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Many homes in Chattanooga, TN have septic systems, which means if you move into the area you will need to learn about proper septic tank maintenance. To a new homeowner who hasn’t had to contend with a septic tank before this can seem intimidating, but in reality, septic tank pumping and maintenance is only as complicated as you let it be. Learning the benefits and signs of when you need to call someone for septic tank pumping is half of the battle. It isn’t too hard to keep your wastes flowing outside of your home once you get used to your alternative sewage system.
How often you end up needing septic tank pumping in Chattanooga, TN depends heavily on the size of your septic tank and the size of your household. Homes that consume more water will need to have their tank pumped more often than homes that don’t. Properly staying ahead of the pumping process helps avoid unnecessary damage to your septic tank and saves you a lot of money down the line. It also prevents you from ever experiencing a backup- which you will never forget if it happens to you. The following is a quick guide to septic tank systems and how to discern if it is time to call a plumber for pumping or repair.
Common Signs It Is Time for Septic Tank Pumping
While most plumbing companies will recommend that you schedule septic tank pumping every two to three years, it can change based on your plumbing usage. Right now a lot of people are spending much more time in their Chattanooga, TN home than usual, which means they are relying on their septic tank more than usual. It is a good idea to pay attention to signs your septic tank may be giving you that you need to have it pumped sooner than later. It can save you a lot of trouble to schedule proactive septic tank pumping instead of waiting for an obvious overflow.
Slow Moving Drains
If you notice that your drains are starting to slow down this can be a sign that the septic tank is getting full and your system is on its way towards a backup. Most people notice sluggish drains in the sink or the shower when water starts pooling while they are still using the fixture. However, any drain can be considered slow-moving if you notice it is not working as effectively as before.
Some people notice that their toilets start flushing slower than before or only partially flushes the first time. If you only notice this in one sink or fixture then it may be an isolated clog that is not related to your septic system, but if you notice it in multiple areas of your home then it is time to call for septic tank pumping right away before this turns into a much more disgusting issue. Usually, if your septic tank is to blame you will notice this on lower levels of your home first and then the second level, given the laws of gravity.
Unusually Bright Patches of Grass Over the Drain Field
In theory, your yard should all be one consistent color, whether that is brown or green usually depends on how much precipitation you have been getting in Chattanooga, TN. Therefore, if you notice that only the lawn above the drain field looks green and lush you probably have a problem. It’s great news if your entire yard looks amazing, but if only the patch near the drain field does there is probably a leak that is allowing this area to get extra nutrients.
Unfortunately, the extra nutrients that are feeding the patch can be extremely smelly, hazardous, and a sign that your drain field is malfunctioning. Sometimes extra liquid wastes can be slipping out because the septic tank is overflowing and you need to call for septic tank pumping. Other times there is a serious issue with the system that is compromising the drain field. Either way, you need a plumber to come to investigate the issue to get to the bottom of it sooner than later.
Speaking of odors, you should never smell human wastes either inside or outside of your home when you walk by drains or the toilet. However, if your septic tank is getting full the odors may start sleeping upwards because there is no room in the tank for them to hang out. If you walk by a drain once and smell something it could be an isolated event, but if you keep smelling a sulfur or sewage smell every time you pass the kitchen sink or wash your hands in the downstairs bathroom you have an issue.
Keep in mind that the bad odors are not always isolated to just your home. On a warm day, the smell might easily be discernible from outside of your home as well. No one wants to enjoy a night out on the patio with their septic tank leaking foul odors, and your neighbors are likely to complain as well. Pay attention to the odors and call for septic tank pumping before the situation gets worse.
Odd Water Pockets in Your Yard
While you are outside sniffing the air to see if your tank is leaking, take a minute to look around your yard for odd water pockets. If it hasn’t rained lately your yard should be relatively dry, but if it’s not this can be another sign that it is time for septic tank pumping. Once a septic tank is full the water has to go somewhere, and usually somewhere in your yard. Water pooling mysteriously in your yard usually indicates that the septic tank is full and needs to be pumped.
