How often should you get your septic tank checked?
- Septic tanks should be checked for buildup every 1 to 3 years until you can get on a predictable pumping schedule. Most septic tanks need pumping every 3 to 5 years. How often depends on the size of the tank, the number of people in the household, and the amount and type of solids entering the tank.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
How do I know if my septic tank is working properly?
When your septic tank system is not operating correctly, you will be able to see telltale signs if you know where to look.
- Pipe Gurgling Sounds.
- Toilet Flushing Issues.
- Slow Drains.
- Water Backup.
- Bad Odors.
- Greener Grass.
- Patches of Standing Water.
How do I know if my septic tank is clogged?
Signs of Septic System Clogging: Water and sewage from toilets, drains and sinks backing up into your home. Bathtubs, showers, and sinks draining slowly. Gurgling sounds present in the plumbing system. Bad odors coming from the septic tank or drain field.
How often should a septic tank be emptied?
How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank? To keep your sewage system running correctly, your septic tank needs to be pumped out or desludged every 1 -2 years. It is extremely important to keep your septic tank maintained.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
How do I unclog my septic system?
If you experience a clog in your drain, here are a few of the safe ways you can go about unclogging it.
- Pour Hot Water Down the Drain. If you have a clog in your drain, one of the easiest methods you can use to try to remove it is pour hot water down the drain.
- Baking Soda and Vinegar.
- Septic-Safe Drain Cleaners.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
Can I shower if my septic tank is full?
Unless the toilet’s overflowing or the bath spigot is filling the tub with blood, plumbers and exorcists aren’t usually on our minds. When the waste water from your toilet, shower, sinks and washing machine leave your house, it’s combined. When it hits the septic tank, however, it begins to separate.
Will toilet flush if septic tank is full?
Toilets Flush Slowly When your septic tank is excessively full, your toilet may start acting odd. You might find that your toilet doesn’t fully flush or flushes very slowly and odd noises occur when you flush your toilet. These noises usually sound like gurgling or bubbling.
What happens if you never pump your septic tank?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
What is the average life of a septic system?
Age of the System It’s pretty common for a septic system to last 40 years or longer, which means if you buy a new home, you might never need to replace it. However, you might have an older home whose septic system has been in place for nearly half a century.
How long can a septic tank go without being pumped?
You can wait up to 10 years to drain your tank provided that you live alone and do not use the septic system often. You may feel like you can pump your septic tank waste less frequently to save money, but it’ll be difficult for you to know if the tank is working properly.
Inspecting Your Septic Tank
Version that can be printed Septic tanks are mostly comprised of settling chambers. They provide enough time for particles and scum to separate from wastewater so that clean liquid may be properly discharged to a drainfield without contamination. Increasing the thickness of thescum and sludge layers over time results in less space and time for wastewater to settle before it is discharged to the drainfield. In the tank, one gallon of water is pumped out into the drainfield for every gallon that enters.
Septic tanks should be inspected for accumulation every one to three years until you can establish a regular pumping plan for your system.
The frequency with which particles are removed from the tank is determined by the size of the tank, the number of persons in the household, and the amount and kind of solids entering the tank.
The “stick test” process will walk you through the steps of assessing the quantity of scum and sludge in the tank, establishing the tank’s functional capacity, and determining whether or not the tank requires pumping.
What You Need to Do the Stick Test
- One 90-degree elbow*
- Two SxMPT threaded adapters*
- One coupler*
- Two feet of white rag or old gym sock
- String or duct tape
- A pencil or waterproof marker
- A disinfecting solution made of 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water in a bucket
- A plastic bag for storing the towel, rag/sock, and gloves*. All PVC materials are 1/2-inch Schedule 40 PVC plastic
- No other PVC materials are used.
The slime stick to the right measures 6 feet in length and has a 6-inch leg. The sludge stick is made up of two 5-foot portions that have been fastened together. Scum and sludge sticks can be any length up to 10 feet in length. (NOTE: To learn how to make the scum and sludge sticks, check Step 2 – Measuring the Scum Level andStep 3 – Measuring the Sludge Level in the following sections: Continue to Step 1 – Locate the Tanks. Additionally, see: Step 2 – Determining the Scum Concentration Step 3 – Determining the Sludge Concentration Check the baffles in step four.
How to Inspect Your Septic Tank – Septic Maxx
If you give your septic system the attention and care it deserves, it will survive a long time. It will endure for many years if you pump as regularly as you need to for the size of your tank, utilize it properly, and do not let anything that shouldn’t be in it to enter. Steel septic tanks corrode with time, generally after 15-20 years of service in most climates. Concrete septic tanks have a lifespan ranging from 40 years to nearly indefinitely. If you want to see your septic system live to a ripe old age and not have to worry about replacing it, it is in your best interests to do periodic septic maintenance.
It is necessary to have the correct equipment in order to assess the state of your septic tank and determine whether it is necessary to have it pumped out. Aside from wearing loose-fitting clothes and rubber gloves and shoes, you’ll need a specific gadget known as a Sludge Judge to quantify the quantities of scum and sludge that are present in your tank. This instrument is basically a transparent plastic pipe that has been marked at one-foot intervals and divided into three pieces, each of which is five feet in length.
Sludge, effluent, and scum are the three types of waste that accumulate in a septic tank.
