How To Prevent & Diagnose A Clogged Septic System

Posted on: 12 January 2015

Taking care of your septic tank is very important. Failure to do so can be potentially embarrassing and quite costly if the issue escalates. The following is a guide that will help you diagnose common issues and keep your septic tank running smoothly. 

Keep Your Septic Tank Running

Your septic tank is built of many different components. It's best to have a specialist, like American Pumping Service, go over each of these parts with you. One of the most important components is the good bacteria that feeds off of waste materials.

Problems arise when items that the bacteria cannot dissolve get into the system. This is how your septic tank may get clogged. The following tips will help you avoid clogs:

  1. Be conservative with your water usage. Water is both a friend and a foe to the bacteria in your septic tank. The science is easy; too much water will drown and wash away the bacteria in your tank. Just enough water will nourish the bacteria and help them keep on working. 
  2. Do not pour harsh chemicals down your septic system, such as vehicle-related chemicals, oils, or paints. You can use normal household cleaning chemicals, but remember that less is more. You can also just switch to natural cleaning solutions.
  3. Keep grease from entering your septic system. Grease is very hard to break down, and the bacteria in your system are simply not strong enough to break it down. And, just to be on the safe side, do not dump any item or liquid that is not biodegradable into your tank.

You can talk to your septic tank specialist about any other items that you should be careful with.

Signs That Your Septic Tank Is Clogged

No matter how much you prepare, a clog may still occur. Here are some signs that may indicate that you have a problem:

  • If you notice unpleasant smells (usually gas-like) coming from the septic tank cover. This is probably the easiest way to diagnose a clog since smells can also come from inside the wall or the septic vent pipe
  • If you notice that water and other liquids are draining slower than normal
  • If you hear gurgling sounds whenever the toilet is flushed 
  • If you have backups (signs of both a clogged tank and/or line)

You will need septic tank servicing should you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms. If you need service, do not let the issue escalate, as the repair cost will go up! 

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