Common Septic Tank Problems and Their Symptoms

Posted on: 6 July 2015

When a septic tank needs repairs, it's best that this job be done as quickly as possible, to avoid backups, leaks, and other major damage. It's also best if those repairs are done by a professional, as septic tanks can be very dangerous due to their fumes and potential leaks. Unfortunately, some septic tank owners don't know the common signs of needed repairs that should be done to their tanks and may put off repairs for as long as possible. Note a few common septic tank problems and their symptoms so you know to call for repairs as soon as possible.

1. Backups

When you don't have your septic tank emptied and treated regularly, sludge builds up inside and along the pipes. In turn, you may see backups into the toilets in the home. When toilets regularly overflow or have problems flushing, this is often a sign of sludge build-up and the resultant backup. Treatments that help to break down the sludge and keep pipes flowing can help, but having the tank emptied and cleaned regularly is usually the best solution.

2. Leaks

When a drain line has broken or there are breaks along the connectors to pipes and lines, the septic tank will leak. One of the most common signs of this type of leak is your yard forming puddles. The moisture from the septic tank makes its way to your yard's topsoil so that the soil becomes muddy and damp. 

It's good to hire a professional with a camera apparatus that can be lowered into the system in order to find the source of the leak. Septic dye can also help to pinpoint the area of the leak, as it may not originate where you notice puddles in your yard. The drainage from a septic tank can follow the grade or slope of your property and appear in any area, away from the actual leak.

3. Strong odors

A septic tank has a filter that helps to protect against odours and from the drain field being clogged with too many solids. The filter should be cleaned and replaced often, just like the tank itself. If you overlook this job then you'll notice resultant odours coming from the toilet and even from drains in your home, as they're all connected to the septic system. A cleaning agent can be used on the filter, but note that it needs to be replaced on a regular basis in order to avoid those harsh smells and to keep your septic system working as it should.