Knowing the signs of impending issues can save you thousands of dollars in repairs if you have a septic tank. Many people are not sure about septic tank care, however there are several signs you may notice indicating a problem with the septic tank. A septic tank should be cleaned out on average every 3 to 5 years. There are other factors, such as the number of people in the house, a washer on the system, or heavy rain periods, can often dictate how often a tank is given maintenance.
One of the first signs a tank is getting full is the slow flushing of the toilet. When more people are in the home, usually it will be noticed. When fewer people are using the system to hardly noticeable at the beginning but usually gets worse, it can be fine. Watch for changes in the frequency of slow flushing as it can go for weeks and months.
Another sign the septic tank may need maintenance is a gurgling sound. Or the sound may be swooshing or bubbling sound. As with the slow flushing it can go on for months and weeks. This particular sign can be a definite sign the tank is full and needs to be cleaned out as soon as possible.
Along with the gurgling there may be a sewage smell in the house. This is caused by sewage backing into the lines and vent pipes within the house. At this point, there is definite need to clean out the septic tank or a worse issue can occur.
As stated before an even worse issue can occur within the home, and that is sewage backing up into the lines and overflowing. Damage from the overflow can occur in the flooring and walls. In some cases, backing up can appear around the septic tank itself.
All of these signs can occur together or separately. The problem with waiting however can mean damage to the drain field or leach lines (the lines for removal of gray water) as sewage can be backing into the lines long before there are signs that the homeowner can see or hear. Because the septic tank is only a holding tank there is no place for the sludge to go after too many years without cleaning, the sewage will make its way into the drain field which is meant only for water. The lines of the drain field will become clogged an unable to pull the water out of the septic tank if this happens. If the drain field becomes flooded with sludge, unfortunately, in most cases, the drain field will need to be replaced. The damaged lines can cost several thousand or more dollars.
Basically, it is best to clean out a septic tank every 3 years if there are more than 4 people in the home most of the time. Thankfully a septic tank can be one of the most easiest home structures to care for if maintained properly but due to the out of site nature it can be forgotten about until these signs occurs, therefore it is best to have a schedule set up for the care of septic system.