Did you ever wonder where the water goes after flushing the toilet or washing your hands over the sink? Well, the water runs down the pipes to your septic tank. Septic tanks are the ones responsible for eliminating your home’s waste. It filters and cleans the water before it returns to nature.

You probably assumed that it is slimy, grease, and all kinds of dirty. You are absolutely right. In the septic tanks, the filtering process breaks down the solid materials however, some sinks down to the bottom of the tank forming a sludge that can accumulate over time. 

If you do not take care of your septic tank, it will be a big problem for you. So know your tank and be aware of the signs where you need to empty it.

Know your Septic Tank

It is important to know what type of septic tank you have. Different septic tanks would also have differences in how to be maintained. The most common for homes is a simple residential septic tank but there are several types like a conventional, chamber, drip distribution, mound, recirculating sand filter, evapotranspiration, constructed wetland, and a community septic system. Homeowners should also know where their system is located. Knowing the structure will help in maintaining it.

When should you empty your septic tank?


Usually, your septic tank needs to be drained every 3-5 years, but it still depends on what type of septic tank you have and its size. Smaller ones need to be drained much more often. Sometimes even though it is still long before the next schedule draining, you might see signs where you need to clean out your septic tank.

With that being said, here are some signs that can help tell you when your septic tank needs to be drained.

Overflowing Water 

One of the most obvious signs you should drain the tank is when it is already overflowing. This sign is one of the most obvious and worst to experience for homeowners since this will also cause other telltale signs such as sewage back up, water pooling, and foul smell. 

Sewage water backing up inside the house

When you see sewage water – that dirty water – coming back up your sinks or toilets, that is a clear sign your tank needs to be emptied. One of the reasons why the water is backing up inside is because the septic tank is already full. It can’t hold any more waste or water that it is backing up into your home. 

The next possible reason this occurs is when you have blocked pipes. Something is obstructing the flow. So when water exits your sinks or when you flush your toilets, it is not able to get to the septic tank in the first place. 

You can do some things to prevent sewer backup. By taking care of your water pipes, you can prevent blocked pipes. Be mindful of the solid wastes you dispose of in the sink and avoid flushing solid materials like tissues, sanitary napkins, and diapers in the toilet. These result in clogging your pipes which gives you bigger problems.   

You should also be mindful of how much water you use. Sometimes the tank needs breaks and having short showers and skipping laundry for a day will help.

Lush greens near your septic tank 

What a great view, seeing some lush green grass and maybe some trees and shrubs surrounding your home’s septic tank, right? Ummm…not really! This view can be dangerous. 

Roots from trees could be reaching down to the pipes and underground tanks since roots normally look for water sources. When roots reach the pipes, there is a possibility that it damages the pipe where dirt can enter and flow into the septic tank or backflow to your homes. This can also cause the pipes to be destroyed.

Avoid having trees near your septic tank. If you really want to have trees, know how long their roots grow and be aware of where you should plant them.  

Unusual healthy lawn 

When you seem to have an unusual healthy lawn, that could be a warning and a bad sign. When the septic pipes are broken, water waste leaks and acts as a fertilizer making your lawn look green and healthy. This is why you should regularly have your system checked to avoid pipe leakage.  

Pooling water in your lawn

You usually see this sign when there is heavy rainfall. When there is excessive water along the drain field of the septic tank, this means the tank is full. There is a lot of solid waste accumulated in your tanks that stop them from collecting water.

It is a possibility that it is just because of the heavy rains that caused your system a hard time removing the water pool but if it is still there for a while, your septic tank is to blame.

Water drains slowly

You might observe that when you use your sink or showers the water is not going down the drain immediately. Slow drainage is a sign that something is going with your septic tank. There may be something blocking the pipes, making it harder for the water to flow. 

Septic tanks have bacterial colonies that aid in the filtration process. It is suggested that you use natural ways to unclog your drainages since strong chemicals can ruin the enzymes and bacteria that actually keeps your pipes healthy. 

Bad Odor

This symptom is bothersome. No one wants a smelly home! But with a septic tank full of wastes, your home will surely smell like sewage. Usually, other telltale signs will be accompanied by a bad odor. So when you smell it, that is already a clear sign to get your septic tank cleaned and emptied.

Having a healthy septic tank is important in keeping your home safe and healthy. Prevent yourself from having a headache and have your septic tanks regularly emptied. And if you ever encountered these telltale signs, you know what to do… drain and empty that tank!