Signs and symptoms that it’s time to have your septic tank pumped:
Light Flashing or Siren Sounding: Not all homes have a septic that is backed by an alert system, but for those that do have an alert system it is a useful tool when it comes to septic tank issues. Most times an alarm will sound that sounds like a really high pitch buzzing if the septic tank is full and needs to be pumped. Systems that have this feature also will have a red light usually on the side of the house that will light up if the tank needs to be pumped.
Smell: Although you cannot look for the smell, you sure can smell it! If you can smell sewage then it is probably time to pump your septic tank. Sometimes the smell of sewage comes from a break in the drain field line which is a separate issue that you will want to check for before having your septic pumped. However, if you have a strong sewage smell and there are no broken lines then it’s time to pump that septic tank.
Overflow: If you have an abundance of smelly water around the septic tank that has come to a level above the tank lid this may also be a sign that it is time to pump your septic tank. Overflows are not always due to tank overfilling and they too can be due to some type of breakage in the systems’ lines so this will be something that must be check as well.
Toilet Backup: If your toilets are backed up and you have already tried to unclog the backup with a snake without any change it is likely time to pump the septic tank. When a septic tank is full the toilets will back up and there will often be discolored waste water that will back up into the showers and bathtubs. At this point the septic problem becomes very overwhelming and should be fixed as soon as possible to avoid the spreading of disease and sickness that can be associated with human waste.
Time: Finally, if you aren’t having problems with your septic tank and want to make sure to prevent problems from arising then you should have your tank pumped approximately every 3 to 5 years. This amount of time could change based on the size of the septic tank at your home and also based on the amount of usage for your sewer system. A home with 6 people and a small septic tank is likely to need pumping more often than a home with only 2 people and a large tank. Keeping track and pumping the tank regularly will prevent backups and overflows from occurring.