Septic system troubleshooting: the easy way to help you

Septic systems can represents a big problem for your house if they are not working properly. Here you have some practical rules to avoid bigger problems and also how to diagnose them early:

  1. Check the capacity of your septic tank: normally residential septic tanks range from 1,000 – 2,000 gallons, with the great majority of them being 1,500. So, they are easy to be filled up by liquid. A family of 4 people normally spend 150 gallons of water per day – so in 10 days your septic tank will be full, and the water will have to flow to the distribution box and then to the leach field. With no problems in the way a septic tank like this one here has to be drained every 18-24 months depending on your use
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Diagram of a septic system (Photo credit: click here)

2. Don’t throw away solid waste in your sink / toilets: paper towel that are specific for septic tanks are available in the market, and you have to use just this type. If you have an in sink garbage disposal take care not to put meat and egg shelves on it. They can clog the filter in the tank.

3. If your grass are very green close to the septic access riser you probably have water from the sink in the ground – normally this is more visible during the spring and summer time, and it is a signal that the grass is being “fertilized” by the components of the waste material coming from the sink.

4. Toilet and drain backup – this is normally a late phase of a problem. Before that other signs were missed by yourself. Odor and liquid flushing near the riser is normally present before you notice a backup water in your sink or toilet. Call a service as soon as possible to pump your septic – they will also clean the filter, that is normally the problem if the septic system is a new one.

5. Distribution box problems: remember to check the trees close to the system. The tree roots could be blocking one or more pipes, or even the entire D-box sometimes. Remove roots and seal joints where roots entered if possible. Remember that an uneven D-box will not effect leach bed as severely, because water will find its own level through stone.