☰ Menu
× Close

4 Signs That Your Septic Tank Needs to Be Pumped


Those who are not familiar with septic tanks might be intimidated by the prospect of moving to a property that functions with this kind of sewage system, as opposed to more traditional city sewer lines. But for a number of reasons, many Americans prefer septic tanks to sewer lines. They simply require some getting used to for those who don’t have as much experience with them.

One important aspect of caring for a septic tank system and ensuring that it doesn’t require any premature repairs is getting it pumped regularly. Pumping a septic tank regularly will prevent damage to the tank itself, while also preventing problems within your home’s plumbing system and lawn. But those who haven’t used septic tanks before may not be able to recognize the common signs of an overfilled septic tank. The more you understand these signs, the easier it will be for you to have your septic tank pumped in a timely manner. Let’s explore them together.

1. Lawn Changes

If your septic tank system needs to be pumped, you may very well begin to notice the signs in your lawn before they reach your house itself. This is because of your septic tank’s drain field. The drain field is an area located below your lawn, and liquid waste known as effluent will be released there from your septic tank in order to ensure that it doesn’t hold onto any impurities and slow the rate at which it fills. But when the septic tank releases more liquid than the drain field is able to contain, you may begin to see standing water on your lawn due to over-saturation.

At times, however, the signs may not be as obvious as standing water. If you notice patches of your lawn that are lusher than others (and you haven’t attempted to intentionally stimulate lawn growth) this could be a sign that parts of the drain field are becoming oversaturated. The waste has floated up and out of the drain field but hasn’t yet reached the point where it’s creating standing water. Therefore, parts of the lawn are being fertilized and are growing more rapidly. Though this may make your lawn look better for now, you should call a septic company about getting your tank pumped.

2. Foul Odors

Perhaps one of the least pleasant signs that your septic tank system needs to be pumped is foul odor inside or outside your home. This is a clear sign that your septic tank is overfilled. A smell around your drains should be particularly concerning, as this is a sign that the sewage has possibly backed up past the drain’s P-trap but has not yet exited the drain itself.

There are other possible causes. Clogs can cause foul smells similar to sewage; to make sure that you’re definitely dealing with a septic tank issue, you should hire a plumber to inspect your plumbing system for clogs. But if the smell is coming from your lawn, it is almost definitely a sign of a septic tank system that needs pumping.

3. Sewage Backup

Foul smells are difficult enough to deal with. Septic systems backing up and leaving sewage in your drains. This is more likely to happen first with bathrooms on your home’s lower level, as this will be closer to your septic systems themselves.

It’s important that if this happens, you don’t attempt to fix the problem or even clean it yourself. Sewage contains hazardous bacteria, and you should call a plumber immediately instead. Remember that most septic tanks need to be cleaned every three to five years, and that if this kind of maintenance isn’t done you could be putting yourself and your family in harm’s way.

4. Waiting Too Long to Pump

When you buy a home with a septic tank, inquire as to how often your specific tank should be pumped. If you wait too long in between pumps, you shouldn’t be surprised if you begin dealing with issues like those mentioned above.

Maintaining a septic tank requires time and effort, but it can also save you money and offer you more control over your plumbing system. Just make sure that you have the details about your septic tank correct, and don’t neglect necessary maintenance.