Scum is formed when fats, oils, cooking grease, and other lighter trash float to the surface of the water. The liquid effluent makes up the middle layer. To check your tank, you must first assess how much sludge and scum is present within in order to evaluate whether or not it needs to be pumped.
Inspect the Area Around Your Septic Tank
Checking the ground around your septic tank is a good idea before opening the lid and pumping out the sewage. Check to see if there is any accumulation of effluent around the tank, and look over the septic tank lid to check whether it is in good shape.
Remove the Manhole Cover
Many septic systems these days are equipped with ” risers,” which make this task much easier by elevating the lids above earth. If you are unable to locate the lid of your septic tank, locate the tank and dig it up. There should be two lids, one for each compartment, in the box. In the majority of situations, the hole on the left corresponds to the first compartment, while the hole on the right corresponds to the second. In the first one, you simply need to take measurements, and that’s all.
Measure the Scum’s Thickness (SC)
To determine how thick the scum layer is in your tank, you’ll need to go for your trusty scum measuring stick, of course. Measure the distance between the stick and the opening of the septic tank, and then lower the stick until it lies on top of the scum layer and indicate the location of this intersection. As a further step, descend down through the whole scum layer with the elbow end leading directly into the scum layer. Rotate the stick 90 degrees and raise the stick as high as you can until you feel the bottom of the scum layer.
Take the distance between the two markers and multiply it by two.
Measure the Sludge’s Thickness (SL)
Make a hole in the scum layer with your handy sludge measuring stick and carefully lower the stick through it after tying two feet of a white cloth to the stick. Mark the point on the stick where it comes into contact with the aperture of the manhole or riser. After that, drop it to the very bottom of the tank and keep it there for 5 minutes to allow the sludge to adhere to the cloth towel. Measure the distance between the tanks or the operating depth of the tank. Remove the stick and use the rag to measure the height of the black stain that should be visible on it.
Following the completion of these measures, you will be able to calculate when it is necessary to pump your septic tank.
- SC plus SL equals inches
- WD inches divided by 3 equals inches
- If the sum of A and B equals the sum of A and B, pump your tank.
It is recommended that you engage a professional to examine your tank in order to get an accurate reading; but, if you are comfortable doing it yourself, you may save money by using this approach. Besides saving you money, Septic Maxx may also save you money by reducing the amount of accumulation in your tank and so extending the intervals between pumping.
How to Care for Your Septic System
Septic system maintenance is neither difficult or expensive, and it does not have to be done frequently. The maintenance of a vehicle is comprised of four major components:
- Inspect and pump your drainfield on a regular basis
- Conserve water
- Dispose of waste properly
- And keep your drainfield in good condition.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
Inspection of the ordinary residential septic system should be performed by a septic service specialist at least once every three years. Household septic tanks are normally pumped every three to five years, depending on how often they are used. Alternative systems that use electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently, typically once a year, to ensure that they are in proper working order.
Because alternative systems contain mechanical components, it is essential to have a service contract. The frequency with which a septic tank is pumped is influenced by four key factors:
- The size of the household
- The total amount of wastewater produced
- The amount of solids present in wastewater
- The size of the septic tank
Service provider coming? Here is what you need to know.
When you contact a septic service provider, he or she will inspect your septic tank for leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers that have built up over time. Maintain detailed records of any maintenance work conducted on your septic system. Because of the T-shaped outlet on the side of your tank, sludge and scum will not be able to escape from the tank and travel to the drainfield region. A pumping is required when the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet.
In the service report for your system, the service provider should mention the completion of repairs as well as the condition of the tank.
An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to identify service specialists in your region.
Use Water Efficiently
In a normal single-family house, the average indoor water consumption is about 70 gallons per person, per day, on average. A single leaking or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, depending on the situation. The septic system is responsible for disposing of all of the water that a residence sends down its pipes. The more water that is conserved in a household, the less water that enters the sewage system. A septic system that is operated efficiently will operate more efficiently and will have a lower chance of failure.
- Toilets with a high level of efficiency. The usage of toilets accounts for 25 to 30% of total home water use. Many older homes have toilets with reservoirs that hold 3.5 to 5 gallons of water, but contemporary, high-efficiency toilets consume 1.6 gallons or less of water for each flush. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the amount of household water that gets into your septic system. Aerators for faucets and high-efficiency showerheads are also available. Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restriction devices. Machines for washing clothes. Water and energy are wasted when little loads of laundry are washed on the large-load cycle of your washing machine. By selecting the appropriate load size, you may limit the amount of water wasted. If you are unable to specify a load size, only complete loads of washing should be performed. Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week if at all possible. Doing all of your household laundry in one day may appear to be a time-saving strategy
- Nevertheless, it can cause damage to your septic system by denying your septic tank adequate time to handle waste and may even cause your drainfield to overflow. Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than ordinary ones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy and water bills.
Properly Dispose of Waste
Everything that goes down your drains, whether it’s flushed down the toilet, ground up in the trash disposal, or poured down the sink, shower, or bath, ends up in your septic system, which is where it belongs. What you flush down the toilet has an impact on how effectively your septic system functions.
Toilets aren’t trash cans!
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. A simple rule of thumb is to never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Cooking grease or oil
- Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
- Photographic solutions
- Feminine hygiene items Condoms
- Medical supplies such as dental floss and disposable diapers, cigarette butts and coffee grounds, cat litter and paper towels, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals such as gasoline and oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners
Toilet Paper Needs to Be Flushed! Check out this video, which demonstrates why the only item you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper rolls.
