How To Tell If Your Septic Tank Is Full

How To Tell If Your Septic Tank Is Full

If you live in a rural or suburban area, chances are your home is connected to an on-site septic tank.  Septic tanks collect, filter, and disperse wastewater from the home; however, they often do not empty as rapidly as they fill up.  Because of this, septic tanks need to be cleaned out regularly.  Most sources suggest having your septic tank pumped every three years, but that estimate can vary based on the size of your household, the frequency of use, and the types of things going down your drain.  If you don’t remember when you last had your septic drained, or you suspect it is nearly time, here are some key signs that may indicate your septic tank is nearing capacity.

Signs Your Septic Tank Is Full: Home Plumbing System & Drainfield Water Inspection

1. Slow Draining.  

The septic tank is the final destination for everything you send down the drains in your home: your sinks, your shower, and your toilet.  If the septic tank is full, your drains may not be able to empty properly.  If you’re noticing standing water in your sink or shower, or your toilet is flushing slowly, these may be indications of a full tank.

2. Pipes Gurgling

When your septic tank is full, air can back up into the drains, causing a gurgling or burping sound.  For some, a gurgling sound in the drains is not uncommon, but if you’re noticing new or different sounds coming from your drains, you might need to get your septic tank pumped.

3. Sewage Smells

If you’ve noticed some unpleasant smells around the house or outside, this might suggest you have a full tank.  When a septic tank is functioning properly, sewage is filtered and the filtered wastewater is deposited in the soil of your yard, known as the drain field.  If your septic tank is over capacity, you may notice the smell of unfiltered sewage in your yard.

4. Green Grass and Flower Growth

A side effect of an overflowing septic is that less-filtered sewage may be deposited in your yard’s soil; while it sounds gross, plants and grasses thrive off of waste (most commercial fertilizer is just cow poop, after all).  If you’re noticing particularly lush grass in your drain field or an abundance of flowers and weeds, it might be time to call a septic company.

5. Puddles and Standing Water

In addition to some nice grass and some not-so-nice smells, you may notice unexplained puddles or standing water appear in your yard.  When your drain field becomes over-saturated, the soil becomes unable to absorb the excess wastewater.  This excess wastewater can begin pooling in your yard.

6. Flies

One additional consequence of an overfilled septic tank is an increase in bugs.  Many bugs, including mosquitoes, midges, and drain flies, lay their eggs in standing water or organic waste.  A full septic tank creates these conditions in abundance; if you’re noticing an uptick in your flying pest population, be sure to have your septic checked out.

7. Sewage Backup

The least pleasant and often final sign of a full septic tank is sewage backup into the home.  Not only is this a very gross experience, it can be costly and damaging.  When your septic tank is truly over-capacity, the sewage will have nowhere to go except back up into your home drains and plumbing line.  This means sewage will leak into your sinks, shower, or toilet.  Sewage flooding can do major damage to a home that will cost a lot to fix; be sure to get your septic pumped before this happens.

What To Do If Your Septic Tank Is Full & How To Get Your Septic Tanks Cleared

If you’ve noticed the signs your septic tank is full, don’t ignore those signs.  There can be some gross and costly consequences if your septic tank is full and you don’t get it cleared promptly.  Luckily, you can hire professional cleaning and emptying services for your septic tank; septic systems are complicated and potentially dangerous, so please do not try to learn how to do it yourself.  Here at Upfront Septic, we’ve been doing maintenance on septic systems all over Western Washington for many years.  We pride ourselves on simple, clean service with transparent pricing; we believe bringing functional plumbing and sanitation to our customers is a public service.  Remember, septic tanks need regular cleaning, so be sure to keep track of your tank’s maintenance schedule.  If it’s time to schedule a septic tank pumping for your system, please consider calling our team at Upfront Septic, or filling out our online contact form.

How To Tell If Your Septic Tank Is Full

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