4 Ways to Check To See if Your Septic System is Working Properly

Although it has a less than glamorous function to perform, the septic system is a very important component in your home. It has the job of managing the wastewater your household generates. However, to do its job efficiently, the septic system must be maintained. This includes having your septic tank pumped regularly. The following four ways will help make sure your septic system is working properly and avoid some quite unpleasant problems.

1. Regularly Inspect the Septic Tank
Don’t wait until you’re experiencing problems with your septic system. Several factors influence how quickly your tank gets full including the number of people in the household, the size of the tank, and the quantity of water used. Generally, you should have the tank inspected and pumped every three to five years. If your system uses mechanical or electrical components, more frequent inspections are necessary.

When a septic tank isn’t pumped regularly, it can cause scum to make its way into your drain field. You may not notice problems until it’s too late. The tank could be full enough to release scum into the drain field but not so full it backs up into your home. Contact a licensed inspection service to determine if it’s time to pump yours by inspecting your tank and scum levels.

2. Inspect the Area Around the Septic Tank
After a heavy rain, pools of water on your lawn are normal. But if you have a miniature lake on or around the drain field, it may mean your septic system is out of whack and overflowing. This happens because solid waste has clogged the drain field piping system and liquid has been forced to the surface. Another sign to look for is overly lush, green grass over the septic tank. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t normal. This may indicate that your system is leaching liquids. Have the tank checked for leaks or emptied.

3. Examine Drainage Pipes and Toilets
Your septic system also includes pipes within the home. Anything that connects to the system may show signs of a tank that has reached its full capacity. Use a flashlight to look for leaks. Pay attention to all the toilets in the house and check them for abnormal flushing such as gurgling or draining slowly. This can indicate a septic system that is too full. A sink, shower, or tub that drains slowly after you’ve taken measures to remove any legitimate clogs may mean your tank is full and keeping water from draining normally.

4. Sewer Backup
The most obvious ( and grossest) sign that your septic system needs attention is sewer backup. Look for sewer backup in the lowest drains first such as basement bathrooms. This is the worst case scenario and will require immediate attention from a professional service.

A septic system can handle the large amounts of waste your home generates. However, as with any home component, it requires regular maintenance. Inspect your system regularly to make sure it serves you well.

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