Regular maintenance of your septic tank and drain field is essential to keep your septic system functioning well. Occasionally, however, system failures happen that require immediate attention. Whether or not you conduct scheduled maintenance, don’t ignore the following symptoms associated with septic problems. Your septic system may be calling out to you for help.
- Odors: As waste breaks down, it releases gas. That unique “sulfur-meets-rotten-egg” scent is normal when your service technician pumps the tank. However, if you encounter unpleasant odors near your household drains or drain field, your should investigate the cause. You may find that you have a plumbing issue, such as a clogged plumbing vent on your roof or dry traps in your basement. The odors could also be a sign that your septic tank is full or the tank cover has become dislodged. In extreme cases, your system may have a blockage or your tank may have cracks or other structural damage.
- Drain field changes: The surface of your drain field should be kept free of shrubs and trees, as well as parked cars that could place stress on your septic tank structure. If you notice bright green grassy spots, dead patches, soft soil, or even liquid pooling on the surface of your drain field, there may be bigger issues happening below. If your tank is compromised, the sewage from your home could be seeping directly into your yard. This would expose your family to harmful bacteria that can lead to health problems.
- Slow-moving drains: From time to time, simple clogs in your tub or sink happen. We’ve all experienced the joy of pulling a mass of wet, clumpy hair out of a drain. However, if your sinks and drains are taking an unusually long time to empty and you can’t attribute it to a plumbing issue, there could be a blockage somewhere further down in the system.
- Odd sounds: The sound of water draining should be clear and consistent. If you start to hear strange gurgling sounds or other noises coming from your drains or pipes, your system may need a checkup. Rule out standard causes like your plumbing vent and basement traps.
The best protection you have against septic failure is to conduct standard system maintenance and pay attention to unusual behavior or changes your system exhibits. In many cases, you may have a simple plumbing issue. However, if it’s more serious, identifying and addressing a septic problem as early as possible can help you mitigate costs and prevent further damage.