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Why Does a Septic Tank and System Go Wrong? (And How You Can Tell)

14 Jan

A septic tank, for most of the time, will work perfectly and you’ll rarely think about it. If you treat your system well and maintain it regularly you’ll rarely come up against a problem. That said, there are plenty of times when we’ve been called to a septic tank problem and had to carry out emergency work and repairs.

The best way to treat your septic tank is with regular tank inspections, some occasional pumping, and by not overloading it with foreign objects that should be disposed of in the garbage, not down the toilet!

If you don’t look after your septic tank then you’ll soon find that you can’t run any water, so you’ll have no showers, toilets or washing facilities.

Regular septic tank inspections are highly recommended to avoid disasters.


Why would a septic tank go wrong?

There are two main reasons your septic tank could fall foul of problems.

  1. Lack of good tank maintenance

Even if you’re really sympathetic to your tanks and only flush and pour what you should, a septic tank will still struggle if you don’t maintain it. For just a few hundred dollars a septic tank inspection can spot and stop problems before they become so big that you end up with $1,000s of damage repair work.

  1. Misuse of the system

The only waste you should be flushing is water and human waste. Don’t be tempted to flush other objects. We don’t feel we need to list them, as you know what we mean. Anything other than your own waste shouldn’t be going in.

Look after your septic tank and don’t try to get rid of anything you shouldn’t, and you’ll be just fine.


How will you know if your septic tank is in trouble?

How will you know whether you have an issue with your tank? Well here are three signs to look out for:

  1. Slow to drain
  2. Standing water
  3. Bad smells

Let’s have a look at some tell-tale signs…

  1. Slow to drain.

If you notice that your sinks, shower, or bath tub are draining slower than usual then pay attention. Also, if you notice fresh vegetation growing in your drain field that could also be a sign you have an issue and need an inspection.

  1. Standing water.

If you notice that standing water is starting to collect near your property, this could be another sign that you have a problem. If it’s unusual, get an inspection booked.

  1. Bad smells.

Notice a sewer-like smell? That’s not nice (or normal). Smells often indicate that your system isn’t working at its optimum and you need to have a professional take a look and see what’s failing.

Time is of the essence in these cases as larger problems can start to happen very quickly once your system signals to you that it’s not performing as well as it should.

Call us out! It could be the difference between a simple repair and disruptive and costly works.


When does a septic tank need pumping?

Ideally (depending on use) your tank will need to be pumped every 1-3 years. A quick tank inspection (ideally once a year) will tell you in good time and this can be the difference between peace of mind and one of the examples above!

Essentially a tank will need to be emptied when the sludge at the bottom of your tank reaches the limit or the scum at the top starts reaching too far down into the tank.

Once this happens the tank needs pumping otherwise it will overflow and flood the neighbouring land. You really don’t want that – trust us, we’ve seen it all!


Get serious about septic tank maintenance…

If you look after your septic tank then it will look after you for years… decades… and even longer. An annual septic tank inspection is your best bet and if you live in the Colorado area then we’d love to chat about doing this for you.

It’s a far better approach than waiting for a disaster to happen.

A quick inspection will spot problems before they become more than a little issue and that’s far more cost-effective than waiting for Armageddon in your back yard!

Tags:Septic Tanks

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