arrives to diagnose the problem.

Something Died and Rotted in the Line

Everything from rats and mice to snakes and family pets get stuck in a pipe. If they are not placed there by humans, they find a way into your plumbing either intentionally or by accident. When they get stuck, they die. When they die, they reek. Since they are trapped inside a pipe, they are blocking the flow of waste, so you get both the rotting corpse of the creature and the waste creating odors that waft back through the unblocked section of pipes and into your home. As horrible as it sounds, a grinding and slicing auger used by the plumber or the septic contractor can shred the problem and push everything through. Then the smells move down the pipeline instead of up into your home.

Tree Roots Are Crushing the Pipe

This is one scenario that you should pray never occurs. When tree roots grow down, they send out "feeler" roots to look for sources of water. They do not care if that water contains feces and ammonia, so long as it nourishes them in some way. If they find a septic line or a plumbing pipeline that they can reach easily, they wrap their roots all the way around the pipe and crush it until it breaks. Then the roots feed on everything that tries to go through the line. If that line is close to your home, or just under the foundation, your house will stink to high heaven until the tree is removed and the pipe or septic line is replaced. 

A Mixture of Ammonia and Bleach, and a Lack of "Good Bacteria"

Septic tanks contain microbes that eat and dissolve human waste. Without these microscopic critters, your waste would just accumulate and smell until it overflows. When you dump a lot of bleach down the drain, two things happen. One, you kill off the "good bacteria" (a.k.a., microbes) that ingest and digest your waste. Two, the bleach mixes with the ammonia in your urine creating a chemical weapon. The smell can be quite deadly, literally. If you are using a lot of bleach for cleaning, stop. It will take a pumping of the septic tank and a month of waste, plus a microbe additive to the tank, to get rid of this odor and restore your system.