Three Subtle Signs Your Tank Is Overdue for Pumping

When your septic tank is full, you won't always see wastewater flowing back up your pipes or completely clogged drains. Sometimes the signs are a little more subtle, but just as serious. If you're having any of these issues with your septic system, it's time to have a professional take a look.

Slow Draining

A full tank won't always cause an immediate and total blockage. Sometimes your drains will only slow down. This is often because more space in your tank slowly becomes available as liquids drain out into the drain field. It's more likely you'll notice slow draining if you don't use very much water, or if there aren't many people in your household – this will give your tank just enough time to clear out more space before more liquids come in. This isn't good for your tank, however, especially as sludge continues to accumulate. You'll notice slow draining in drains closest to the ground and closest to the tank, so if you're experiencing this problem across multiple drains, call for pumping immediately.

More Frequent Pumping

Though it may seem counterintuitive, if you notice that your tank is being pumped more frequently, this is probably a sign that at some point in recent years it was left too full. When a tank fills past a certain point with sludge, this sludge can make its way into the drain field and clog it up. When liquids can't be absorbed into nearby soil as easily, your tank will start filling up more quickly.

However, it can also be the case that your household has changed in an important way. For example, if you have a new appliance, if an additional person moved in, or if you are running longer showers or wash cycles, this can all contribute to how much is being added into your tank. While having your tank pumped more often is normal in these cases, it's also a good idea to take this into account when calculating how often your tank should be pumped in the future.

Pumping is Mostly Liquid

If you find that most of what is being pumped from your tank is liquid and not sludge, there are a few potential reasons for this. The first is a damaged drain field, which can cause liquids to remain trapped in the tank. However, it can also be caused by too much water coming into your tank at once, which overwhelms the drain fields even if there's nothing functionally wrong with them. Finally, this can occur if water is draining into your tank from sources it shouldn't be. For example, if you have any downspouts or outdoor drains directed into your septic tank, this makes it much more easy to overwhelm the drain field with too much liquid, and these drains should be redirected somewhere outside your tank.

For more information about septic pumping, call a septic specialist in your area.