What Are The Warning Signs That Your Septic Tank Is Overdue For Pumping?

Failing to pump your septic tank can have some pretty drastic consequences. If you leave your tank filled for long enough, waste may eventually begin to clog your inlet pipe or, in a worst-case scenario, flow into your drainfield. These situations can require expensive repairs or even force a complete replacement of the drainfield system. 

Fortunately, you'd have to neglect your septic system for a long time before you cause permanent damage. Still, there are some warning signs that you may be pushing your pumping schedule slightly too far. If you experience any of these three symptoms, you may want to schedule your next tank pump-out sooner rather than later.

1. Slow Running Drains

Slow-running drains are often the first indication of a problem with your septic system. Your septic system normally works by slowly allowing effluent to flow into the drainfield, releasing it into the environment and around natural processes to filter harmful pathogens. Anything that slows water drainage can result in slow-running drains.

A full septic tank can cause this problem in several different ways. If the tank is clogged enough, liquid waste may enter the outlet pipe and prevent slow effluent drainage through the drainfield. In less severe cases, it may block the inlet or outlet baffle in the tank, effectively reducing the capacity of the drain lines and slowing your home's drain system.

2. Foul Drain Odors

Any clog in your drain lines can result in foul odors. Your plumbing keeps sewer gas out of your home through the use of plumbing traps. These traps are simple bends in your pipes that allow a small amount of water to pool and form a plug. A wet plug prevents gases from passing through, trapping the foul odors from your septic system out of your home.

However, an overfilled tank can result in clogged drain lines, creating a vacuum in your plumbing. You may hear gurgling from your drains, and this vacuum can stop a water plug from forming in your drains. As a result, you may occasionally smell a foul odor near your drains. If you haven't pumped your tank in a while, this smell may be your first warning sign that you need an urgent clean-out.

3. Outdoor Septic Odors

Unfortunately, smelling heavy septic odors outdoors often means your system is severely clogged. These smells typically become noticeable when the drainfield becomes so backed up that waste can no longer adequately drain away, allowing gases to seep to the surface. You may also notice the grass around your drainfield looking particularly lush or even spot some moist areas on your lawn.

These symptoms are a large red flag telling you your tank requires urgent pumping. You may also need to take additional remediation steps, such as clearing obstructions from the drainfield tiles. Whatever the case, you should never wait to schedule your next pumping once you can detect noticeable septic odors outdoors.

Contact a local septic tank pumping service to learn more. 

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