If you haven't had to pump the septic tank in your new home yet, you may be anxious about the tank getting too full. Since you can't actually see the tank, you don't know what's going on inside it until the contractor removes the lid or until you suddenly have a clog or overflow. If you're concerned that it's been too long since your tank was pumped, call a contractor to measure the contents and pump the tank early if needed. Here are some things to know about septic tank pumping.
Recognize Signs The Tank Is Overdue For Cleaning
It's best to have the tank pumped out on an established schedule rather than wait until the tank is too full. When the tank gets too full, waste can enter the drainfield and cause clogs, or sewage can back up in the yard or even back up in your house. Signs that indicate your tank is too full include when the toilet gets slow to empty after a flush, when wet spots develop in your yard not caused by rain, and when you notice a sewer odor on your property.
Calculate How Often To Pump The Tank
When you have the tank pumped, the contractor should be able to estimate when pumping is due again based on a few factors. The size of the tank is an important consideration. You may not know the size for sure, but you can estimate it based on local building codes that require a specific size tank based on the number of bedrooms in your home.
The contractor takes the size of the tank and figures in whether you have a garbage disposal and how many people live in your home. If your home has multiple bedrooms and you live alone, the tank should be large enough that you can go longer before pumping the tank than if you have a large family living with you.
Mark The Tank So You Know Where It Is
The contractor has to go through the trouble of finding the tank lid which might be buried under the ground unless you mark the tank and location of the lid. Knowing exactly where the tank is helps you keep trees away from the tank so roots won't be a problem. Plus, you won't accidentally build a shed or above-ground pool on top of the tank when you have it clearly marked in your yard.
Let Professionals Handle The Work
Septic tank cleaning has to be done by a professional due to the toxic nature of the contents and fumes. You may not even need to be home at the time. The tank is emptied by placing a hose in the tank that pulls out all the waste and sends it to a tanker truck to be hauled away. The contractor may also clean parts of the tank to make sure no solids or fats made their way to the distribution box and drainfield.
Septic tank pumping only involves pumping out the tank that holds solid waste. The drainfield usually doesn't need any service unless it develops a clog or other problem. At the same time the tank is pumped, the contractor may note problems like a broken lid, bad baffle, or crack in the tank that requires repairs, but as long as the tank is in good shape, after several minutes of pumping, your tank will be empty and ready to fill up over the coming months or years.