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  1. #1
    Linda Swearingen's Avatar
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    Default Strong sewer gas at vent

    At an older house with a septic system there is a very strong sewer gas odor coming from the main vent on the roof. I'm used to a slight amount of smell, but not normally enough to smell from the other side of the roof. Is this likely a septic system with problems?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Strong sewer gas at vent

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Swearingen View Post
    At an older house with a septic system there is a very strong sewer gas odor coming from the main vent on the roof. I'm used to a slight amount of smell, but not normally enough to smell from the other side of the roof. Is this likely a septic system with problems?
    It could mean the septic tank is full and causing a backup. When is the last time they had the tank pumped? 3 - 5 years is the guideline. Every 3 years for a big family. They should have the tank pumped before the sludge starts to flow into the drain field.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 10-26-2011 at 10:04 PM. Reason: correction
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: Strong sewer gas at vent

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    It could mean your septic tank is full and causing a backup. When is the last time you had the tank pumped? 3 - 5 years is the guideline. Every 3 years for a big family. Get the tank pumped before the sludge starts to flow into the drain field.

    This thread might be moved to the home owner's forum, bottom of the web page.
    WRONG!

    Ms. Swearingen, a participating member of this site as a Professional Home Inspector, is and has been an ASHI HI for years!

    Some nerve John Kogel! Nothing in her post is indicitave of anything other.

    Linda Swearingen | Linda's Home Inspections | Paducah | Kentucky | ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Strong sewer gas at vent

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    WRONG!

    Some nerve John Kogel! Nothing in her post is indicitave of anything other.

    Hey guy, try switching to decaf or something. He made an observation, not an accusation.


    Dom.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Strong sewer gas at vent

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Swearingen View Post
    At an older house with a septic system there is a very strong sewer gas odor coming from the main vent on the roof. I'm used to a slight amount of smell, but not normally enough to smell from the other side of the roof. Is this likely a septic system with problems?
    Linda, I lived on septic systems for many years. Sometimes they can gas off a lot more than other times. I don't know why, maybe warmer liquids in the tank, but I have seen it happen within a year of the tank being pumped. Remember the main vent stack is venting the tank, so any gas pressure comes out the stack. On a city sewer system you can hold your nose in the stack and not normally smell a thing, as air is normally drawn into the stack rather than gas blowing out. Just my observation over the years.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Strong sewer gas at vent

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Swearingen View Post
    At an older house with a septic system there is a very strong sewer gas odor coming from the main vent on the roof. I'm used to a slight amount of smell, but not normally enough to smell from the other side of the roof. Is this likely a septic system with problems?
    There could be problems, or it could be nothing. I'd check on the age and last time the system was pumped.

    On the other hand, I encountered one house on a hillside where the landscape and wind patterns drew the gases downward. It did this with the chimney as well; even though there was a very good draw in the flue, the smoke nevertheless would cascade down the roof and to the ground.

    Last edited by Corn Walker; 10-27-2011 at 03:15 PM.

  7. #7
    Linda Swearingen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strong sewer gas at vent

    Thank you, all of you. As it happens, I did recommend inquiring whether it had been pumped within the last 3-4 years, and getting a copy of the report from when it was. (That does a few things--documents just how long it's really been, shows whether the tech at the time noted any problems or made suggestions for repairs, and tells just who it was did the pumping.) I was not offended in the least by the comments about the recommendation for pumping--it's right on the mark, and I did not say I'd recommended anything even though I had. The hillside comment is interesting--I'd not thought of that happening to a house. We see new things all the time, no matter how many we've done. I appreciate everyone's comments.


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    Default Re: Strong sewer gas at vent

    Must be low class housing, because the septic systems in the high class neighborhoods don't stink.

    Do you by the way recommend having a licensed septic inspector check out the septic systems on homes you inspect or do you just assume if it doesn't smell too bad that all that stuff under the ground , that you can't see is just fine and dandy.

    have you ever tested a septic system?

    Have you ever watched one being tested?

    The fact that the vent is working is a good sign.

    I usually find that while I am risking my life on the roof, the broker is in the bathroom taking their morning dump.

    This will certainly knock you for a loop, referring back to the first paragraph


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