How do I know if my Fauquier County VA septic tank needs pumped out? It’s a question we get on a pretty regular basis and we’re always pleased to hear it. It’s a sure sign that the homeowner we’re talking to is interested in not just reacting when bad things happen to critical systems in and around their home, but in becoming more proactive.
If you’ve been wondering the same thing, you’re going to like this article. Below, we’ll answer the question in a variety of different ways and give you some valuable tools that will help you head off trouble in the future. Let’s take a closer look:
How Do I Know If My Fauquier County VA Septic Tank Needs Pumped Out?
In order to answer that question, you need a baseline, so the first thing we’ll do is answer the question with one of our own: How long has it been since your tank was last pumped out? If you’re struggling to remember the date, the safest choice is to assume that it’s time and have it done immediately.
That gives you the advantage of a fixed point in time you can measure from. Then, we recommend having it pumped out again every three to five years. We also recommend having your system inspected from end to end while we’re pumping the tank out. That gives us an opportunity to spot problems while they’re still small and relatively easy and inexpensive to repair, which saves you both time and money.
Of course, no two households are alike and it’s important to remember that the above is just a general guideline. Your tank in particular may need to be pumped out more or less frequently. The exact frequency depends on a range of factors, but the three biggest are:
- How many people live in your house
- How often you have guests staying overnight, or long enough that they’re using the bathroom
- And how good your septic tank habits are.
If this is the first time you’ve lived in a home with a septic system, you may not have been aware that there’s any such thing as septic tank habits, but there are!
While there are a number of differences between living in a home that’s connected to a municipal sewage system and one that has a septic system, the big one that we want to focus on is this: If you live in a home that’s tied to a sewage system, then you don’t have to think or worry too much about what gets flushed down your toilets or poured down your sink drains.
Granted, if you put something inappropriate in either place, it could create a clog which is a problem, but the second you clear the clog, the offending material is gone. It’s out of your life and on its way to the sewage treatment plant where someone else will take care of it.
That’s not how it works when you have a home septic system. Everything that gets flushed down your toilet or poured down your sink drains winds up in your tank. Sooner or later, one way or another, you’ll have to deal with it.
The equation then, is simple. The more inappropriate stuff that winds up in your tank, the more often you’ll have to have it pumped out. The less of it you put in the tank, the less often you’ll have to have it pumped out.
Mostly then, developing good septic tank habits comes down to being more mindful. If you can avoid pouring grease down the sink drain and remember not to flush anything that isn’t biodegradable down the toilet, you’ll be miles ahead and will significantly reduce the rate at which your tank fills up.
That’s all well and good, but it only takes you so far. Another important element in answering the question ‘How do I know if my Fauquier County VA septic tank needs pumped out?’ is recognizing the signs of a home septic system in trouble.
Although your septic tank won’t send an alert to your phone when it encounters a problem, it will try to let you know, but that only works if you know the signs to be on the lookout for. Here are some of the more common ones:
- The pipes behind your walls rattle, groan and shake any time you turn on a faucet or flush a toilet.
- Your sinks drain unusually slowly, and nothing you do to try and fix it seems to help speed things along.
- Your toilets won’t flush properly, and no amount of plunging seems to make any difference.
- There’s a foul odor in the area of your drain field.
- That same foul odor starts filtering up from your sink drains and toilets.
- The grass growing over your drain field is a noticeably brighter shade of green that the grass everywhere else in your yard.
None of these things automatically means your septic tank is nearing capacity, but it certainly could mean that, and all of them are a sure sign that something is wrong. Worse, by the time you start seeing these symptoms, whatever problem is causing them has already become quite advanced. If you don’t take immediate action, you could be in for some serious problems.
It doesn’t have to come to that though. The moment you see any of the above, just give us a call and we’ll come take care of it for you.