Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by Kravelv
Rural areas depend on septic systems. These are the primary source for wastewater management and an integral part of plumbing. Unlike cities that have sewer systems, septic systems are self-contained and usually are for one home only. On rare occasions, a single septic tank can be used for multiple dwellings. Does your home run on a septic system?
When you purchase a home, this is one feature you should look for—whether or not you have a septic tank or on city sewer. A septic tank requires more maintenance than a sewer, but in general, most homeowners enjoy the convenience of having their own wastewater management. But there are some things to know, especially if you plan to keep your system in good condition.
This article features the #1 thing all homeowners need to know about maintaining their septic system. We will also go over what to expect when contacting your plumber for septic pumping and why it is so critical to the health of the entire system.
What Is a Septic Pump Out?
What is expected when you contact your local plumber for septic services? It is actually an interesting process, albeit a dirty one. First, you might want to know the basic workings of the tank. There are two types of contents in the tank, sludge, and water, known as effluent. The sludge sinks to the bottom and separates from the water. Then the water flows out of the tank to the drain field to be filtered. When sludge accumulates too much inside the tank, it will need to be pumped out.
The technician will first need to find and access your septic tank. Tanks have a plug or lid that needs to be removed in order to put a hose inside. The hose is connected to a big container truck that will suck out the contents of the tank. It’s important to note that a pump out isn’t drain cleaning. This doesn’t remove any waste in your pipes, only the sludge inside the tank.
While the technician is pumping out the tank, he or she might ask you to run water or flush the toilets a few times. This will move any waste that hasn’t gotten into the tank further in the system to be pumped out.
When is it Time for a Septic Pump-Out?
Now that you know what a pump out is, when should you have it done? There are some common myths about septic pump outs, including you should have it done every two years. This simply isn’t true. The real answer is more complicated than that.
Pump outs should be done when the tank is getting full. Depending on how many people live in the home that uses the tank, you might be doing maintenance more frequently or possibly less. The best way to determine if it’s the right time is to consult with a septic company or pay attention to the following signs.
Signs Your System Is Due
If you do not want to contact your local plumber just yet, these are the following things to look out for. If you notice any of them, it could mean that the tank is overflowing. We recommend that you consider an alarm for your septic tank. This can notify you that it is time to have a pump outperformed and takes the guesswork out of the whole process.
Water Backing Up
Have you noticed that water isn’t flowing in the right direction? Water backing up into your home is something to be leery about. Not only is this a sign of plumbing issues, but it could have something to do with the tank itself. A clog is the most common plumbing problem for homeowners and can certainly contribute to water moving backward through the pipelines.
But it could also be that the water has nowhere to go, as the tank is completely filled. Once sludge reaches a certain level, it will block all passage of water, both leaving the tank and entering. Immediately contact a plumber if you notice this issue occurring. Chances are it won’t resolve on its own and will only get worse.
Toilets Not Flushing Right
Toilets are designed to carry waste water out of the home. If human waste or toilet paper is blocking things up, your toilet isn’t going to behave the way it should. But a clog, again, is different than your septic tank being overfilled. If you notice that your toilet is making gurgling sounds or bubbling and slow draining, it’s time to assess the septic tank for problems.
Dealing with a foul smell, whether it’s in the bathroom or in your yard, is not ideal. But the odor could most certainly be caused by the septic tank being full. In one regard, you might have an odd odor coming up from the drains of your home. This could be from any drain, whether it be in the kitchen or bath. That is because the smell is coming from the tank and the drain itself. The telltale sign it’s septic-related is multiple drain lines being affected.
Next, you might notice that your yard has a pungent aroma. It isn’t normal for the septic system to emit gasses into your yard. It should operate without you even knowing it exists. But if you’re smelling odors near the drain field or tank, having it serviced soon is recommended.
Yards that are rather damp and it doesn’t dry are the final sign that you have a septic tank problem, likely that it is overflowing. When raw sewage leaks out into the leach field, it can block things up. Because water has nowhere to go inside the tank, it will instantly go out into the field. This will continue happening every time you use the toilet, shower, tub, or sink.
Waste and water will dampen the yard and even create lush vegetation if you have grass or plants growing in that area. If, after a few days of no rain, your yard is still soggy, give your plumber a call.