How to Check if a Septic Tank Needs to Be Emptied
When your septic tank is getting full, it's important to take action and get it emptied as soon as possible. The last thing you want is sewage backing up into your home, causing all sorts of problems.
How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying:
- Slow Drainage
- Pooling Water
- Foul Smells
- Sewage Backup
- Gurgling Pipes
- Healthy Looking Lawn
Let's get into the details below.
1. There Is Slow or No Drainage
If you suddenly find that the drainage in your home is slow or not working at all, it is one of the signs that the septic tank is full and needs to be pumped out soon. When the septic tank is full, the sewage has nowhere to go but back up into your home through the drains.
How can you quickly test this? Just flush your toilet! Do you think it is taking longer than usual to go down? Are all the toilets like this?
Another way is to take a shower. Does the water seem to be pooling around your feet instead of draining rapidly? If you answered yes to either one of these, give a professional plumber a call, as you may need your septic tank pumped out.
2. Strong Smells Around Your Property
If you start to notice strong smells coming from your drains or even around your property in general, it is one of the signs that the septic tank is full and needs to be emptied. As the sewage starts to back up, it will come out of any weak spot it can find, which can be a drain or even a crack in your foundation.
Get other family members to get a whiff as well and see if they are getting the same sort of foul sewage odor smell. If they are, it is probably best to get in touch with a professional as soon as possible.
3. Actual Sewage Back-Up
If you're seeing this, then it is probably too late. If you are starting to see sewage actually backing up into your home through the drains, it means that the septic tank is not only full but also overflowing.
This is a serious problem that needs to be fixed immediately, as it can cause all sorts of damage to your home, not to mention that it's a health hazard. If this happens, do not try to fix it yourself. Get out of the house and call a professional right away.
4. Grass in Your Yard Is Greener and Longer Than Usual
An earlier sign might be if you have noticed that the grass in your yard seems to be greener and longer than usual, it could be a sign that the septic tank is full.
This is because as the sewage starts to back up, it will start to seep into the ground, causing the grass to grow at an accelerated rate. If you have noticed this and there doesn't seem to be any other logical explanation, it is best to contact a professional just in case.
5. There Is Water Pooling Above the Septic Tank
If you have a septic tank, there is likely a manhole cover that gives you access to it. If you start to notice water pooling around this area, it is definitely one of the signs that the septic tank is full and needs to be pumped out soon. This is because as the sewage backs up, it has nowhere to go but out of the manhole and onto the ground.
If you notice this, don't delay, call a professional right away.
6. You Can Hear a Gurgling Sound Coming From Your Drains
If you start to hear a gurgling sound coming from your drains, it is one of the signs that the septic tank is full. This is because as the sewage starts to back up, it will create a bubble in the drain, which will cause the gurgling sound.
If you notice this, call a professional right away.
Bring a Professional to Take a Look and Offer Recommendations
If you are unsure about your septic tank and whether or not it needs to be pumped out, the best thing to do is to bring in a professional to take a look. They will be able to tell you for sure if your septic tank is full and needs to be emptied.
They can also offer recommendations on how often you should have your septic tank pumped out to prevent this from happening in the future.
How Often Should Septic Tanks Be Emptied?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on a number of factors, such as the size of the septic tank, the number of people living in the house, and how much water is being used. It is generally recommended, however, that septic tanks be emptied every three to five years to prevent them from becoming full and backing up.
When you don't empty them out frequently enough, the septic tanks will fill up and sewage will start to back up. So if you can recall the amount of time since you last had it done, that could help you determine whether or not it's time to do it again.
If you're unsure, don't hesitate to contact a professional to take a look and offer their recommendations.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Elin Beck