Your home's septic tank performs an integral function for your home, and when it is working properly you most likely aren't even aware of it. However, a septic tank that is allowed to operate for too long without being properly serviced or cleaned can quickly become ineffective, leaving your sewage and wastewater with nowhere to go – which can be a major disruption to your everyday life. Understanding when you should contact a septic tank professional for a cleaning can help you avoid experiencing such disruptive septic tank issues.
Maintain a Regular Schedule
As a general rule of thumb, you should always have your septic tank inspected on a regular schedule. That schedule can vary, depending on your usage: for vacation homes that you only use occasionally, an inspection every two or three years may be adequate to ensure that everything is working smoothly. For your home year-round, however, especially if you have a larger family or multiple guests over, an annual inspection can help you head off problems before they actually begin to manifest themselves. If you can't remember the last time you had an inspection and cleaning done, you should probably schedule one immediately to be safe.
Flooding and Natural Disasters
While not necessarily related to cleaning your septic tank out, it's a good idea to contact a septic tank professional to check your tank out in the event that your area experiences any sort of drastic weather conditions or natural disaster: an earthquake or a tornado can cause damage to your septic tank, as can excessive flooding. Even minor damage to your tank can cause it to become less effective and thus require more constant cleanings. In any case, an inspection will ensure that there are no structural issues with your tank even if you don't need it to be cleaned.
Know the Signs
A septic tank that is no longer functioning properly will exhibit a number of signs that act as early warnings to a full-on leak or septic tank failure. Slow drainage throughout your house, the smell of sewage in your bathroom or kitchen, and wastewater actually backing up into your home can all point to a full septic tank that is in dire need of plumbing repairs. Also, be sure to keep an eye on your yard: a patch of grass that is growing at a much faster rate than the surrounding plant life or any sort of standing water can point to an overflowing tank that needs to be cleaned out.