With the need to withstand the pressure from tons of soil on the outside and hundreds of gallons of waste on the inside, modern septic tanks are constructed from ultra-durable materials such as fortified precast concrete or thick polyethylene. If properly sized and correctly installed, septic tanks are often able to continue working dependably to process waste for several decades.
But even the most reliable septic tank can develop issues that lead to a need for repairs. Homeowners with concerns about the condition of their home's septic tank can use the following information to help them recognize and address developing septic cleaning issues.
Spotting possible capacity issues
Septic tanks function most efficiently when sufficient space remains in the tank to keep the environment healthy for the bacterial processes required to break down human waste. When a septic tank reaches capacity, bacterial action slows and liquids can be sent to the drainfield before they are properly processed.
Homeowners who begin to notice that toilets need to be flushed more than once or that sink, tub, and shower drains are taking longer than usual may be seeing the first sign that their septic tank is struggling with capacity issues. Other signs of a septic tank that is becoming overloaded can include unpleasant sewage odors in the area where the tank or drainfield is located or finding that basement drains are beginning to back up into the home.
Dealing with current and future capacity issues.
Septic tank capacity issues often arise when there are sharp increases in usage, such as when homeowners host large gatherings or when unrepaired plumbing leaks in the home allow large quantities of water to be sent into the tank. Septic tanks that have become too full can often be restored to proper function by having the tank pumped out by a reputable septic pumping service.
Once the initial pumping has been completed, homeowners will want to schedule regular pumping to prevent further capacity problems from recurring. Depending on the size of the home, the number of occupants, and the capacity of the existing septic tank, most homeowners should expect to have their septic tank pumped every few years.
Homeowners who want to avoid future capacity problems with their septic system can do so by scheduling an annual service call with a reputable septic system pumping and repair service. During this visit, skilled technicians will examine the septic system for signs of trouble so that any necessary repairs can be scheduled before the problem worsens.