We get this question, or some variant of it, quite often, especially from people who have recently purchased a home and have little experience not being tied to a municipal sewage system.
It’s also an incredibly important question, because unlike people who are tied to the city’s sewage system, you’re on the hook for keeping your system functioning properly, periodic maintenance, incremental repairs, and of course, periodic tank pump outs. In this article, we’ll give you the basic information you need to help ensure that you keep your septic system in good working order so that it provides you with years, and perhaps even decades of hassle-free service.
The first thing to talk about are inspections. Generally speaking, we recommend having your system inspected once a year, and again, any time you suspect there might be a problem. Inspections are the means by which you identify root causes, and once you know what has gone wrong with your system, the fix is usually pretty simple, or at least fairly straightforward.
Where incremental repairs are concerned, these almost always arise as a consequence of an inspection. The inspection reveals a problem, say, a clogged drain line or something, and then, we get it fixed for you before the problem gets out of hand and causes major issues inside your home. But what are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Unfortunately, almost all septic system problems end up the same way. Sooner or later, they result in raw sewage backing up into your home, which is an incredibly costly, deeply disgusting issue to have to deal with that presents a genuine health hazard to you and anyone living in your home. At the end of the day, regular inspections are how you keep that from happening, or at the very least, minimize your risks.
Where having your septic tank pumped, the exact interval varies from one household to the next and depends on a number of factors. If you live alone, you don’t have many overnight guests, and you’re mindful of what goes into your tank and how much water flows through the system, then you won’t need your tank pumped out very often and can probably get by with having it done once every five years, or even less often than that.
On the other hand, if you have a busy household and regularly entertain overnight guests, then you’ll almost certainly need it done more often. A good rule of thumb is once every three years, but again, it’s highly variable, which brings us to the question we started with: What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Below, we’ll give you a number of things to be on the lookout for so you can get a feel for how often you should have your tank pumped out. Call us to arrange service if you notice any of the following:
Brightly Colored Grass
This will appear over and directly around your drain field, and is one of the easiest signs to spot. This will often be accompanied by a persistently soggy, slightly muddy drain field that never seems to dry out and you may even see some signs of water pooling in the drain field.
These can occur in tandem with the issue described above, but you may also start noticing bad smells wafting up from your sink drains, your tub and shower drains, or your toilets, and is a sure sign that your system is struggling.
If the pipes inside your walls start to shake, rattle and grown when you turn on a faucet or flush a toilet, that’s another strong indicator that you’ve got a problem and that your tank may be nearing capacity.
This can take a couple of different forms. Either your toilets will stop flushing correctly, or they’ll run persistently, or at least for far longer than they should when you do flush. You may also notice that your sinks and tubs take an unusually long time to drain, and no amount of plunging seems to make any difference.
There are others, of course, but these are the major ones. The second you spot any of these, give our office a call. As the region’s most respected septic service company, nobody knows more about getting to the bottom of septic tank issues than we do, and we’d be happy to inspect your system for you, make any incremental repairs that might be needed, and keep your tank pumped out, all of which will minimize your risks of ever seeing that nightmare scenario of raw sewage backing up inside your home.
Even modestly priced home septic systems were built to last, and with proper care and maintenance, there’s no reason why yours shouldn’t provide you with years, or even decades of reliable service. We’d love to play a role in that and help make sure you system keeps doing the job it was designed for, for as long as you own your home.
Most people don’t spend much time thinking or worrying about their septic systems, until or unless there’s a problem. Then, it’s’ about the only thing you think about because although it’s not very glamorous, it does provide an absolutely essential function. If it stops working, your home will quickly become virtually uninhabitable.
The good news is that it never has to come to that. Give us a call at the first sign of trouble and we’ll take good care of you.