If you missed the previous signs, you won’t miss the last one which is a full-fledged backup that occurs in your sewage system. Water will always find a way to get out, but it may not be the path you were hoping for. When your septic tank is full the sewage will return right back out of your drains which means that it will begin pouring out of the sinks in your home and the toilet. At this point not only will you be dealing with the most noxious smell of your life, but you will also have to contend with water damage and cleanup on top of calling for emergency septic tank pumping.
Usually, backups will begin on the first floor of your home because those drains are the closest to the tank, but if you don’t address the problem immediately you could have sewage pouring out of every drain in your home. Once this happens you will not have access to water anywhere in your home because one single flush or hand wash will send sewage back out of another drain in your home.
Benefits of Staying Ahead of Septic Tank Pumping
Now that you know all of the signs that it is time to call for septic tank pumping, it is time to discuss the benefits of staying on track with a regular pumping program. Just because your sewage system has the potential to backup doesn’t mean it will if you keep a regular pumping program and pay attention to your system. Keep in mind that homes with a sewage system that connects to the city sewage lines can also experience clogs and backups so there is no real solution to avoiding a backup outside of paying attention and keeping solid septic tank pumping habits. Here are the benefits of staying on track.
Stop Damage Before It Happens
While no one wants a sewage backup into their home, a backup is not the only thing that you should worry about when it comes to your septic tank. Septic tank systems are not cheap, so you want to practice smart septic tank maintenance. When your septic tank is working as it should all excess waste and water will be removed via the pumping service. This removes articles that otherwise might clog your drain field or clog the line into your home leading to disgusting backups. Fewer clogs mean a healthy septic system which means one that will last longer.
Save Yourself Money
As you might guess, a septic tank that is working properly will not need to be replaced or repaired as often, which means you save money. Paying for an occasional septic tank pumping is much better than paying to replace your system long before it is due to be. It also saves you from property damage which is one more way that you save money. In addition, paying for an emergency repair or pumping will cost you a lot more than just paying for the same service when it is required. Even if you call to have someone pump out your septic tank and it is not completely full it is better to have a fresh tank than a full tank.
Increase the Property Value of Your Home
If you decide to sell your home down the line, it will be a lot more desirable to a buyer who can see that you properly maintained it. A septic tank that is functioning well with a set of service records that show even and constant septic tank pumping will be much more appealing than a septic tank with a questionable history. Just like the age of the HVAC system or other home appliances, a potential buyer has to factor in the costs of a septic tank and whether or not the system is likely to need to be replaced in the coming years before deciding they can afford your home. This regular pumping is just one more way that you can increase your property value which should be a goal of all property owners in Chattanooga, TN.
Reduce the Risk of Property Damage
Speaking of property damage and ruining the value of your property, a full septic tank will become clogged and allow wastewater to seep into the ground all over the property. Do you want to live on land that is covered in sewage wastes? It’s a pretty safe bet the answer to that question is no, and neither does anyone else. Not only is sewage wastes a hazard, but it can leak into the ground and possibly contaminate groundwater or wells.
The only thing worse than seeing and smelling wastewater throughout your property is tasting it in your water supply. This is probably the absolute nightmare of any homeowner with a septic tank, but it is easily avoidable. There is no reason why this has to happen in a home where regularly scheduled septic tank pumping is carried out like clockwork.
To avoid all of these risk factors, simply schedule your septic tank pumping at the first notice of any of the above-mentioned signs or every two to three years to be safe. In addition, it is recommended that most homeowners with a septic tank schedule a maintenance visit once a year. During this visit, the plumber will check out the overall condition of your septic tank, look for signs of corrosion and/or damage, and ensure there are no clogs forming. This simple one-year check is the best way to ensure that things are working correctly in your septic system so that you never have to deal without anything remotely messy in your home or yard.
Ready to schedule your septic tank pumping or septic tank maintenance visit in Chattanooga, TN? Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air is happy to help. Give us a call today and we can talk about the overall health of your septic system and get you on a pumping and maintenance schedule that will help keep your septic system healthy for years to come.