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How Often Should You Pump Out Your Septic Tank?

Septic tank maintenance may not the most exciting topic; however, it is an important one. Proper septic tank maintenance includes routine pumping. Keeping your tank clean can save you a lot of money and a major headache in the future.

When working as they should, septic tanks are a great asset to your home that you’ll barely notice. However, when they break down or experience issues, it becomes a big headache. Learning how to avoid these issues is crucial for anyone with a septic system. Thankfully, pumping your septic tank regularly will help reduce the risk of complications, and keep everything operating as it should. But how often should you pump your septic tank? Here’s what you need to know.

Before you get your tank cleaned, you should be familiar with the process and know how often you should pump out your septic tank.

Why do septic tanks need pumping?

A septic system works by separating the waste into three parts: sludge, liquid, and scum. As solids break down, they stay at the bottom of the tank, while the liquid flows off into a drainfield. After a while, the sludge will build up enough that you’ll need to have your tank pumped. 

When you don’t pump your septic tank, solids build-up, reducing their capacity and eventually causing a blockage. When that happens, you’ll likely start seeing wastewater backing up into your home. It can even break your septic system, requiring you to pay for costly repairs. The best way to avoid complications with your septic tank is through routine maintenance.

green grass

What are the signs your septic tank is full?

Although you should get your septic tank cleaned if it’s full, there are also some telltale signs that might mean it should be cleaned before it’s filled to capacity.

1. Showers, sinks, and washing machines take their sweet time draining.

Indoor drains need to be cleaned often for simple reasons, such as an accumulation of hair in the pipe; however, if the drains are slow even after you’ve cleaned them out, it’s an indication of a full septic tank.

2. Water is pooling around the septic tank.

If your drain field is surrounded by what appears to be a small ocean, it is highly likely that the tank is overflowing or that it is harboring a sludge layer that’s just a little bit too thick. Check the drain field regularly to ensure all is well.

3. The air is filled with mysterious aromas.

We have our senses for a reason, and the nose plays no small part in warning us of bad news. Strange and unpleasant odors coming from the septic system often point to a buildup of wastewater and gray water.

4. The grass near the septic tank looks suspiciously healthy.

Your lawn should look the same in all places. If you notice that the grass near your septic system is overly green, the chances are high that the septic tank is leaking extra water.

a man cleaning out a septic tank

How often should you pump your septic tank?

The timeframe for a septic tank pumping and cleaning varies from house to house, but generally speaking, the average septic tank should be pumped every 1-3 years. If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, you should, of course, have it inspected immediately.

measuring tape

Does size matter?

The size of your septic tank does affect the frequency with which it should be pumped, while the number of people living in the house is also a factor.

For instance, a 1,000-gallon septic tank in use by one person alone can last up to 3 years before being pumped, while a 1,000-gallon tank in use by a family of 4 needs to be cleaned after two years. If you are a family of 5 or more, then you should have yours looked at every 18 months. Follow the telltale signs, and, at the very least, have it inspected.  This can save you from an expensive call for emergency services in the future!

When is the best time to pump a septic tank?

If it’s an emergency, septic service experts can pump out your tank at any time. However, it is best for the property owner to schedule routine pumping in either summer or early fall. This gives your septic system time to build back up bacteria before the winter hits. The bacteria is responsible for breaking down waste, essentially creating an at-home wastewater treatment.

frozen septic pipe

Can you pump a septic tank in the winter?

Septic tanks can indeed be pumped in the winter; however, it can be more expensive than usual depending on ice or snow near the tank. Additionally, if the septic tank is particularly full, there is a possibility that the pipes will burst and freeze, causing further damage. It is best to stay on top of the maintenance so that you can take care of it in warmer months.

Above all, it is important that you have a licensed professional perform your septic system cleaning and pumping.

Taking the time to care for your septic system is beneficial for your health as well as your savings. Norway Septic is a service-oriented company dedicated to providing septic tank maintenance services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area. We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. If it’s time for you to get your septic tank pumped, or if you have any further questions, call us today.

septic pumping truck from norway septic granger indiana

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who should you call for septic issues?

Norway Septic Inc. is a service oriented company dedicated to providing excellent septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area.  We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. ” Our motto stands, “they pump, we clean!”

Call us if you suspect that there are problems with your septic system or if you need septic replacement parts like septic filters. With over 40 years of experience, we know septic systems and can handle just about any septic emergency.

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