Think at the sink!
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whether you’re at the kitchen sink, the bathtub, or the utility sink, remember the following:
- If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
- Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or toilet. It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Fats, grease, and particles will be considerably reduced in your septic tank, reducing the likelihood of your drainfield being clogged.
Own a recreational vehicle (RV), boat or mobile home?
If you have ever spent any time in an RV or boat, you are undoubtedly familiar with the issue of aromas emanating from sewage holding tanks.
- The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a factsheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.
Maintain Your Drainfield
It is critical that you maintain the integrity of your drainfield, which is a component of your septic system that filters impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank once it has been installed.
Here are some things you should do to keep it in good condition:
- Parking: Do not park or drive on your drainfield at any time. Plan your tree plantings so that their roots do not grow into your drainfield or septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your specific situation. Locating Your Drainfield: Keep any roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems away from the drainfield area. Excess water causes the wastewater treatment process to slow down or halt completely.
How To Find My Septic Tank
- What is a septic tank
- How do I know if I have a septic tank
- And how do I know if I have a septic tank Identifying the location of your septic tank is critical for several reasons. The Best Way to Find a Septic Tank
- What to Do Once You’ve Discovered Your Septic Tank
You may have fallen in love with your new house because of its appealing good looks and characteristics, but there is almost certainly more to your new home than meets the eye. In many cases, the characteristics that make your house run more effectively and allow you to live a pleasant, contemporary life are not readily apparent. Septic tanks, for example, are an important part of your home’s infrastructure. A septic system is responsible for regulating and managing the wastewater generated by your home.
- “How can I locate my septic tank?” is one of the most often requested inquiries we receive.
- When your tank’s lid is difficult to locate – especially if you are not the original homeowner – you may be at a loss for what to do or where to look for the lid when you need it.
- The majority of the time, all of the components of the septic tank are buried between four inches and four feet below ground level.
- In order to do so, it is necessary to first comprehend the functions of septic tanks and septic systems and why it is important to know where yours is located.
How to Locate Your Septic Tank
Your septic tank’s location is not a closely guarded secret. There will be a method for you to locate it and make a note of its position for future reference, and below are a few examples of such methods.
What Is a Septic Tank?
Having a functioning septic tank is an important aspect of having an effective septic system. In the United States, around 20% of households utilize a septic system to handle their wastewater. Houses in rural parts of New England are the most likely to have a septic system, with residences in the Eastern United States being the most prevalent location for septic systems. When there are few and far between residences, it is typically more efficient and cost-effective to employ a septic system to manage wastewater rather than relying on a public sewage system to handle waste water.
Typically, a septic tank is a container that is waterproof and composed of a material such as concrete, polyethylene, fiberglass, or a combination of these.
An important function of a septic tank is to hold on to wastewater until any particulates in the water separate themselves from the water.
Any liquid that remains in the tank eventually drains into a leach field or a drainfield, where it is known as “effluent.” The dirt in the leach field aids in the filtering of the water and the removal of bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants that may be present in it.
Septic tanks erected in Onondaga County must contain input and outlet baffles, as well as an effluent filter or sanitary tees, in order to effectively separate particles from liquids during the treatment process.
How Do I Know If I Have a Septic Tank?
What is the best way to tell if your home has a septic tank? There are generally a few of different methods to tell. Examining your water bill might help you identify whether or not your house is served by a septic system or is part of the public sewage system in your neighborhood. If you have a septic system for wastewater management, you are likely to receive a charge from the utility provider for wastewater or sewer services of zero dollars. In the case of those who are fortunate enough to have a septic system, it is likely that they may not receive any water bills at all.
- A lack of a meter on the water line that enters your property is typically indicative of the fact that you are utilizing well water rather than public utility water, according to the National Association of Realtors.
- A septic system is likely to be installed in your home if you reside in a rather rural location.
- Septic systems are likely to be installed in all of these buildings, which means your home is likely to be as well.
- When a septic tank is present, it is common to find a mound or tiny hill on the property that is not a natural structure.
- Checking your property records is a foolproof method of determining whether or not your home is equipped with a septic system.
Why It’s Important to Know the Location of Your Septic Tank
You might wonder why you should bother trying to discover out where your septic tank is. There are several important reasons for this:
1. To Be Able to Care for It Properly
The first reason you should try to locate your septic tank is that knowing where it is will help you to properly repair and care for it in the future. The standard guideline is to avoid erecting structures or placing heavy objects on top of the septic tank. It’s possible that you don’t want to park your car or truck on top of it, and you don’t want visitors to your house to park their cars on top of it, either. Due to the weight of the automobiles, there is a possibility that the tank would collapse due to excessive pressure.
2. If You Want to Landscape or Remodel Your Property
If you want to build an addition to your home or perform some landscaping around your property, you will need to know where your septic tank is located. Nothing with deep or lengthy roots should be planted on top of or in the area of your tank, since this can cause problems. If roots are allowed to grow into the pipes of your septic system, it is conceivable that your system will get clogged. When you know where the tank is going to be, you may arrange your landscaping such that only shallow-rooted plants, such as grass, are in close proximity to the tank.
For starters, the tank’s weight might lead it to collapse due to the weight of the construction. A second issue is that getting access to the tank becomes more difficult if a permanent building has been constructed on top of it.
