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Signs Your Septic Tank Needs Pumping

Mar 18th 2015 at 10:38 PM

Most residential homes run on individual septic systems, meaning it is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that the system is maintained often and properly. The leading cause of failures in septic systems is due to a poor maintenance or infrequent service. While the service interval varies depending on how many people are living in the household, and therefore using the system, the average household should have their septic tank pumped every three years or so.

Outside of regular maintenance, however; your septic system will give you signs that the tank needs pumping right away. Being aware of these signs will cause you far less headache down the road.

First, check outside the house, namely where your septic field is located. If you notice consistent pools of water around your yard, especially when it hasn't rained in days, this could be an indication that your septic tank is full and needs to be pumped. You may also notice inconsistent color and lushness in your grass around the area where the septic field is located, which could be another sign of trouble.

Secondly, look inside the house. Your drains might be running more slowly than usual, or worse, you may notice dirty water pooling in your sinks and toilets when you run the water. This points to a sewage backup in your drainage system. If you've tried to fix these problems using drain clearing products to no avail, then it's time to call someone in to service your septic system. Leaving backed up toilets unfixed can lead to serious health issues.

Another easy symptom to recognize inside the house is a consistent foul odor. Sometimes, the smell of sewage can indicate even more serious problems than a full septic tank, so you should never ignore this problem if it arises.

Lastly, some septic systems have alarms installed that can alert the homeowner to a full tank. If your system doesn’t currently have this feature, it could be beneficial to look into it, to ensure that no septic problem goes unnoticed.

Ultimately, if you have your septic system serviced on a regular basis, you should be able to avoid any of these nasty problems. Find out the size of your septic tank and consider the number of people using your system to determine the right interval.

For more information on septic service in Santa Cruz, or to schedule an appointment, visit this website.

Author Bio

Bob puts his many years of plumbing experience to good use by writing on various plumbing topics on his blog at

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