Septic maintenance is one of those things a lot of homeowners like to put off but the reality is this: a tank on your properly is your responsibility. It’s not the most pleasant topic that comes to mind, and it’s easy to forget about, tucked below ground and out of sight. A working tank shouldn’t need to be a daily concern after all. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore your septic system for years. Over time, small leaks or clogs can cause serious issues if left unaddressed. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to mark your calendar every six months or so for a routine spot check of your system’s performance. Take fifteen minutes out of your day NOW to save yourself hours of headache later. Let’s explore some easy ways to check the health of your septic system.
What’s that bad smell?
Head outside where your tank is buried and stand near it. If you smell any foul odors, it might be time for an inspection. The most common smell homeowners complain of is sulphur - which smells like rotten eggs. Smelly septic tanks are never a good sign. A healthy, well-maintained tank will keep your waste water well contained, while a leaking tank will leech waste into the surrounding soil. The same goes for indoor odors. If you start to notice the smell of rotten eggs in your house, there’s a very good chance there’s a problem with your septic system. Trust your nose!
Why is the ground above my tank wet?
Next, look carefully at the soil around your tank site. Note any puddles or sogginess. Saturated ground could mean your tank is clogged or not draining properly. Your tank could be taking wastewater in from your house successfully but failing to pump it out for treatment which is why it’s important to head outside and look around every so often. Soggy ground could also be the first warning sign of a leaking tank, which is a septic emergency!
Why does my lawn have green patches?
Here’s a fun tip: look at the grass above and around your tank. If the area looks particularly green and lush compared to the surrounding lawn, the patch is getting extra fertilizer from the escaped nitrates in the soil. If you have a permanent body of water nearby, such as small pond, take note of any unusual algae blooms.
Why are my drains gurgling?
Inside your house, watch how your drains are behaving. Pay particular attention to when you flush your toilet and bathe. If multiple drains are gurgling or taking a long time to drain, this could be a sign that your drain field or tank is full. These signs often come before a full backup, where sewage flows back into your home!
Proactivity is key
If you notice any of the plumbing issues above and aren’t sure if there’s a problem with your septic system, call a professional! Septic system inspections are quick and easy to perform with the proper training and equipment, and it never pays to ignore issues until they come bubbling to the surface, literally!