Signs your septic tank should be pumped

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Mackintosh REALTORS 82894

It is recommended that you have your septic tank pumped at least every three to five years. If you have a large family or utilize more water, you may need to have it pumped more often. The more people use your septic tank, the more frequently it will need pumping.

The EPA recommends that the sludge and scum should be pumped out of your septic tank when the bottom of the floating scum layer is within six inches of the outlet pipe, or, the top of the sunken sludge layer is within 12 inches of it. However, it is impossible to tell if your waste has reached these levels without the help of a professional.  

6 Signs That Your Septic Tank Is Full

Once a septic tank starts showing problems, it’s normally too late for any type of simple, preventative solution. This is a huge reason why regular septic pumping can save you time, money, and protect your family’s health.

#1 The septic tank is draining slow 

The first sign that your septic tank needs to be pumped is slow draining fixtures. Your tubs, toilets, sinks, etc., may seem to drain sluggishly. This is a early warning sign, and if you notice it, get your septic tank pumped before anything worse happens.

#2  Septic odor outside

A sickly odor is another sign that your septic tank may need to be pumped. As the tank fills with seepage, odor-causing gases have nowhere to go and end up wafting up from your drains and drain field. This is a gross and unhealthy problem as breathing in sewage gas can be harmful.

#3 The grass is very green 

Surprisingly, if you have a lush and green lawn above your drain field it could be a sign that your septic tank is overflowing. Waste and effluent that drains out into the drain field acts as a fertilizer, and overly lush grass could be a sign that your drain field is providing extra fertilizer.

#4 Nitrate levels in your water

If you rely on well water, then a higher than normal nitrate level in your water could be a sign that your septic tank is leaking and leaching into your drinking water. It is recommended that homeowners who have well water get their water tested yearly.

#5 Standing water in your yard

“Why is There Standing Water in My Yard?” Standing water can start to pool in a number of places if your septic tank is full. The most telling of these places is around your septic tank and drain field. If you notice standing water, your septic tank needs to be pumped and inspected right away.

#6 Sewage is backing up In your house 

The easiest, and most disgusting, sign that your septic tank needs to be pumped is when raw sewage backs up into your house. This can be a real possibility if you choose to not have your septic tank pumped or checked regularly or if you ignore any of the signs above. Raw sewage is detrimental to the homeowner’s health and clean-up can cost extra time and money.

Some local governments provide information on septic maintenance and in Frederick County Maryland there is a septic system pump-out program that periodically offers a rebate when funds are available.

Comments (6)

Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

This was very helpful Buzz. I just purchased a home with a septic tank & often wondered about when it might need to be pumped out. I love the messages on the back of the trucks 🤣

Feb 12, 2021 01:17 PM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post. Thanks for sharing the valuable information. I hope you have a great weekend.

Feb 12, 2021 02:25 PM
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

These are really true! Thank you for sharing this

Feb 12, 2021 07:07 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

there are a lot more septic tanks around here than one would expect - and this is useful information 

Feb 12, 2021 08:28 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is very helpful information for those with septic tanks, and I love the photos of interesting pumping slogans!

Feb 13, 2021 06:00 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

When listing a house ( with a septic system) , I ask the Sellers when is the last time you had it pumped ? Some tell me “ We never had to do that !” 

Most of our Twp. Have Mandatory Pump Outs every 2 or 3 years

Feb 13, 2021 06:02 AM

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