septic system problems - installation of septic tank

7 Signs of Problems With Your Septic System

There are many reasons for your septic system problems, and it’s best to know these 7 signs before they impose a risk to your property. 

But first, let’s start by understanding how your septic system works. It will help you understand the problems more clearly.

How Does a Septic System Work?

Your septic system disposes of the wastewater from the shower, sink, and toilet. The sewage network is made of a septic tank and drain-field disposal facilities.

An inlet pipe couples with your home’s plumbing system, while an outlet line connects the tank with the drain field’s distribution box. Wastewater enters the drain field pipes and goes into the gravel bed, then the soil soaks all the material.

septic system problems - diagram of residential system
This diagram points out the main sections of your septic system. Statistics show that 20% of all properties in the United States use septic systems. When faulty, they release methane and fecal organisms, which are dangerous for any living creature.

How Much Does a Septic Tank Replacement Cost?

To replace a septic tank costs $7500 (on average). Your best bet is to prevent any problems from occurring in the first place. It’s far easier on your wallet to take care of your drainage network and maintain your sewage system to avoid such an overtime investment. 

7 Signs of Septic System Problems

These are the 7 most common symptoms that your septic system fails. Call a reliable plumber if you notice any of the following issues on your property. The expert follows a code to inspect your plumbing network and finds the root of the problem.

  1. Gurgling sounds in your sink, toilet and pipes show that your septic tank has an underlying problem. Maybe there is a clog in your inlet line because of a faulty drainfield.
  2. Your sink or bathroom drains take forever to empty out if there is a blockage in the waste line between your house and the septic tank.
  3. The above often goes with water that backs up through your plumbing fixtures. It’s a messy sight to see when the wastewater returns through the toilet and your kitchen drain.
  4. Sewage water collects on the surface above your leach field when the tank overfills. This also happens when excess seals the gravel pit. A large amount of bacteria forms a “biomat” that clogs your distribution box and drainfield pipes.
  5. This isn’t the type of pond you’ll enjoy bathing in.
  6. When your drainfield cannot collect more wastewater because of an obstruction, the grass above gets the saturated bright green colour.
  7. A bad odour of rotten eggs and sewage often comes with the rest of the signs. The dirty water that gathers in your plumbing system has an unpleasant smell that reminds of a shabby public toilet.
septic system problems - wastewater soaked lawn
A septic system problem can lead to serious health issues. To avoid acute costs, it’s important to contact an expert if you think that your septic network fails. Nothing good comes from a water source full of sewage waste.

Reasons for Failing Septic Systems

There are certain maintenance rules that you must follow to prevent any damage to your home. Your insurance won’t cover as much as you’d like, so it’s best to know the culprit behind your sewage problems. 

It’s pretty normal to drop a thing or two in the toilet. The issue arises when you flush the item down your sewage pipe. Whether it’s a small toy or a smartphone, getting it out costs both time and money.

The list of items is long, from baby wipes to cigarettes, all these clog your pipes and damage your septic system. Not to mention the excessive cooking oil that you’ve just poured down the drain. 

septic safe toilet paper - toilet paper clog
Even your toilet paper accumulates and causes issues unless it has a “septic safe” label. Overall, try to flush nothing more than human waste and toilet paper, if the label allows for it.

9 Common Causes of Septic System Failure

Here are 9 causes of failure and how to avert them:

  1. There is a clog in the inlet pipe that connects your house’s plumbing system to the septic tank. Your drains empty out at a slow pace when this tube is full of debris or congealed fat. A professional plumber can unclog the line with a drain snake and inspect your pipes for a little to no cost.
  2. A blockage in your inlet baffle occurs when foreign objects get into your drainage system. This part of your septic system slows down the water and assures that your tank operates as intended. Try to access your inlet baffle opening and remove any debris with a pole. Experienced contractors can do the job and prevent the risk of damages.
  3. When there’s a clog in your outlet baffle, the wastewater backs up through your plumbing network and re-enters your home. Sometimes, sewage waste can even form a small pond above your septic tank. A pro empties the tank and investigates for errors to avoid damages. Your best bet is to schedule an annual inspection.
  4. If there’s excessive waste buildup, your drainfield fails and pollutes the soil and nearby water sources. The telltale signs are standing waters and saturated areas above your tank and septic gravel bed. One characteristic of a faulty drainfield is a bad scent.This problem occurs when the system operates the wrong way or it’s used for a long time. A drainfield stores a certain quantity of waste before it gets obsolete.
  5. In some cases, the poor drainage of your septic system accumulates for many problems. A dense soil and strong clay material cannot absorb your processed waste. To that, check your water flow, as hydraulic overload happens when excessive water enters your drainage system. The excessive water flow comes when your water pressure is too high. A qualified specialist can analyze your plumbing and guarantee for a solution.
  6. Inappropriate sitting of your drainfield is yet another concern. There should be a distance of at least 15 meters between the components of the septic system and nearby water sources. In addition, there are certain requirements when your property sits on a slope with a 4,5-meter vertical rise.Equally important, tree roots often pierce through septic systems and cause damage to your drainfield.
  7. There are many unskilled plumbers out there and amateur septic system installation is a common issue. Before you book a service, it’s crucial to find a reliable plumber near you.
  8. Never skip the annual inspection of your septic system no matter how busy you are. The survey measures the amount of waste and sludge layers in your tank and drainfield. A septic service expert determines if it’s time to pump out the excess and renew any components.
  9. The ground above your septic tank and leach field isn’t the place to park your car. Choose another place to practice your driving skills, unless you plan on spending a fortune on repairs.
Your house insurance won’t cover all the damages, caused by problems with your septic system. It’s good to know the signs of failure and what policies cover your damages.

Final Thoughts

Your septic system accounts for plenty of problems and even the smallest sign of an issue is crucial. It needs to be looked at immediately. We hope this article has been a good start in getting you to understand how a septic system works and the problems you might face.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need help with any off-the-grid or septic system issues.

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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