Finding Solutions for Your Septic Tank Problems

3 Signs That Your Septic Tank May Need Repairs

by Senanur Norder

About 20 million homes in the U.S. use septic systems. If you just moved to one of these homes, you may have to learn more about the maintenance requirements as septic systems are different from public sewers. To avoid expensive repairs, you need to be aware of when your septic tank is having issues. Here are three signs that could alert you to needed repairs.

1. Greener Grass

When your house was built, the contractor likely put in the septic tank and system around the same time he or she dug the footings for the house. While every state is different, most tanks are a minimum of ten feet from the building. The drain field is a bit further from the tank and shouldn't have shrubs or trees around it.

It's a good idea to periodically walk through your yard and check the ground around the drain field. Some homeowners think it's normal for this area to have lush, bright green grass. However, that is a misconception, as abundant grass could indicate a septic system leak. You definitely don't want leaching liquids, so contact a professional to check for leaks or to empty the tank.

2. Foul Odors

If there is an issue with your septic tank, you may smell odors from the toilet, shower, washing machine, kitchen sink, and any other areas where plumbing is used. The good news is that minor odors may not be a serious problem. For instance, if you've been pouring oils, fats, or cleaning products down the sink, they could be disrupting the sewage breakdown in the tank. If you add some baking soda to your drains or toilets, it could correct the pH level and eliminate the odors.

Odors could also be caused by dry traps. There should always be a little water in shower and sink drains since the water actually acts as a barrier to keep septic tank gases from entering your house. Periodically filling drain traps with water could fix the odor problem.

However, if DIY fixes aren't helping and you are smelling odors when you walk around your yard, call septic tank repair services. You may have a bigger problem on your hands.

3. Clogging

Are you using your plunger a lot more often? Like homes that use public sewers, your septic system can experience clogging. You may hear gurgling sounds in the toilet or notice that your shower is draining slowly if there is a clog. If the issue is taken care of quickly, a plumber may only need to snake the line and remove the clog. Again, make sure you know what can and cannot go down the drain to avoid future issues. Pumps do need to be pumped every few years, so if this maintenance isn't taken care of, you may have solids that clog the system and leach into the drain field.