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Worried About Your Septic? 6 Signs It Needs Servicing Fast

A Septic
If your home is serviced by a septic system, you can't afford for it to malfunction. Problems with your septic system lead to clogs and sewage backups. Your best course of action is to prevent problems from arising in the first place. If you pay attention to your septic system, it lets you know when it needs servicing. Learn about six warning flags that you need to watch for.

1. Your Septic System Is Emitting Sewage Odors

Septic tanks should never smell like raw sewage unless the lid is open. Sewage odors are a serious warning flag that your septic tanks need to be emptied.

However, don't wait for odors to come up through the drains in your home. By the time you notice sewage odors inside your home, your septic tanks have already reached the overflow point. Catch the problem before it reaches your home. As soon as you smell sewage odors in your yard, your tank has reached capacity.

2. Your Well Tested Positive for Nitrates

If you have a well, test the water at least once a year, especially if your home is serviced by a septic system. A septic system that has overflowed will send toxic wastewater into your clean water supply.

Annual well tests allow you to catch contamination before it adversely affects your health and your water supply. If your annual water test shows positive for nitrates, your septic tanks need to be emptied. If you wait too long to pump the tanks, you may need to have your seepage field replaced as well.

3. Your Seepage Field Is Under Water 

Your seepage field is located downstream from your main septic tank. Raw sewage passes through the septic tanks to be processed before the remaining wastewater is sent through to the seepage field.

If too much of the actual sewage passes through from the tanks, the seepage field gets saturated. Once that happens, the excess wastewater has nowhere to go but up, either into your yard or into your home's drains. If your seepage field is underwater, and the ground feels spongy under your feet, your septic system is about to fail.

4. Your Yard Recently Flooded

Your septic system can handle a lot of water, but not at one time. Excess water that enters your septic tanks too quickly will cause your entire system to malfunction. If your yard has recently been flooded, chances are good that your septic tanks have reached maximum capacity. Have your septic system inspected right away. If your tanks are overflowing with floodwater, have them emptied.

5. Your Maintenance Is Due

Septic tanks need to be emptied about once every three to five years, especially if they're used on a regular basis. If you have your washing machine set up to drain into your septic tanks, schedule your maintenance for closer to the three-year mark. When you stay up to date on your maintenance, you avoid many of the problems associated with septic systems.

6. Your Tanks Have Sludge

When your septic tanks are emptied, your service technician will inspect your system for problems. If you've been informed that your tanks have a layer of sludge in them, you've waited too long to have them emptied. Sludge is a thick layer of scum and solid waste that floats to the top of the tank and solidifies. Avoid the sludge with regularly scheduled maintenance appointments.

Don't get stuck without a place to store your solid waste. If it's time for septic maintenance, contact us at Ernie's Plumbing & Sewer Service. We'll take good care of your septic system and help you avoid costly repairs and replacement.