Septic tanks are an essential part of any household that isn’t connected to a municipal sewer system. While they do an excellent job of disposing of wastewater and sewage, they can sometimes produce unpleasant smells that can make your outdoor spaces less enjoyable to spend time in. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind why do septic tanks smell more in hot weather?
Here are the factors that cause septic tanks to smell more during hot weather:
1. Optimum Temperature for Anaerobic Bacteria
The anaerobic bacteria that break down the sewage in septic tanks thrive in warm temperatures, with the ideal range being between 77 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperature rises, anaerobic bacteria become more active and the rate of digestion of the organic material in the septic tank increases. This increase in digestion leads to the production of more septic gases, such as methane and hydrogen sulfide.
2. Travelling Distance of Gases
Hot weather causes septic gases to travel further and linger longer, as warm air rises and carries the gases with it. This means that even a small amount of gas produced in the septic tank can quickly spread and become noticeable in the surrounding area.
3. Optimal Operation of Nose Odor Receptors
The receptors in our nose that detect odors operate optimally in warmer weather. This means that we are more likely to notice the smell of septic gases during hot weather than during colder periods.
All of the factors mentioned above work together to make septic tanks smell more during hot weather. The increased digestion of organic material in the septic tank leads to the production of more septic gases, which are then carried further and linger longer in the warm air. This, combined with the optimal operation of our nose odor receptors in warm weather, means that the smell of septic gases can be more noticeable during hot weather than during colder periods.
Do Septic Tanks Smell More In Hot Weather: Reduce Septic Odor
1. Convert To Aerobic Septic System
To reduce septic tank odor, one option is to consider converting to a more efficient system such as aerobic septic systems (also known as aero septic systems). Studies have shown that these systems digest up to 98% of solids and organic matter from wastewater, thus producing a cleaner effluent. They also produce odorless carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
2. Do Septic Tanks Smell More In Hot Weather: Septic Tank Treatment
Another option is to use septic treatment solutions such as Septifix, which contain live enzymes and bacteria that help break down organic matter and reduce odor. Baking soda can also be used as a natural odor neutralizer. Simply add it in the toilet bowl and flush it down.
3. Do Septic Tanks Smell More In Hot Weather: Maintenance & Pumping
Regular maintenance and pumping (+1 877-506-4089) of the septic tank is also important in reducing odors. This helps to remove excess solids and organic matter from the tank before they have a chance to decompose and produce odors.
It is recommended to have the septic tank pumped every 3-5 years, depending on usage and tank size. However, if you notice a strong odor coming from the tank or other signs of a problem (such as slow drains), it may be necessary to have it pumped more frequently.
4. Avoid Non-Biodegradable Waste
In addition to these measures, it is also important to be mindful of what is being flushed down the toilet and poured down the drain. Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items such as flushable wipes and feminine products, as these can clog the septic system and lead to odors. Similarly, avoid pouring grease and other fats down the drain, as these can solidify in the septic tank and also contribute to odor production.
Do Septic Tanks Smell More In Hot Weather: FAQs
Here is a list of the most common Frequently Asked Questions about “Do Septic Tanks Smell More In Hot Weather”
What does a full septic tank smell like?
A full septic tank can produce a strong and unpleasant odor that is commonly described as the smell of rotten eggs. This odor is caused by the release of hydrogen sulfide gas, which is a by-product of the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in the septic tank.
The odor can be particularly strong near the tank itself or in areas where the tank’s contents are closer to the surface, such as the drain field. The smell may also be noticeable inside the house if the septic system is not functioning properly or if there is a leak. A full septic tank can also have the smell of sewage.
If you detect a foul odor around your septic tank, it is important to have it checked by a professional to ensure that there is no damage or malfunction that could be harmful to your health or the environment. Additionally, regular maintenance and pumping of your septic system can help prevent unpleasant odors and other issues from occurring.
Can Septic Tank Smell Make You Sick
Yes, exposure to the strong odor produced by a septic tank can potentially make you sick. The smell of a septic tank is caused by the release of harmful gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and methane, which can be dangerous in high concentrations.
Hydrogen sulfide gas is particularly concerning as it can cause health problems even at low levels. Prolonged exposure to this gas can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas can lead to death.
In addition to the risk of gas exposure, a septic tank that is not functioning properly can also contaminate the surrounding environment with harmful bacteria and other pathogens. This can lead to illnesses such as gastrointestinal infections, skin infections, and respiratory infections.
Why Does Septic Tank Smell When It Rains
When it rains, there are two main reasons why a septic tank can emit a foul odor: changes in atmospheric pressure and saturation of the drain field.
Heavy rainfall can saturate the drain field, which is responsible for filtering the wastewater from the septic tank. When the drain field becomes saturated, it can no longer effectively filter the wastewater and this can cause a buildup of organic matter, leading to the production of foul-smelling gases like hydrogen sulfide.
Do Septic Tanks Smell More In Hot Weather: Final Thoughts
In conclusion, if you’re experiencing a particularly unpleasant odor from your septic tank during hot weather, it’s likely due to a combination of the above factors. While it’s not always possible to eliminate the smell entirely, there are steps you can take to reduce it, such as ensuring regular maintenance and having the tank pumped out regularly.