How to Know When it Might Be Time for a Septic Tank Replacement

According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 16% of new homes built in 2017 had septic systems. The areas with the most septic systems are New England with 43%.

Also called cluster systems or onsite wastewater treatment systems, septic systems treat wastewater. They are installed and used in areas where the public sewer system does not reach–usually in rural areas.

Plumbing systems are a vital part of our life that we don’t have to think about too much–until they fail. Suddenly, you’re scrambling and dealing with sewage odor and backed-up pipes.

Before that happens, you want to be on the lookout for signs that your plumbing system is failing.

Want to learn more? Check out this article to learn about when it might be time for a septic tank replacement.

Your Septic Tank Is Old

One thing to note is the age of your septic tank system. When does a septic tank need to be replaced? A septic tank lasts anywhere from 15 to 40 years depending on several factors.

One factor is the material used for the septic tank. A concrete tank will last longer than a steel tank.

Another major factor is how much you take care of your septic system. You need to pump your septic tank regularly. Your pumping schedule will depend on the number of people in your home, the amount of wastewater, and the size of your tank.

If your septic system is 40 years or older, and you’re noticing other signs, it might be time for a replacement.

Clogged Drains

Are you noticing some strange things happening with your drains?

One sign of septic system failure is sewage and water coming out of your toilet and sink drains. You may also notice that your sinks appear clogged or the water is draining slowly. Other things you might notice are gurgling sounds in the pipes.

Backed up drains can be a sign of septic tank failure. However, it can also just be a sign that a pipe is clogged. The only way to know for sure is to contact a professional.

Puddles of Water

Another sign of septic tank failure is the presence of puddles of water in your yard. You would see the puddles of water surrounding the septic tank.

This may be a sign that your septic system can’t efficiently get rid of water. The water ends up escaping wherever it can, like around your drain field.

Standing water can also be a sign of a problem with the drain field. If the drain field becomes saturated with too much water, it can overflow.

Bad Smells

Do you find yourself covering your nose around your drains or outside near your septic tank? That could be another telltale sign that you have to replace your septic tank.

The foul odor could be sewage or sewage water coming out of your septic system. Bad smells are usually linked with sink and drain backups. If you see and smell the combination of clogged drains and a bad odor, you’ll want to get that checked out.

Patches of Green Grass

Is your yard looking greener than usual, but in patches? If wastewater is overflowing, it can reach your yard and fertilize sections of your grass. You’ll notice patches of bright green and lush grass surrounding your septic tank.

Septic System Failure

With the proper design, installation, and maintenance, septic systems are efficient at treating wastewater. However, with improper maintenance, septic tank failure can result in major issues.

What is the result of a septic system failure? When a septic system fails, untreated sewage and water flood the system.

With nowhere to go, the untreated wastewater ends up going in your home through the pipes and drains. It also goes up and out of the septic tank, which can result in puddles of standing water or patches of bright green grass.

Another complication is the untreated water pollutes groundwater, surface waters, and coastal waters. This contaminates the groundwater and surface waters with pathogens and nitrates.

What’s more, in coastal areas, the pathogens can pollute shellfish beds and beaches.

Tips for Your Septic System

Regular maintenance is needed to ensure your septic system works properly and to catch septic tank failure before it happens. Here are some tips to maintain your septic system.

Inspect Your System Regularly

A regular inspection can reduce the risk of septic tank failure. A professional can assess and determine what your system needs–whether its a septic tank pump replacement or you need to pump your tank.

Your septic tank pumping schedule will depend on how much water your household uses and how often you fill your tank. With regular inspections, you can take care of any issues before they become major problems.

Don’t Flush Foreign Objects Into Your Septic System

Make sure not to flush anything down your toilet except toilet paper. Items such as baby wipes, household wipes, or other foreign objects can clog your septic system.

Any solid item can clog your septic system, including food particles from a garbage disposal. You should also be wary of pouring household chemicals down your drain. The strong chemicals can end up killing the bacteria needed to run your septic system efficiently.

Be Water Conscious

By being water conscious, you can extend the life of your septic system. By saving water, you fill-up the septic tank less frequently.

You can make small changes that help you use less water. For example, turn off the running sink while brushing your teeth. Another tip is to fix leaks or running toilets, which can waste water quickly.

Septic Tank Replacement: Contact a Professional

It’s difficult to know whether the above signs mean you need a full septic system replacement or if you need repairs. The only way to know for sure is to contact a professional.

By contacting a professional, you can have someone inspect your septic system and figure out the issue.

Are you experiencing any of the above issues, and need to know whether you need a septic tank replacement? Contact our knowledgable staff to learn more about our services.

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