5 Signs You Need to Schedule a Septic Tank Inspection
Homeowners should have their septic system inspected regularly to ensure it functions correctly. Septic systems can be expensive to replace, so regular inspections are essential to prevent costly repairs or sewage backups in the home.
A septic tank inspection usually starts with checking the age of the septic tank and evaluating the condition. Inspectors will also visually inspect the drain field for signs of cesspools.
1. Raw Sewage Backing Up into Your Home
Sewage backups are not only disgusting, but they can also be dangerous. Call a professional immediately if you notice sewage backing up into your home.
One of the most apparent signs of a septic tank problem is a foul, earthy smell from your drains. The odor will get stronger as more sewage backs up into your house.
You may also notice gurgling noises coming from your drains. Air bubbles in the wastewater line cause these gurgling sounds. This is a clear indication of a septic system issue and needs to be addressed right away.
A septic company can check the baffle in your septic tank to see if it is cracked or eroded. They will also look at the effluent screen and determine if it is missing or has holes. They will also inspect the D-box (the component between the septic tank and the drain field) for damaged outlets, openings restricting flow, structural integrity, and tilting or tipping that causes uneven distribution.
2. Clogged Drains
One of the most horrific plumbing nightmares is when your septic tank, toilets, or drain lines become clogged. The resulting sewage backup can damage your home and make it unusable until the issue is resolved.
A clogged septic system isn’t only dangerous and an indicator that you need to schedule a tank inspection. In septic services, the inspector will visually inspect the tank, examining the age and maintenance history. They’ll also test the septic system by flushing the toilets and running water to ensure it works properly. They may also walk around the drain field to look for standing water, indicating a problem.
Most septic system clogs are caused by food, fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that slowly build up in your pipes. These bind to everything down your drains, creating a thick clog. Common causes of clogged drains include dental floss, hair, and stringy materials that can easily knot up and combine with other substances in the pipes.
3. Greener Grass Over Your Septic System
While lush green grass is beautiful, it can also indicate an over-used or poorly functioning septic system. A septic tank that must be maintained correctly will allow untreated wastewater to seep into the soil via perforated pipes in the drain field. This can result in spongy bright green grass and a foul odor.
It’s important to avoid using fertilizers and planting fruits, vegetables, or herbs over your septic tank and drain field. Those plants may introduce bacteria into your soil, contaminating the home and yard.
Instead, choose low-maintenance plants that require little watering or fertilizer. These plants can enhance the appearance of a lawn while also ensuring that the septic tank and leach field access are preserved when it’s time to pump.
To help you maintain the health of your septic system, always mark the location of the tank and other components with a map or stakes so you don’t damage them during home maintenance and yard work.
It’s also a good idea to keep a log of how many showers, baths, and loads of laundry you use in a given week, as this can help reduce the number of times you need to have your septic tank inspected.
4. Slow Drains
A slow drain indicates that your plumbing lines are clogged with hair, soap scum, or grease. It may also indicate a septic tank problem that could escalate into a backup or more serious sewer line issue.
An inspection should include checking the septic system’s distribution box for tipped, leaking, or clogged pipes. The inspector should also visually inspect the tank and look for a clean flowing screen, baffles, and proper operating levels.
The inspector should also examine the drain field for cesspools, sogginess, and green or black standing water (indicating mold). The inspector should check for a clear effluent stream flowing into the drain field and ensure that all drain lines receive equal wastewater. They should also look at the drain field to provide trees, grass, or shrubs do not overrun it. These plants can pierce the underground piping and cause damage. Lastly, the inspector should verify that the septic tank is appropriately situated above ground. More