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Septic System Failure – Troubleshooting & Prevention

November 24, 2023

The importance of septic maintenance is often overlooked until we face an unpleasant surprise – like a sewage backup or costly repairs. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In this post, we’ll be going over some of the most common issues from perforated pipes to failed systems due to misuse.

We’ll also be going over different types of plumbing systems, as well as the fascinating world of biomat.

What’s the difference between septic systems and public sewers? Are there septic system failure remedies? For the answers, be sure to read the rest of the post!

Common Causes For a Failed Septic System

A failing septic system can turn your home into an unsanitary mess. Here are some of the most common scenarios.

The Impact of Household Chemicals

septic system failure troubleshootingCommon household chemicals are one reason for failure. They disrupt the natural processes within the entire septic system, leading to untreated sewage and excessive water issues.

You also need to watch what goes down the drain. Non-biodegradable items like baby wipes or feminine hygiene products don’t break down easily and can easily clog up the works. Food particles from garbage disposals can also add undue stress on your conventional septic system.

If you’ve accidentally flushed chemicals or other items into your septic system, you may have disrupted the digestive bacteria balance. Septic tank additives like ACTIVE Septic Tank Treatment supplement the natural bacteria inside the tank and can help restore it to the proper level.

Your washing machine could be another culprit if not used responsibly. For example, excessive water usage from doing the laundry can overwhelm the tank’s capacity – especially during winter months when the ground may be frozen, affecting normal drainage.

Remember – a well-maintained plumbing system isn’t just about keeping your house clean; it’s also about being environmentally friendly by treating waste effectively before releasing it back into nature.

Locating the Septic Tank Lid

Don’t worry if you’re trying to locate the septic tank lid; it can be as simple as looking for small holes in your yard that hint at its location.

Depending on the type of system, the tank lid size may also differ in size or depth.

For those who are having trouble locating the lid, a professional septic service could save you time and energy. They use advanced tools to detect tanks without disturbing much of your lawn area. If anything, many homeowners prefer using these services over manual digging methods.

Tips for Finding Your Septic Tank Lid

locating the septic lidThe first step is identifying potential spots where the tank could be located—this typically involves scanning areas with lush green grass or sunken ground patches due to soil settlement over time.

You may also consider any alterations made to your landscape since installing the septic system. For instance, if there was construction work done post-installation, this could potentially affect tank accessibility.

Hiring Professional Services: Is it Worth It?

While DIY efforts are admirable (and sometimes successful), they often prove exhausting and inefficient compared to hiring professionals who have specialized equipment such as electronic locators and probing rods, which makes locating easier while minimizing damage to surrounding vegetation or structures on property.

Professional services ensure safety during excavation operations too – preventing possible injuries caused by accidental falls into uncovered tanks.

Different Types of Septic Tanks

There are several types of systems, each of which has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at them below.

On-site Septic Systems

An on-site septic system is a popular choice for rural properties not connected to municipal sewage lines. This setup treats waste naturally and locally but requires regular maintenance.

septic tank failed preventionThese systems use drain fields (also known as leach fields) from which effluent from the tank percolates into the ground. It’s an environmentally friendly way to manage household waste, returning water back into local ecosystems after it has been adequately treated within your property boundaries.

However, this convenience comes with responsibility – improper care can lead to unpleasant outcomes such as untreated sewage surfacing in your yard or backing up into your house.

To avoid these issues, routine inspection and pumping are needed. For less common system types like cluster/community septic setups serving multiple homes or buildings might need more frequent attention due to shared usage.

  • Adequate maintenance helps keep all components working correctly
  • Routine inspections detect potential problems early on before they escalate further
  • Pumping prevents solids buildup which could cause clogs or overflows if left unchecked

Understanding Septic System Biomat

A septic system biomat is an integral part of any home’s septic system. This organic layer (aka ‘septic tank sludge’) forms at the bottom and sidewalls of your drain field trenches, thanks to a combination of beneficial bacteria and organic material.

