What are the signs of a full septic tank?

Sunday, March 8, 2020

If you don’t have your septic tank pumped every five years or so as recommended, there are five ways the system itself will tell you when it’s time:

•• Backup - This is the most obvious, classic sign that you have waited too long, and it always seems to happen at a bad time—like when all the relatives are visiting for Thanksgiving dinner. Although a backup is most likely caused by a full septic tank, there are a couple of other possibilities. It could be a more expensive problem of a failed drainfield, or an easier fix of a clog in the line to the tank. If you have a cleanout in the ground between the house and the tank, you can check to see if the line is clear at that point for verification.

•• Slow Drains - Sinks and toilets that drain slowly are another signal, if a septic-friendly drain cleaner doesn’t clear up the problem.

•• Grass Is Greener Over The Drainfield - This symptom means that some of the effluent nitrates are not settling to the bottom of the tank because it’s full and, instead, going out into the drainfield. 

•• Standing Water Over Tank or Drainfield - Also means the system is not working properly and, again, most likely a full tank. 

•• Bad Odor - The smell can be happening above the tank and drainfield, or bubbling up from the sinks and toilets.

    One of the advantages of having a pump-out on a regular schedule is that it avoids the damage to drainfield caused by a full tank. See our blog post How often should I pump out the septic tank?

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  To learn more about SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS, see these other blog posts:

What are the building code requirements for gray water reuse in Florida?

What can I add to my septic tank to help it work better? 

Why do septic tank contractors want you to get rid of your kitchen disposal?

How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank system or sewer?

How can I locate my septic tank?

Does a septic tank have to be re-certified if a house has been vacant for a while?

What is a grinder pump? 

Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor when my septic tank backs up into the house? 

Do I have to get a larger septic tank when I build a home addition?

• Where is the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it? 

• Can a house have more than one septic tank?

• What is the difference between gray water and black water in the plumbing code? 

• Is it alright to disconnect the washing machine drain from the septic tank and divert it to the ground in the yard?

    Visit our SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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