4 Tips for Analyzing and Dealing with Septic Issues

Septic Issues

Septic systems are a necessity in all homes, but the type of system you have depends largely on your location. Most city dwellers will be connecting to the city’s sewer system. For other homeowners, however, an on-site septic tank will be involved.

Trouble with septic tanks or related issues can cause a tremendous amount of inconvenience and expense. Use these four tips if you’re having septic issues you need to identify and correct:

1.  Assess whether you may have a blockage in your indoor plumbing. Slow or backed-up drains can be indicative of several types of problems, the most severe being system failure which could require emergency septic services. Sometimes, however, it may be a simple blockage in the pipes.

You can check to see if there is a blockage in the plumbing in your home by inspecting the cleanout pipes between your septic tank and your home. If there is no standing water in the bottom of the pipe, you likely have a blockage in the home. A plumber can usually easily clear the blockage with an auger.


Septic System
By Soil Science under CC BY 2.0


2.  Determine if there is a blockage between your home and your septic tank. If there is standing water in your cleanout pipes, you could have a blockage in the pipes between your tank and your home. It is best to let a professional septic and plumbing specialist analyze this situation, as it is easy to damage the tank with an auger.

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Blockages in this area can be caused by tree roots growing into the pipes or broken pipes. It can also be caused by an overflowing tank. If you have a blockage here, you will most likely need to have your tank pumped or your pipes dug out to find and repair the source of the problem.

3.  Inspect the condition of your yard. If you can smell sewage in your yard, or if there is a lot of moisture or seepage in the area of your septic tank, you need to take immediate action. There is nothing that can be done at this point beyond pumping the tank and hoping it doesn’t fail again.

You may need to have a completely new system installed if pumping doesn’t resolve the issue. The problem will not resolve itself; the longer you wait before calling a professional, the greater the chances you’ll have to completely replace the system.

4.  Take preventative action now. If you aren’t currently experiencing any septic trouble, or if you have recently resolved an issue, do what you can to keep it that way. Most conventional septic tanks need to be pumped out at least once every three to five years, and some experts recommend as often as every year.

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Aerated septic systems can often go 10-12 years without the need for pumping, but they will eventually require this service. Having your septic system serviced regularly, before you even suspect a problem has developed, is far less expensive than dealing with a system emergency.

By James White