Your septic system is one of the necessary evils of owning a house in an area without a city sewer. Many of us wish we could just clean it once and forget about it. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens to some of us, until it’s too late, of course. Suddenly, your septic system is the most critical thing in your life! All joking aside, your septic system will treat you right if you treat it right. It’s all about knowing when, not if, your septic system is likely to need some preventative maintenance.
Preventing problems before they occur will save money, and sometimes, a lot of money. That said, when will you know when to have your septic tank pumped? There isn’t “a hard and fast rule” for every septic system, but a common recommendation is to have your septic pumped once every 2 – 3 years. You’ll learn from experience with your own septic system if that number needs to change. Factors such as family size, tank size, and even using a garbage disposal play a role in determining how often to have your tank pumped. Still, the idea is to prevent problems from happening, and not waiting until the dreaded signs appear. Even the best preventative measures eventually stop working due to wear or old age. To help determine if your septic system isn’t working anymore, here’s a list of 5 signs your septic tank needs attention.
1. If you’ve waited more than three years since the last time your tank was pumped, stop reading and schedule it before something drastic happens!
2. Water pooling up in your yard. Pooling water is a possible sign that solid waste is blocking the pipes leading to the drain field, forcing the liquid to the top.
3. A classic sign of a full septic tank is slow drains and toilet flushing problems.
4. Roots that make their way into your septic system cause backups, but many times roots can be snaked out, especially in older septic systems. Don’t stop here, though. Have the system checked because large roots can cause expensive repair problems.
5. An unexplained stench in your yard is usually a clear sign of either a ruptured pipe or your tank is full.
Bear in mind that septic systems will eventually wear out and replacement is the only option. However, premature failure can be avoided with preventative measures. The most important step is to have your septic system inspected at least every three years, but it depends on your location and certain laws in your area. Also, get on a regular schedule to have your tank pumped. The 2-3-year general rule might be good, but it’s a good idea to check with your plumber to be sure. Lastly, don’t flush anything other than tissue and human waste and refrain from using chemical drain cleaners for a clogged drain. A snake is a better choice.