Septic Tank Maintenance: 9 Signs Your Septic Tank Is Full

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Do you suspect you’ve got a full septic tank?

A full septic tank reduces its functions, but that’s only a mild inconvenience compared to the dangerous things that can happen if you let it be for a prolonged period. It can cause health issues, and it can even explode.

Due to the hazards they pose, septic tanks require professionals for investigations, cleanings, and such. The homeowners’ only job is to watch out for full or overflowing septic tanks.

We don’t mean to alarm you, though. After all, it’s pretty easy to tell when your septic tank needs servicing. Look for the signs your septic tank is full, which we detailed below.

1. You Start Smelling Something Foul

A septic tank contains large amounts of sludge. When it overflows, you’ll know by the smell. After all, it’s a mixture of your waste, black water, water from your sink, laundry water, and such.

Its smell is a mixture of all these things, so it will be distinct. Moreover, the gas in the septic tank has nowhere to go when it’s full, so it goes through your pipes into your home.

The smell isn’t mild at all; it’s quite foul and offensive. Aside from being unpleasant, it’s also unhealthy to keep inhaling such stench. Contact professional septic cleaning services as soon as possible to let them pinpoint the cause.

2. You Hear Some Gurgling Sounds

Another one of your senses you need to polish is your hearing. You might be noticing some gurgling sounds in the pipes but brushing them off as a normal thing.

Sometimes, they’re normal, but when they become constant and consistent, that’s when you should have your pipes and septic tank investigated.

Gurgling sounds are a good indicator that your tank is full. However, note that they can be a sign of other problems. That’s why it’s important to have a professional take a look instead of diagnosing it yourself, especially if you don’t have experience.

3. The Drain Becomes Sluggish

Are you noticing that your drains are working slower than before? Clogging is your best bet, but it’s also possible you’re dealing with a full or overflowing septic tank.

You can try some first-aid unclogging measures to allow you to eliminate that factor. If they work, then the problem may not be your tank. If they don’t, then it’s time to call for a septic tank servicing.

Even if the problem doesn’t end up being your tank, having professionals over will uncover the real issue.

4. The Toilet is Hard to Flush

This is about the same as slow drains, but you may notice this sign better. When your toilet has a weaker flush (i.e. your waste doesn’t go down as easily as before), then you might have a problem with your tank.

Like in the case of slow drains, it could be due to a clog or some other issue. Still, it’s better to consult an expert for an accurate diagnosis.

5. Puddles are Forming

Look out for suspicious puddles around the area where your septic tank drains. When it becomes full, solid waste may clog the drain field’s piping system. This pushes the wastewater to the surface.

It may not be that noticeable when it’s always raining, but try to see which area doesn’t get dry. Of course, you can also be alert for the other signs your septic tank is full.

6. You Have Healthier Grass

Wait, what does grass have to do with it? And why is being healthy a bad sign?

First off, the location of the healthy grass is important. If it’s in your backyard or another place away from your septic tank, then that only means you’re doing something right.

However, if the patches of grass above your septic tank are healthier than the rest, then that’s a sign it’s overflowing. The grass is feeding on the leak, which is why they look healthier. You’ll notice this if the grass is greener and lusher than the other parts of your lawn.

7. The Nitrate Content is High

This only applies to homes that use well water, but it’s something they should be aware of. Nitrate is a naturally-occurring compound that’s essential for humans and other living things. However, the safe level considered for drinking water is only 10 mg/L.

If it goes beyond that, it becomes dangerous to your health. The cause of a high nitrate content is many, and one of them is an overflowing septic tank.

You may be unknowingly drinking well water that’s tainted with wastewater. This is why it’s important to get your well water tested at least once a year.

8. You Have Sewer Backups

This an extreme symptom; if it comes to this point, you may have been ignoring the other signs. What happens here is that your septic tank cannot take in any more waste and water. Its contents then back up into your pipes.

Raw sewage will begin to show up in your sinks, bathtubs, or where your lowest drains are. This is a sign you can’t ignore because the stench would be unbearable at this point. It’s also a health hazard.

Don’t attempt to clean it yourself. Call a contractor to have them empty your tank and look for other potential issues.

9. It’s Been a Long Time Between Cleaning

Do you know how long has it been since the last time you have an empty septic tank? If it has been more than three years, get it pumped even if you’re not noticing the other signs.

It depends on how many people are in your household. But, the general rule is that you should have it pumped every one to three years. This can save you on time, headaches, and a lot of money.

When you have it serviced, ask the contractor for the right schedule for you.

Keep an Eye Out on These Signs Your Septic Tank is Full

The signs your septic tank is full can be noticeable if you’re alert. Even if you aren’t, no one will be able to ignore a foul odor coming from nowhere, anyway.

When you do notice one or more of these signs, call a professional right away. But taking care of your property doesn’t end with the septic tank.

If you want more tips like this, don’t hesitate to read more of our posts and guides! We cover everything from real estate to travel advice!


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