Roughly 20% of all homes have either a septic tank or a similar piece of equipment. It stores all of the waste that your family produces and anything that goes from your toilet and through your pipes.
However, when the tank fills, it can overflow and cause that waste to spread across your yard. Before having to deal with the foul odors and other problems, you can learn when to pump it and make a septic tank service appointment.
“Time plays a role in almost every decision. And some decisions define your attitude about time." – John Cale
What is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is an alternative to traditional sewer lines. If you live in a big city, you will likely have sewer lines that connect your home to the municipal system. When you flush your toilet, the pipes carry waste out of your home and to the sewer.
With a septic tank, you have a large tank placed somewhere underground in your yard. Any pipes that carry water will connect to the tank, including your washing machine line and tub pipe. Septic tanks remove solid waste from liquid waste and store any solids that it cannot break down. A cesspool is similar but has a lining that keeps the waste in place.
How Often Should You Pump Your Tank?
You should pump the septic tank at least once every five years. Homes that produce more waste or have smaller tanks may need pumping done every three years. The drain field is the area around your tank that allows liquid waste to drain away.
If the tank overflows, you will see both liquid and solid waste in the drain field. Not only will the waste produce bad smells, but it can become a public health hazard as the waste can make you and your neighbors sick. You may find that waste backs up in your toilets and drains, too.
What are the Top Signs That You Need to Pump Your Tank?
Septic tank companies can pump your tank. They can also inspect the tank and let you know if you should pump it soon. It's helpful to look at some of the signs that you need this job:
- A common sign is that you have problems with your drains and toilets. As the septic tank fills, it doesn't have as much room for waste.
- You may find that your toilets back up or that some of your waste stays in the bowl after you flush.
- Drains can act sluggish and take a long time to drain.
- You may see some waste in your tub or sink.
If you’re not sure if you need septic tank cleaning, head outside and take a look around. A common sign of a full septic tank is when you notice that your grass appears greener and more vibrant around the drain field. This happens when the tank releases more waste, which your lawn uses for nutrients.
Many homes have a cesspool or septic tank behind them, but yours may sit on the side of your house or in another area. Though you might like the look of your lawn, it can indicate a serious problem that you need to take care of as soon as possible.
Standing water is another issue that you might notice in your yard. A good septic tank extracts liquids from the solid waste and releases them into your yard. Your yard should absorb all of that water.
When the tank is too full, it releases more water than it normally does and at a rate too fast for your lawn to keep up. This results in puddles of standing water that you can see in and around the drain field.
Are There Benefits to Septic Tank Inspections?
You don't need to worry about checking for signs that you need to pump your tank every day. The companies that handle septic tank pumping can also inspect the tank. They use special tools to check the tank and see if it is almost full. If the tank is more than 50% full, they'll usually recommend that you pump it.
Another benefit of getting help from a pro is that they can help you locate your tank. If you bought your home recently and aren't sure where the tank or cesspool is in your yard, get help. They can mark the location for future use, too.
It's helpful to write down the date that you had the tank pumped and keep track of it. As the three-year mark arrives, look around your yard and home for some of these signs. If you don't see any issues, keep your eyes open for the next few months. You may find that your drains smell bad or that you pick up on foul odors outside.
Septic tank maintenance from a good company ensures that your pump has enough space for all of your home's waste.
Need to get your septic tank pumped? Get free quotes from local septic tank companies today!