Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Fix Them

You probably don’t pay much attention to what happens to your excess water after it goes down the drain until something starts to go wrong. It’s vital that you ensure your septic tank system is working properly to avoid costly damage. Your septic system is pretty complex and most of it is underground, so problems with it can often go undetected for long periods of time. Not only that, but when you do discover an issue, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the problem is. If you’re noticing septic tank problems, odds are likely that one of these three things is the cause of the problem.

Clogs in Your Septic System

If you’re experiencing septic tank issues, think back to the last time your septic tank was pumped out. Over time, septic tanks fill up with waste and grey water passes through your septic tank to drain lines underground in your yard. If your tank is getting too full, you may start to notice your drains are getting slow or your toilet is becoming backed up. Each source of water in your home runs through your septic system. How fast your tank fills up will depend on how many people live in your home and how much waste water you’re generating on a daily basis.

If your septic tank has been pumped within a year or two, you probably don’t need to have it pumped out again. If that’s the case and you’re still experiencing septic tank problems, you probably have a clog somewhere between your home and your septic tank and will need to determine where it’s located. If your drains are all draining slowly, you likely have a clog in one of the pipes that drain away from your home. These pipes can often become clogged by items that should not have been flushed down your toilet. These pipes range from 4 to 8 inches in diameter, so in some areas, they’re likely narrower than others. This makes it possible for debris to pass through certain sections and get stuck in others.

If your drains are draining well, but you’re noticing that sewage is starting to get backed up into plumbing fixtures in your home or gathering near your septic tank, there’s likely some type of clog in your effluent filter. If this filter looks good, the problem might be in your septic tank’s inlet baffle. If you can access this part of the tank, you should be able to easily tell whether or not there is a clog. You may even be able to remove the clog by pushing it through the access port. If you’re unsure of how to access any of this, be sure to consult with a plumber.

Tree Roots are Infiltrating Your Pipes

Another cause of septic tank issues can be tree roots that are in the way. If sewage is starting to back up into your drains, there are mysterious cracks in your driveway and sidewalk, or you’re noticing constant puddles and wet patches in your lawn when it hasn’t rained, roots may have infiltrated your pipes. Roots can cause your drain pipes to crack, and as they grow over time, these cracks will widen and cause major damage. They may even begin to clog your sewer pipes.

You can prevent root infiltration by installing newer, plastic pipes that are capable of withstanding damage from roots. If you’re thinking of planting new trees, be sure to have your pipes mapped out so that you plant things far enough away from them. It’s also a good idea to treat your pipes with root growth inhibitors if you do have trees close to where your pipes are. If you believe tree roots may have already invaded your pipes, you can perform a septic tank & pipe cleaning or use a solution flushed down your toilet to remove existing roots. If you can stand to part with the trees whose roots are infiltrating your pipes, cut them down and remove the stumps to prevent roots from growing back after you’ve cleaned out your pipes.

Leaks in Sewage Tank or Lines

Many homeowners dream of green luscious grass, but if your grass is vibrantly green while the plants surrounding it are dead, it may be a sign of a leak in your septic tank. Unexplained green grass can also be an indicator that your septic tank is sending too much water through your lateral lines and saturating your yard. In this case, there may even be sewage pooling in your yard. You’ll want to consult with a plumbing professional immediately to ensure this problem is fixed as soon as possible to avoid potential health hazards and costly damage.

Your septic system can be pretty hearty, and it should work properly for many years if you maintain it correctly. If you’re noticing any septic tank problems such as signs of clogged pipes, root infiltration, or sewage leaks, take action and contact The Original Plumber for a septic tank inspection to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.