3. If a Problem With Your Tank Occurs
Knowing where your tank is buried might also assist you in identifying problems as soon as they arise. Consider the following scenario: you wake up one morning and see that there is flooding or ponding water in the region surrounding your septic tank – a sign that your system is overwhelmed and that an excessive amount of water is being utilized all at once.
4. Ease of Getting It Fixed
Once you have determined the location of your sewer system, you can quickly send a plumber to it in the event that something goes wrong with the system, saving everyone both time and money. Get in Touch With A Plumber Right Away
1. Use a Septic Tank Map
First and foremost, make use of a road map. Using a map is frequently the quickest and most convenient alternative. Most counties keep records of the installation of septic tanks at all of their residents’ residences. These maps should include schematics that illustrate the specific placement of the tank on the land, as well as measurements that allow you to measure and locate the tank’s exact location on the property. Never mind that landmarks may shift over time depending on when the tank was built, so if there are a few more shrubs or a tree nearby, don’t rule out that location as a possibility.
- If you are unable to locate a map or other paperwork that identifies the location of your septic tank, there are a few locations to try to see if you can obtain a map of the area.
- The county health department is responsible for keeping track of septic systems.
- A septic tank’s position could be depicted on a survey map, for example.
- The creation of your own map and documentation may be worthwhile if you cannot locate a map or blueprint of your property and nothing appears to be on file regarding it at the county health department or another municipal agency.
2. Follow the Pipes to Find Your Septic Tank
Whether or not there is an existing map of your septic tank on file, or whether or not you choose to develop one for future reference or for future homeowners, you will still need to track down and find the tank. One method of accomplishing this is to follow the sewer lines that lead away from your residence. The septic tank is situated along the sewage line that goes from your home and into the yard, as we’re sure you’re aware. Find a four-inch sewer pipe in your basement or crawl space. This is the line that will lead to your septic system and should be accessible from the ground level.
- In general, though, you’re searching for a pipe with a diameter of four inches or more that leaves your home via a basement wall or ceiling.
- By inserting a thin metal probe (also known as a soil probe) into the earth near the sewage line, you can track the pipe’s location.
- The majority of septic tanks are located between 10 and 25 feet away from your home, and they cannot be any closer than five feet.
- Going via the sewage line itself is another method of locating the septic tank utilizing it.
- Drain snakes are typically used to unclog clogs in toilets and drains, and they may be used to do the same thing.
- When the snake comes to a complete halt, it has almost certainly reached the tank.
- While drawing the snake back, make a note of how far it has been extended and whether it has made any bends or turns.
- When looking for your septic tank, you may use a transmitter that you flush down the toilet and it will direct you straight to the tank.
If you only want to keep an eye on the condition of your tank and don’t need to dig it up and inspect it, you may thread a pipe camera into the sewer pipe to see what’s happening.
3. Inspect Your Yard
Septic tanks are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible when they are erected. With the passage of time, and the growth of the grass, it might be difficult to discern the visual indications that indicated the exact location of your septic tank’s installation. However, this does not rule out the possibility of finding evidence that will take you to the location of your septic tank in the future. First and foremost, you want to rule out any potential locations for your septic tank, such as:
- Under a road or similar paved surface, for example. Right up against the house (the tank must be at least five feet away)
- Directly in front of the home Immediately adjacent to your well (if you have one)
- In close proximity to trees or densely planted regions
- In the shadow of a patio, deck, or other building
Once you’ve ruled out any potential locations for your tank, it’s time to start hunting for indications as to where it may be hiding in plain sight. Keep your eyes peeled as you go about your property, looking for any inexplicable high or low points that might suggest the presence of an underground tank. When looking at your property, you could see a hill or mound on the ground, which is frequently an indication that there is a septic tank nearby. One further item to consider while searching for the right septic tank for your home is the amount of grass or other foliage in your yard.
Alternatively, if the tank was not adequately buried, you may observe a “bald patch,” which is an area where the grass is struggling to grow in the vicinity.
4. Talk to Your Neighbors
If your neighbors have septic systems as well, they may be able to assist you in locating your tank. Inquire of your neighbors about the location of their septic tanks in relation to their residences. Having a polite conversation with your neighbors regarding septic systems not only provides you with a means to figure out where yours is, but it may also serve as a friendly introduction to the other residents of your community.
5. Look for Your Septic Tank Lid
It is only the first step in the process to discover where your septic tank is located. After you’ve located your tank, the following step is to locate the lid. You can locate it with the help of your soil probe. The majority of septic tanks are rectangular in shape and measure around five feet by eight feet. The perimeter of the tank should be marked with a probe once it has been probed around. A shallow excavation with a shovel within the tank’s perimeter and near the center (or broken into halves for a two compartment tank) should show the position of the lid or lids if you are unable to feel them by probing.
The tank itself is likely to be filled with foul-smelling vapors, if not potentially hazardous ones.
What to Do After You Find Your Septic Tank
Once you’ve determined where your tank is, it’s time to bring in the specialists. Trust us when we say that opening a septic tank is not something that just anybody wants to undertake. Concrete septic tank lids are extremely heavy and must be lifted using special lifting gear in order to be removed. Since the vapors are potentially dangerous due to the contents of the tank, please respect our advice and refrain from attempting to open the tank yourself. An exposed septic tank can be hazardous to anybody wandering around your property’s perimeter, and if someone were to fall into it, it might be lethal owing to the toxicity of the sewage in the tank.
