Septic Tank Pumping is one of those home maintenance tasks that are easy to forget. Out of sight, out of mind right. Just because you don’t see your septic tank on a daily basis doesn’t mean it’s not one fo the most important systems in your home. A problem with your septic system can cost as little as 100.00 to replace your septic tank lid, to over 15,000.00 for complete system replacement. Regular septic tank pumping is the easiest way to extend the life of your septic system. Properly maintained systems can last decades so system maintenance is important.
How often should a septic tank be pumped out?
If you search the internet you will get different answers. Most of them are generic though and say “The EPA recommends pumping your septic tank every 3 to 5 years.” That is about as generic as it gets and sounds like it was written by a politician. The reality is there are a lot of variables that come into play when figuring out the timeline of proper septic tank maintenance.
Some variables include:
How many family members live in the home?
What size is your septic tank?
Do you have a garbage disposal?
How many bathrooms in your home?
There are many other factors but these couple questions can get us to a better ballpark answer.
How do you know if your septic tank is full?
First off, if you don’t remember the last time that your septic tank got pumped out it is time to schedule it, today. Septic tank pumping is the least expensive way to keep the system healthy. Your system will give you signs that the septic tank is full though. Sometimes, you can overwhelm the system and it needs a couple of days to get caught up. An example would be family or company staying at the house and shower usage doubles for the week. Did you do some entertaining at the house? It’s not unusual for spikes in water usage to put some stress on your septic system. Most of the time, if the system has been properly maintained, these types of situations take care of themselves. The tank catches up and everything goes back to normal.
If the solids in your tank are starting to build up from normal use and time, then the signs should be gradual but noticeable. Anytime water is slow to drain there is some type of issue. If it’s a single drain in the master sink that is draining slow, chances are it’s partially clogged. If your toilet doesn’t want to flush, then it could mean there is a septic issue.
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Standing water in your yard
You should never have standing water in your yard. This doesn’t matter if you have a septic tank or not. If you notice water pooling above your septic tank it is a sign that the tank is full and you need to call a septic service. Another spot in the yard where standing water is a big red flag would be around your drain field or leach field. There are a bunch of reasons that your drain field could have saturated soil and standing water. The unfortunate fact is none of them are good. Replacing a drain field is expensive.
Foul Smell in the Yard – When working properly, you should not know your septic system is there. If you start to notice a strong odor around the yard or outside your home, it could mean it’s time to get the septic tank pumped.