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What Is A Septic Tank? And How Often To Pump A Septic Tank?

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What Is A Septic Tank? And How Often To Pump A Septic Tank?

How often should you pump out the septic tank? That question is an issue of debate among homeowners. However, some factors can help you decide when it’s time to pump out your tank.

How often do you need to pump it out?

A septic tank is a container, usually underground, that holds sewage from a residence or business. It is composed of a single or double shell made from concrete, fiberglass, plastic, or steel. The average septic tank can hold about 2,000 gallons of wastewater before it needs to be pumped out. How often you need to pump your septic tank depends on the number of people who live in your home, the number of showers and baths you take a week, how often you use a garbage disposal or dishwasher, and whether or not someone in your family has a medical condition that creates different wastewater.

How to figure out if you need to pump the septic tank?

Figure out what size tank you have. This info is usually on the access cover of your tank. Most septic tanks should be pumped out when it reaches half full, but other factors can change that number, such as how many people live in the house and whether or not you have a medical condition that creates wastewater. You can also call a septic pumping company to estimate how full your tank is, which can help you decide to pump or not.

What are some signs that you need to pump out the septic tank?

The most obvious sign that it’s time to have your septic tank pumped out is when wastewater begins coming out of the drain in your bathrooms, showers, or tubs. You will also notice a decrease in water pressure if there’s too much sludge in the tank. Other signs include slow draining sinks and drains, puddles on top of the ground around your septic system, foul odors near the tank, an excessive amount of toilet paper being flushed down the toilets, and having clogs or backups throughout your house at various drains.

How much will it cost to pump out the septic tank?

Pumping out a septic tank costs about $100 to $300, depending on the size of your tank and how much sludge is in it. When you get quotes from septic pumping companies, make sure they include specific details such as what type of septic tank you have and if the job consists of any maintenance holes or other parts of the system. You will likely be charged for each maintenance hole or access point in addition to the cost of pumping out your septic tank.

What are some warning signs that my septic system needs repairs?

The most obvious signs that something is wrong with your septic system are when wastewater comes up through drains, or there’s a backup into your home. Other symptoms that might be wrong with your septic system include seeing excessive water around the septic tank or on the ground, slow draining sinks and drains, foul odors near the tank, and flushing large amounts of toilet paper down the toilets.

What are the signs of a full septic tank?

If you notice any of the following signs, check your septic tank because it needs pumping:

  1. There is an unpleasant odor in your house. Even if you cannot detect it right away, your neighbors might be able to, and they will not hesitate to tell you about it.
  2. Your toilet bowl starts taking a long time to flush. When this happens, the water level inside the septic tank is too low, and it needs pumping.
  3. The toilet bowl does not flush at all, even if there’s enough water supply to the tank, this means that the level of solids inside your septic tank is too high and it needs pumping before sewage starts backing up into your house.
  4. You notice that you’re flushing something down your toilet that shouldn’t be flushed down, things like facial tissue, sanitary napkins, condoms, and wipes should either be thrown in the trash or washed with warm soapy water before putting them in the trashcan. If these items are flushed down the toilet (toilet paper as well), it will clog up some areas of the internal plumbing; and when your septic tank becomes full, you’ll notice that you’re not flushing anymore.
  5. You start experiencing slow drainage or reduced water pressure in your shower, sink, or washing machine, this happens when the tank is complete because it can’t process liquids fast enough to maintain a reasonable flow rate.
  6. Your septic tank is leaking, this means that either the tank itself has a leak or its pipes have collapsed due to too much pressure from the wastewater, so there’s no way for solids to escape from the tank. They keep accumulating until it reaches a height that starts coming out of the tank through openings at the top.
  7. The bottom part of your toilet bowl fills up with water when you flush, since your toilet can still flush, your septic tank is likely full of solids that need removing before it starts forcing wastewater back into your house.
  8. You look for standing water around the maintenance hole, vent pipes, and plumbing connections, this happens after heavy rainfalls or when excess wastewater is coming out of your drainage system because it has nowhere else to go but over the drain field (or leaching pit) because the tank overflowed.
  9. You notice slow draining in your sink or tub, this happens when you use too much-running water, so wastewater has difficulty escaping from the septic tank through pipes leading to fixtures; if they are partially clogged due to too much build-up of solid wastes inside them, then wastewater will accumulate until there’s a backup and it comes out of the drains.
  10. The scum layer in your septic tank is thicker than usual, this means that it’s way too full, and you need to remove some of its solids through pumping before wastewater starts coming back into your house or draining slowly.

FAQs

  • Septic tanks can be pumped too often, can they?

The bacteria in your septic tank will have nowhere to go if it is pumped too often, which can cause clogs and failures. If the level of sludge and scum in your septic tank doesn’t reach certain thresholds, you should leave it alone.

  • Will a whole toilet flush the septic tank?

A full septic tank can cause your toilet to act oddly. It might not thoroughly rinse or wash very slowly if you flush your bathroom, and strange noises might occur. Gurgling or bubbling is the most common sounds.

  • Does my septic tank need to be stirred?

It’s best to do this for minor accumulations. Regularly doing this can prevent septic sludge from settling in too comfortably, but it takes commitment.

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