This bacterial mat plays a crucial role in treating wastewater before it returns to the environment. As water flows from your tank into the drain field, this dense layer filters out harmful substances while letting treated water pass through.

In some cases, however, they can become too thick due to excessive solid waste or lack of maintenance, leading to problems like slow draining or even backup into your house.

Maintaining Your Biomat Layer

  • You need regular servicing for good working order– don’t wait until winter months when frozen ground makes access tough
  • Make sure you’re energy efficient in your water usage to maintain the correct water level

Follow these steps and it’ll ensure that your entire system is working properly. In doing so, it’ll protect your home and community from harmful diseases.

Differences Between Septic Systems and Public Sewers

differences between septic system and public sewersNot all waste management systems are equal in terms of how they handle household refuse. While both septic systems and public sewers treat human waste, their methods differ greatly.

A key distinction lies in where the treatment process occurs. With on-site septic systems, this happens right in your backyard. But with public sewers, waste is whisked away to a central facility for processing.

This difference also influences environmental impact. On-site septic tanks rely on natural processes which can be more environmentally friendly than centralized sewer treatments that often use chemicals.

In fact, one of the benefits of using a septic system is its reliance on nature’s own methods to treat organic waste.

Maintenance Requirements Vary Too

Another major difference between these two options pertains to maintenance requirements.

Generally speaking, septic tank pumping is needed every 3-5 years, depending on usage whereas municipal sewer lines require less frequent individual homeowner attention as maintenance falls largely under local government responsibility.

Sewage backing up into homes or yards is usually an issue homeowners deal with when connected to city sewage networks but rarely if they have private septics – unless there’s been neglecting regular servicing of their system.

The Cost Factor

Cost plays a large role too. Installing a new septic system may seem expensive initially compared to hooking up onto existing municipal infrastructure.

However, long-term maintenance costs for public sewers can end up being more due to regular utility fees. Plus, well-maintained septic systems have a good chance of lasting many years – offering you an excellent return on investment.

Caring for a Septic Leach Field

Your leach field, also known as the drain field, plays a vital role in your home’s septic system.

But with heavy rainfall, it can cause issues like flooding. Don’t worry, though, you can prevent these issues with routine maintenance.

Preventing Flooding in Your Leach Field

Flooding isn’t just an inconvenience; it could spell disaster for your septic tank and overall system.

Proper drainage is key to prevent this issue. How do you achieve that? Start with good landscaping practices around the area of your leach field – make sure there are no deep-rooted trees or plants near it as they might damage the pipes.

You also want to make sure that the gutters aren’t directing water towards the drain field during those downpour days. If necessary, get professional help to redesign gutter flow away from this crucial area.

Conserving Water to Protect Your Leach Field

conserving water to protect leach fieldAnother effective way to safeguard your leach field is by conserving water at home. It’ll put less strain on the septic system, which will help keep it in good working order.

  • Avoid running appliances like dishwashers and washing machines simultaneously – spread out their use throughout the day instead
  • Fix any leaking faucets or toilets immediately – even small leaks can add up
  • If possible, upgrade old appliances with more energy-efficient models which typically use less water too

Septic System Failure Remedies – FAQs

How often do most septic tanks need to be emptied?

Tanks usually get pumped every 3-5 years, but it can vary based on size and usage.

What should you not put in a septic system?

Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items, chemicals, oils or fats. They can disrupt the tank’s natural process.

How long does it take for a septic tank to be full?

A typical family home fills its tank in around 1-2 years. But remember: ‘full’ doesn’t mean it needs emptying right away.

Is there a 10 acre septic exemption in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, properties larger than ten acres may qualify for certain exemptions from standard sanitation rules.

What causes Septic system fails?

A number of things can cause your septic and plumbing system to fail – from household chemicals to excessive water usage.

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Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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