If you are new to living in a home with a septic system, then it is important you know the signs of its possible failure. While a well-treated septic system can potentially last as long as the home it is connected to, septic systems that have not been gently cared for can and do fail. Thankfully, failing septic systems give many subtle clues of their impending doom, and if you recognize them, then sometimes you can take actions to prevent a very expensive complete system failure.
Here is a list of the signs of septic system failure every homeowner should know:
Slow Running Drains in Your Home
If one drain in your home is struggling to drain out its wastewater, then you likely have a clogged pipe. However, if more than one drain in your home is sluggish, then your septic tank is likely full and causing the problem.
One of the absolute first signs of a failing septic system is drains backing up with water or draining out very slowly. If you start to see this, then you need a plumber to come check your septic tank as soon as possible.
Gurgling Noises Coming from Plumbing
As with slow drains, gurgling noises coming from the plumbing in your home are also signs of septic tank problems. The gurgling is caused by the wastewater as it backs up in the pipes and slowly is allowed to pass into the septic tank as space becomes available. Since there should always be empty head space in the tank, this is a sign of a serious problem.
Raw Sewage Backing Up in Your Shower or Bathtub
The shower and bathtub in your home are the lowest points on the wastewater system. This is by design because when a septic tank or sewer main become clogged, then the water has somewhere to back up where it won't cause damage. If you see raw sewage or smell offensive odors in your bathtub or shower, then your septic tank is too full and not draining correctly out to the leach field.
Your Septic Tank Requires Frequent Pumping
Finally, while you should pump out your septic tank every couple of years, if your tank has to be pumped out multiple times a year, then it is not functioning and your leach lines and/or leach field need to be replaced. Since leach line and leach field replacement comes with very high costs, it is always best if you call for help before it gets to this point.
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