However, before you send in a team of experienced plumbers, there are a few things you can do to ensure that others do not experience the same difficulty locating the tank and to make locating the tank in the future easier.
1. Mark Its Location
The likelihood is that you will not want to post a large sign in your yard that reads “Septic Tank Here!” but you will want to leave some sort of marking so that you can quickly locate the tank and lid when you need them. In an ideal situation, the marker will be substantial enough that it will not blow away in the wind and will not be readily moved by children who are playing in the yard. A patio paver, a potted plant, or a decorative gnome or rock are just a few of the possibilities. In addition to putting a physical sign beside the septic tank, you may draw a map or layout of the area around it to illustrate its position.
2. Take Care of Your Septic Tank
Taking proper care of your tank may save you hundreds of dollars over the course of its lifetime. The expense of maintaining your system could be a few hundred dollars every few years, but that’s a lot less than the thousands of dollars it might cost to repair or replace a damaged tank or a malfunctioning septic system. Two strategies to take better care of your septic tank and system are to avoid utilizing your drain pipes or toilets as garbage cans and to use less water overall. Things like paper towels, face wipes, and cat litter should not be flushed down the toilet since they are not designed to be flushed.
In addition, installing low-flow faucets and high-efficiency toilets can help you reduce the amount of water used in your home.
For example, you don’t want to be washing load after load of laundry or running your clothes washer at the same time as your dishwasher all at the same time.
Call a Professional Plumber
Maintenance of a septic system is not normally considered a do-it-yourself activity. In the Greater Syracuse region, whether your septic tank requires pumping out or cleaning, or if you want to replace your tank, you should use the services of a reputable plumbing firm to do the job right. If you’ve attempted to locate your septic tank on your own and are still unsure of its position, it may be necessary to enlist the assistance of a professional local plumber. Our team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse can assist you with locating, maintaining, or replacing your home’s sewage tank.
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How to Check Your Septic Panel and Pump Chamber
It is recommended that you inspect your pump chamber once a year to ensure that everything is in proper working order. Follow the 11-step procedure outlined below to complete this task on your own! (Do you require further assistance? Alternatively, you may watch our instructional video below.)
1. Let’s start by inspecting the panel. Make sure the power is on by verifying the power switch to the panel is on.
The following items should be included in this general overview: The electrical box may be seen in the lower left corner of the image below, starting at the bottom of the image.
Check to verify that all of the cables are firmly connected before using it. Next, take a look at the lower right corner of the shot, where you can see the discharge pipe for the pump. Check to see if it is operational (valve should be lined up with pipe). It’s now time to have some fun!
FIRST.PUT ON GLOVES!That is one step you DO NOT want to miss. Remove the float tree (the pipe with a pvc handle located upright left in our picture) and pull up the alarms.
*Please keep in mind that these instructions are for a 4-float system. Some systems contain only two or three floats.
If you don’t hear an alarm, this is cause for concern. Starting at the top, I will explain the floats and how to ensure each one is working.
NOTE: If your water supply is depleted, you may need to replenish it. Fill it up a little with water from a yard hose.
7. Continue testing.
Check that the pump is operating properly by flipping the second float from the bottom upside down and then turning it back around. With your other hand, turn the next float up (which would be the second from the top) upside down while still holding the first float. You should be able to hear the pump start up. As soon as you have confirmed that the pump is operational, just release these two floats. There’s one more float to go. The top float serves as an alert in case of high water. Turn it over down to see whether this is the case.
8. Now is the time to inspect the power cords.
Check to see that everything is securely tied to the float tree and not just hanging free. Zip ties can be used to reattach any stray cables.
9. Securely return the float tree to its holder and coil any dangling cords so that they are out of the water.
Nick Gromicko, CMI®, and Kenton Shepard wrote this article. A septic system is a system that collects, processes, and disposes of waste water and solids that are generated by a building’s plumbing system. When the solids are partially broken down into sludge, they are separated from the liquid effluent (water) and scum in a septic tank (fat, oil and grease). Effluent is discharged from the tank on a regular basis into a drainfield, where it is naturally filtered by microorganisms and re-enters the groundwater supply.
The septic system should be tested at least once a year, and it should be done immediately before putting the house on the market for sale.
Prospective home buyers who have not recently had their septic system checked should insist on having the system checked before they acquire the property, since it is in their best interests.
When it comes time to examine or pump the tank, this is typically not a problem.
- The placement of the tank should be depicted on a “as-built” design of the home. These designs are frequently kept on file by municipal health and zoning departments. It is possible that older systems do not have such a record. It is possible to get in touch with the prior owner
- Modern tanks are equipped with risers that protrude clearly above the ground surface. It is possible to probe a suspicious location using a thin metal rod that has been placed into the soil. It is critical to do this carefully and only on soft, damp soil in order to prevent harming the tank and its accompanying pipelines. Another option is to use a shovel, although this will need a little more effort. If a sufficient number of tank components are made of metal, a metal detector can be utilized. A tiny radio transmitter that can be flushed down the toilet and followed by a receiver can be used to communicate. The grass that grows the most lushly in a yard is frequently seen just over the sewage tank. Snow melts more quickly above the tank than it does in the rest of the yard. While they are not failsafe techniques of finding a place, they have been shown to be beneficial in the past.
What kinds of things may InterNACHI inspectors be looking for?
