How Can You Tell When It's Time To Pump Your Septic Tank?

Your septic tank needs to be pumped periodically in order to continue functioning. Knowing the signs that your septic tank needs service and knowing how to ensure that your septic tank gets pumped as often as required are important parts of septic tank ownership. This FAQ will help homeowners with septic tanks to determine when it's time to pump their septic tank.

How can you tell when it's time to pump your septic tank?

Unfortunately, unless your septic tank is backed up, it can be very difficult to tell if it needs to be pumped. Below are signs that your septic tank needs to be pumped--and in fact, probably should have been pumped a long time ago:

  • Extra green grass over the drain field.
  • Slow drainage throughout the house or backed up waste water in the house.
  • Swampy pools of water in the yard.
  • Sewage odors in the yard.

The best way to ensure that your septic tank gets pumped as often as necessary is to get an evaluation from a septic tank pumping service. Your septic tank service professional should be able to judge how often your septic tank should be cleaned.

What determines how often your septic tank should be cleaned?

The cleaning schedule for your septic tank service is determined by the size of your household, the amount of waste water that each member of your household produces, whether or not you have a garbage disposal and the size of your tank.

What's a typical cleaning schedule for most households?

If it's properly sized for your household, your septic tank will need to be cleaned out every 2 or 3 years.

What does owning a garbage disposal have to do with how often you clean your septic tank?

A septic tank is basically a giant underground tank of water. When the waste water from your home enters your septic tank, it separates into three different layers: the fat and oil on top, water in the middle and solid waste (sludge) at the bottom. As new waste water enters the tank, old waste water is pushed out into the drain field, where it's filtered through the soil.

When the sludge builds up high enough in the tank, it can enter the pipe that leads to the drain field, causing a backup. This is why your septic tank needs to be pumped periodically. If you use a garbage disposal in your house, the sludge in the bottom of the tank will fill up faster, causing you to need a pumping more often.

For more information about your septic tank's pumping schedule, or for an evaluation regarding the appropriate schedule for your family, talk to a septic tank pumping service like A-1 Sewer Service in your area.