Experiencing a backed-up septic tank can be unexpected and unwelcome for any homeowner. Understanding the reasons behind septic tank backups is essential for immediate problem-solving and implementing preventative measures to avoid such issues in the future. Various factors can contribute to septic tank backups, from common culprits like excessive waste buildup and improper usage to more intricate factors such as structural concerns or drainage problems. In this article, we will answer the question, why is your septic tank backing up?
How do I know if my septic tank is full or clogged?
Distinguishing between a full or clogged septic tank requires a nuanced approach involving personal observation and expert evaluation. There are telltale signs to watch for that might indicate either scenario. A full septic tank can manifest through slow drainage across various plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, and showers.
A few warning signs that your septic tank is full or clogged may look like the following things. Gurgling sounds from drains could signify air trying to escape through blockages caused by accumulated waste. Bad smells, particularly near drains or the septic tank area, may point to an overwhelmed system unable to handle the incoming wastewater flow. In more severe instances, sewage backups, where wastewater flows back into your home, can clearly indicate a full tank in need of immediate attention.
If you want to differentiate a clogged septic tank from a full one, you must consider similar symptoms. Slow drainage and gurgling sounds can also arise from blockages within the pipes leading to or from the septic tank. Foul odors might emanate from trapped waste in the pipes, causing inefficient drainage. In these cases, consulting a professional is paramount. An experienced septic system technician can comprehensively assess the tank’s levels and internal conditions. Through techniques such as using specialized cameras to inspect the pipes, they can identify any blockages or clogs impeding the proper flow of wastewater. In either case, you must pump it as soon as possible.
Common Causes of a Backed-Up Septic Tank
Unfortunately, a clogged septic tank is not a rare problem. Most homeowners experience this issue at least once. On the bright side, that means the causes are fairly common and (mostly) manageable. Common sources of septic tank clogging include the following.
The tank is incorrectly sized.
Much like an incorrectly sized HVAC system, a too-small septic tank simply cannot meet household demand. Whether your home has too many occupants or you use a lot of water, a small tank will probably overflow far before its average 3-5 year pumping.
Something besides toilet paper is in the pipes.
It can be tempting, but never, ever flush items like feminine hygiene products, paper towels, diapers, baby wipes, etc. These items are not meant to dissolve and will quickly clog your septic tank, resulting in backed-up drains and even busted pipes.
Water is being overused.
Even if your tank is the right size, excessive use of your washer, shower, toilet, dishwasher, etc., can strain the system greatly. Try not to run all your appliances simultaneously, and space out showers if possible.
How much does it cost to pump a septic system?
The cost of pumping a septic system can vary based on several factors, including the size of the tank, its current condition, the location of your property, and the specific service provider you choose. On average, the cost of septic tank pumping can range from $200 to $800 or more. Smaller tanks typically cost less to pump than larger ones. If additional services are needed, such as inspecting the tank for damage or unclogging a blockage, the cost could increase accordingly. Obtaining quotes from reputable septic service companies in your area is recommended to get a more accurate estimate tailored to your situation.
Who should you call for septic issues?
Norway Septic Inc. is a service-oriented company that provides 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. Call us if you suspect problems with your septic system or 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.