- Find out when the tank was last pumped by looking at the date on the tank. The sludge level should ultimately indicate if a tank has to be pumped, although having a record of past pumping dates might be useful as a reference. Using a “sludge judge” or a similar instrument, determine the amount of sludge present. It is normal for sludge to collect on the tank bottom, but it should not take up more than one-third of the tank’s total capacity or climb to the level of the baffles. The septic tank and drainfield should be located far away from wells and streams, for obvious reasons. Make certain that the system is large enough to accommodate the household it serves. A 1,200-gallon tank is normally required for a four-bedroom house, for example. The number of people that live in the house determines the size of the tank that is necessary. The tank’s capacity in gallons may be computed based on the size of the tank. For rectangular tanks, the capacity in gallons is equal to the product of the length, breadth, and depth in feet multiplied by 7.5. For circular tanks, the capacity in gallons is calculated as 3.14 times the radius squared x the depth in feet multiplied by 7.5. Check the ground surface for any liquid waste that has found its way to the surface. This is an unclean state that signals that the system is overburdened and needs to be repaired. In order to prevent wastewater contamination of groundwater and groundwater from flowing into the tank and causing it to overfill, make certain that it is waterproof. The presence of a riser lid should be checked for cracks and the integrity of the lid should be checked as well. Check to see that the baffles are securely attached to the tank’s inlet and exit pipes. It is recommended that each drain line receives the same quantity of wastewater. By opening the distribution box, you will be able to see what they are made of. If the box becomes tipped or blocked, it will distribute effluent in an excessively large amount, and it may even flood areas of the drainfield.
In a septic tank, baffles are components that restrict wastewater entry to a sufficient degree to guarantee that particles are distilled and that solids (as well as scum) are not discharged into the drainfield. It is via this process that they are able to protect the soil’s absorptive quality and hence extend the life of the entire system.
They are often constructed of the same materials as the septic tank, which might be fiberglass, steel, or concrete in construction. Inspectors should look for the following things in baffles:
- The baffle is covered in solids. This should be reported as soon as possible because it implies overflow. There is evidence of prior overflow due to chemical and water erosion. Ideally, the sewage level should be several inches below the baffle top of the drain. A lower level implies leakage, whereas a greater level indicates obstruction.
Inspectors should be familiar with the following facts so that they may advise their clients about the various ways in which they might cause harm to their septic system:
- The only thing that can be flushed down the toilet is bath tissue. Tampons, paper towels, cigarette butts, and diapers should all be disposed of in the garbage. In order to prevent microorganisms in the septic system from being damaged by household chemicals such as gasoline, paint, medicine, antifreeze, or pesticides from being flushed, they should never be put down the toilet or down the sink. In little volumes, detergents and bleach can make their way into the plumbing system. There should be no driving on or near the drainfield unless absolutely necessary. Their weight might cause damage to subsurface plumbing without them realizing it. There should be no other vegetation grown over the septic tank and drainfield. Roots from trees and huge bushes can create harm that is not visible. People are not permitted to excavate or construct structures on top of a drainfield. Ensure that any water drainage from rains, sump pumps, or any other source of surface water is routed away from the drainfield. An over-saturated drainfield can cause the water treatment process to be slowed down and plumbing fittings to get clogged. Fixing leaking faucets and toilets as soon as they occur is a simple method to extend the life of a septic system and avoid having to pay for an expensive replacement. Any waste of water in the home should be avoided at all costs. Taking shorter showers and avoiding using the garbage disposal are two examples of strategies to conserve water.
- It is not recommended that inspectors enter the septic tank to search for cracks. Tank interiors are extremely filthy, and entering should be avoided at all costs. The fracture will most likely be located at the level of the effluent, which will have drained from the tank via the crack if one is there. An effluent level that is much lower than the level of the tank outflow is a clear indicator of the presence of a fracture. A tank that has flaws that enable sewage to escape into the surrounding soil is effectively a cesspool and should be removed as soon as possible
- If the water comes from the tank, it indicates that the septic system is overburdened and has to be repaired. Sometimes, inspectors will use a dye that is flushed down the toilet to confirm that the water is coming from the residence and not from somewhere else. Despite the fact that this metric might be beneficial, it is not an accepted means of testing the operation of a septic system. A malfunctioning septic system will be confirmed if dye from the flushed dye shows in the puddle
- However, a working septic system is not guaranteed if dye does not appear. It may take many days for the dye to develop, and it may be too diluted to see properly
- It is outside the scope of a standard house inspection to evaluate a septic system, and this needs specialized skills. Laws differ from one jurisdiction to the next, and inspectors should be well-versed in them before providing this job. They should disclaim all responsibility for any component of the septic system examination that they did not do
Septic systems are meant to manage hazardous waste, and they may pose major health risks to both residents and inspectors if they are not properly maintained. Precautions include the following, in no particular order:
- Solid waste should be removed from septic tanks by a professional septic tank pumping service, not by an inspector. No one else should be allowed to enter a tank unless they are a licensed and properly equipped professional. Noxious gasses such as methane can induce asphyxiation and death in a matter of minutes. When a septic tank begins to exhibit indications of fragility, proceed with extreme caution! Collapse has the potential to be deadly. Keep an eye out for tanks with rusted metal, improvised lids, or anything else that seems to be in unsafe condition.
In conclusion, septic system inspections should be conducted on a yearly basis to verify that the system is operating properly. The septic tank is the most expensive household fixture, and it will have a much shorter lifespan if it is not properly cared for and maintained.
