Whether you realize it or not, you and your septic tank are a team. You rely on the tank to house waste, and the tank relies on your vigilance to schedule a pump-out when it becomes too full.
Many homeowners can overlook the importance of routine septic pumping. This usually occurs because the tank is hidden beneath the surface of the ground. You can't visually spot a septic tank that has become too full, but there are some symptoms you can be watching for that will let you know when it's time to contact a septic professional.
1. Slow-Moving Drains
The speed of your drains can tell you a lot about the status of your septic tank. When the tank is functioning efficiently, your drains will quickly empty water and waste into the tank. As the tank begins to fill, there is less room for the waste to be stored.
You may notice that your drains are not emptying out your sinks, tub, or shower as quickly as they used to. It's important that you call a septic professional as soon as you notice any changes in drain speed. Slow-moving drains are typically the first symptom displayed by a septic tank that needs to be pumped out.
2. Unpleasant Odors
The waste housed in your septic tank has an unpleasant odor. Combined with the sewage gases that are created as waste begins to break down inside the tank, this waste has the potential to create some unpleasant odors in and around your home.
As long as the tank has available space, the waste can break down properly, and all odors will be contained within the septic tank. A tank that is too full cannot contain odors. You may notice a sewage smell emanating from your yard or wafting up from your drains.
Contact a septic professional to have the tank pumped out so that you can eliminate any unpleasant odors from your living space.
3. Sewage Backups
The most troubling symptom of a septic tank that is overdue for a pump-out is a backup of raw sewage into your home. With nowhere else to go once the tank is full, waste accumulates in the pipes leading from your home to the septic tank.
Eventually, there is no room left in the pipes, and the sewage begins to creep back into your home through open drains. Backups will affect the lower drains in your home first, so be sure to check your basement for signs of sewage.