Troubleshooting Your Septic System

Four Major Warning Signs That Your Septic Tank Needs a Cleaning

If your home uses a septic tank, then keeping your septic system clean is a vital part of safely and hygienically disposing of wastewater. Unfortunately, many homeowners would rather view their septic system as an "out of sight, out of mind" component. This can lead to less-than-pleasant problems as the system backs up, and these backups can even cause additional damage to your home if they are severe enough. While septic tanks should generally be inspected and pumped on a regular schedule, there are several warning signs you can watch out for that may indicate a brewing problem.

Slow Drainage

A single sink or toilet that is draining slowly is probably indicative of a local plumbing issue, but slow drainage in multiple locations around the house is usually a sign of deeper trouble. Often, these problems will start in drains on lower levels. If you notice that the drains on your first floor or in your basement seem to be running slower than usual, you may have a full septic tank on your hands.

Bad Smells

In addition to drains running slowly, septic tanks that are backing up will often cause unpleasant odors to enter the home. As with slow drainage issues, these odors will usually be noticeable first from drains on the lower level. If the smell is only coming from a single drain, you can try some basic home remedies such as baking soda and white vinegar to try to clear up the problem. If this has no effect, then it's time to suspect that the odor may be the result of a clogged septic system.

Drain Field Problems

Your septic system's drain field is the final resting place of your home's wastewater. This area essentially acts as a huge filter that allows wastewater to be cleanly returned to the environment. Your drain field can also be a bellwether for septic tank issues, however. In particular, watch out for standing water on or near your drain field as this can indicate that the drainage system is being overwhelmed. Likewise, make note of the grass and other vegetation nearby. If it looks unusually lush compared to the rest of your lawn, that's a sure sign of a problem.

Total Backup

Of course, this is the worst possible outcome, and it usually only happens as a result of ignoring less serious signs and symptoms. If your septic system has become completely overwhelmed, then it will eventually back up into your home. Backups may be minor at first, but if left unaddressed they will gradually become more severe. Keep in mind that if your drains are backing up, this is not a problem that will clear on its own. In fact, it will only get worse over time as your already overloaded septic system becomes even more clogged.

While septic tank cleaning may not be high on anyone's to-do list, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way toward guaranteeing that you avoid nasty, costly issues in the future. Call a company like Eckmayer Inc for more information.