How to Check a Septic Tank and Leach Field
Septic sludge can build up in a leach field that has not been properly managed. Images from EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images courtesy of George Mdivanian. In every residence that does not have access to a public sewer system, an aseptic system must be installed, and the homeowner is responsible for keeping it in good working order. Despite the fact that most septic repairs are dangerous and should only be performed by professionals, homeowners can recognize problems and know when it is time to call in the specialists.
However, others that can lead to more serious problems require a more thorough examination.
Visual Inspection of Septic Tank
Prepare yourself by donning goggles, protective clothes, gloves, and steel-toed boots before uncovering the tank, which you may have to look for due to its location beneath the ground. Make sure your assistant is also well attired before beginning. In tanks with more than one chamber, there are two lids, and you should remove both of them to conduct a comprehensive inspection. However, you can detect the majority of issues by removing only one of the lids. Depending on the size of the tank, you’ll either notice the waste input port, which is a 3- or 4-inch pipe located on the side or the outlet port, which is also constructed of the same size pipe.
If it’s higher than that, there’s either an obstruction in the drain line that’s keeping water from draining out or, if your system uses a lift pump, the pump isn’t operating properly and has to be replaced.
In any situation, it is necessary to contact a septic professional.
Measuring Scum and Sludge Layers
In order to inspect the septic tank, you’ll need two instruments, both of which may be constructed from 1/2-inch PVC tubing. Each pipe measures 6 feet in length with a 90-degree elbow on one end and a 6-inch length of pipe inserted into the elbow to form a “L” shape pipe, and the second is a 10-foot length of straight pipe with a 3-foot length of white Velcroortan masking tapeestuck to one end, as shown in the illustration. First, take measurements of the scum layer that is floating on top of your tank’s surface, and then take another measurement of the sludge layer in the bottom of your tank’s bottom.
- Make a mark on the pipe after you have lowered it all the way through the scum layer and pulled it up until you feel resistance.
- To determine the thickness of the sludge layer, drop the sludge tester into the tank until it comes into contact with the bottom of the container.
- Use the Velcro or tape to measure the length of the sludge stain on the Velcro or tape.
- Take a walk through the drain field and make a note of any areas where sewage scents may be detected or where the ground feels spongy.
- Several pipes should be protruding vertically out of the ground; these are risers, which were placed so that you could inspect the drainage system.
Remove the cap from each pipe and examine the interior with a torchlight. If you see any standing water, this indicates that the drainage system is not functioning properly and must be rectified.
How Can I Tell if My Septic Tank is Full?
The majority of septic system owners are interested in knowing when their tank is full so that they may plan a pumping appointment. The difficulty is that there are many different definitions of what constitutes a “full” septic tank, and only one way to validate that it is full – by opening the tank lids. Just because a septic system looks to be in good working order does not rule out the possibility that it is overflowing and in need of pumping.
Defining a “full” septic tank
There are three possible scenarios in which your septic tank is termed “full.”
Tank is filled to normal level
It is at this level that the tank’s output line permits liquids to flow into the absorption region of your septic system. When the septic tank is pumped, the water level in the tank drops, but it quickly returns to its regular level as the system is utilized.
Sludge has accumulated
As the tank fills to its regular level and the system continues to be utilized, toilet paper and waste build up and become “stuck” in the tank, causing it to overflow (liquids continue flowing out of the outlet pipe to the absorption area). Some of this paper and solid waste decomposes, but it does not suddenly disappear on its own. The septic tank must be pumped on a regular basis, and the sludge must be eliminated from the system (mostseptic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years).
Tank is “overfull”
When the water level in a septic tank reaches the very top of the tank, it is deemed to be “overfull.” When the absorption field of a septic system stops taking water, the water collects in the outflow pipe and backs up, overfilling the tank and causing it to overflow.
Preventing a full septic tank
There is a point at which your septic tank is “full,” no matter how long it has been since you last had it emptied and pumped. However, if it has been more than three to five years since you last had it pumped, it is definitely time to do so. Don’t wait until you have a problem before pumping out your tank; by then, it’s typically too late to do something about the situation. By allowing the sludge to accumulate between pumpings, you might cause damage to your drainfield and increase the likelihood of future problems.
Schedule your septic tank pumping
Since 1937, Van Delden Wastewater Systems has been providing septic system installation and maintenance in the Texas Hill Country region. We may be reached at 830-249-4000 (Boerne) or 210.698-2000 (San Antonio) to make a septic pumping appointment. Over the course of 80 years, Van Delden Wastewater Systems has proven itself to be the premier Wastewater System provider, supplying San Antonio, Boerne, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country with services you can rely on today and in the future. We can assist you with any of your wastewater system needs, and our specialists can also assist you with your septic installation and maintenance requirements: 210.698.2000 (San Antonio) or 830.249.4000 (Austin) (Boerne).
How to Locate Your Septic Tank
It may seem impossible to imagine that one of the largest and most visible elements of your whole plumbing system is also one of the most difficult to locate, but when your property is served by a septic system, this is perfectly true. A strong explanation for this is because septic tanks are huge, unattractive, stink horrible and give off an unwarranted impression of dirt. Not only does burying them underground assist to prevent them from harm, but it also provides you with additional useable space on your property and conceals what would otherwise be a blight on your landscape.
This site is dedicated to assisting you in locating your septic system without the need for any time-consuming digging.
How To Find A Septic Tank: Step By Step
It is critical to maintain the health of your septic tank since it is responsible for securely storing and handling the wastewater that drains from your house. It is necessary to pump your septic tank once every 1-3 years, depending on the number of people living in your household and the size of your tank, in order to avoid septic tank repairs or early failure, which means you must be familiar with the location of your tank. It’s not often simple to identify your septic tank, and many plumbers charge extra for this service, which is especially true if your tank’s lid is buried beneath.
1. Gather Some Helpful Tools
Septic tank location may be made much easier with the use of several simple instruments and techniques. To locate your septic tank, you only need to know the following information: A soil probe is one of the most useful instruments for locating a septic tank. It is a tiny piece of metal that is used to puncture through the earth and detect anything that could be buried underneath. Start at the point where your sewage line exits your home and work your way straight out, inserting your soil probe every two feet along the way.
Using this method, you may also locate the cover for your septic tank.
While we highly advise keeping your cover clean and exposed in the event that you require emergency septic service, we recognize that this is not always the case.
2. Use a Septic Tank Map
If you are a new homeowner who is trying to figure out where your septic tank is, a septic tank map should be included in your inspection documentation. You can use this information to assist you in pinpointing the exact position of your storage tank. If you don’t have access to this map, there are a few of additional strategies you might employ.
3. Start Ruling Areas Out
The location of a septic tank cannot be constructed in specific areas due to the risk of causing major damage to your property or tank, as specified by local rules. Your septic tank will not be affected by the following:
- Immediately adjacent to your well
- Beneath your home
- Directly against your home
- For example, underneath your driveway
- Under trees
- And other locations. Structures like a patio or deck are good examples of this.
4. Inspect Your Property
If you take a hard look around your land, there’s a high possibility you’ll be able to locate your septic tank without having to do any probing whatsoever. In many circumstances, a septic tank may be identified by a slight dip or slope on your land that cannot be explained by any other means. Due to the fact that the hole that your contractors excavated for your septic tank may not have been exactly the proper size, they proceeded to install the tank anyhow. This is a rather regular occurrence.
When there is a minor divot or depression, it indicates that the hole was too large and that your contractors simply did not fill the depression to level the hole.
The likelihood of your septic tank being discovered in a few specific locations is quite high. Because of code issues or just because it doesn’t make sense, it’s highly unlikely that your septic tank will be located near any of the following locations:
- Your water well, if you have one (for a variety of reasons that are rather clear)
- Any paved surfaces (it won’t be under a patio, sidewalk, or driveway unless they were added after the home was built and no one performed a proper inspection before it was built)
- Any paved surfaces (it won’t be under a driveway, sidewalk, or patio unless they were added after the home was built and no one conducted a proper inspection before it was built)
- Any paved surfaces (it won’t be under a patio, sidewalk, or driveway unless they were added after the home was built If there is any particular landscaping
5. Inspect Your Yard
A comprehensive investigation of your yard may be necessary to discover your septic tank considerably more quickly in some cases. The following are important items to check for in your yard:
- If your septic tank is overfilled, sewage can leak out into the ground and function as fertilizer for your lawn, resulting in lush green grass. A area of grass that is very lush and green is a good sign that your septic tank is just beneath it
- Puddles that don’t make sense: If your septic tank is seriously overfilled, it is possible that water will pool on your grass. Another telltale indicator that your septic tank is below ground level is an unexplainable pool of water. Ground that is uneven: When installing septic tanks, it is possible that the contractors will mistakenly create high or low patches on your grass. If you come across any uneven terrain, it’s possible that your septic tank is right there.
The metal soil probe can let you find out for certain whether or not your septic tank is located in a certain area of your yard or not. As soon as your metal soil probe makes contact with the tank, you may use your shovel to dig out the grass surrounding it and discover the septic tank lid.
6. Follow Your Sewer Main/Sewer Pipes
Following your sewage lines is one of the most straightforward methods of locating your septic tank. These pipes have a diameter of roughly 4 inches and are commonly found in the basement or crawlspace of your house. They are not dangerous. Following the pipes from your house out into your yard, using your metal soil probe every 2 feet or so until you reach the tank, is a simple process once they are located. Aside from that, every drain in your home is connected to your sewage main, which in turn is connected to your septic tank.
The likelihood that one of your major sewer lines is located in your basement or crawlspace is high if you have exposed plumbing lines in your basement or crawlspace.
If the line is labeled, it is usually made of plastic or rubber.
7. Check Your Property Records
Lastly, if all else fails, a search of your property’s public records will almost certainly reveal the location of the tank you’re looking for. Your builders most likely secured a permit for your property because septic systems are required to be installed by law in every state. In order to do so, they had to develop a thorough plan that depicted your property as well as the exact location where they intended to construct the tank. This is done to ensure that the local health department is aware of the tank and is prepared to deal with any issues that may arise as a result of its presence.
If you look hard enough, you may be able to locate the original building records for your home without ever having to get in your car or visit your local records center.
What to Do Once You Find Your Septic Tank
Upon discovering the position of your septic tank, you should mark its location on a map of your property. Use something to indicate the location of your lid, such as an attractive garden item that can’t be changed, to help you locate it. A birdbath, a rock, or a potted plant are just a few of the possibilities.
You are now ready to arrange your septic tank inspection and pumping service. Contact us now! If you have any more concerns regarding how to locate your septic tank, or if you want septic tank servicing, please contact The Plumbing Experts at (864) 210-3127 right now!