Your septic system is a critical component of your home that goes unnoticed most of the time. When it is functioning as intended, there is generally little to be concerned about, but problems can arise.
Fortunately, a septic emergency is a rare occurrence if the system has been cared for and maintained properly. However, sometimes unforeseeable problems occur that need to be addressed immediately before they become dangerous.
Do I Need Emergency Septic Service?
Often, signs of septic problems begin to appear slowly over time, but other times there are no prior indications of an issue. Below are a few signs that suggest you may have an emergency situation.
- Sewage backing up into the home through toilets, sinks, tubs, or showers. Sewage smells terrible and can be toxic, so it is important to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.
- If the septic tank alarm is going off, you may need emergency septic tank emptying to reduce the amount of liquid in the tank.
- Gurgling, bubbling, or slow drains may seem like minor inconveniences, but they can be a sign of an overdue septic pumping that could escalate into a more serious problem.
- Sewage overflowing the septic tank is another sign that it may be time for a septic cleaning service.
- Water pooling near the drainfield is a sign that the drainfield is not processing wastewater quickly enough, which could be a drainfield issue caused by a number of different issues.
- For homeowners with freshwater wells, a high concentration of nitrate in drinking water can mean that liquid from the septic system is leaching into the groundwater, causing a dangerous situation for people and animals.
What to Do in a Septic Emergency
If you are experiencing any of the problems outlined above or have reason to believe that your septic system may not be functioning effectively, it is important to address the issue without hesitation. Ignoring a septic issue is a recipe for a larger – and potentially – dangerous situation.
If you have a septic emergency, the steps you should take are simple:
- STOP using any more water until the issue is resolved.
- Call a septic professional immediately.
How to Avoid a Septic Emergency
The most common cause of septic system failure is one that is easily avoided – lack of proper routine care. In fact, the best way to avoid needing emergency septic services is to have inspections, septic tank pumping, and septic cleaning done on a regular basis by a septic professional.
Septic inspections can help identify issues before they become problematic, including leaks in the system, abnormal sludge or scum layers in the septic tank, and non-functioning septic alarms. Visual inspections are recommended annually, with a full inspection at least every three years.
Septic tank pumping involves pumping out the contents of the septic tank, cleaning filters, and making sure the system is operating appropriately. Residential septic tank pumping should be done every three to five years in most cases.
Septic tank cleaning involves removing compacted sludge that may not have been completely removed during septic tank pumping.
These services are a small price to pay for avoiding the unpleasantness and inconvenience of septic problems.
Daily Tips for Using Your Septic System
Additionally, it pays to know the proper things that you as a homeowner can do on a daily basis to take care of your septic system. These include:
Limiting Water Usage
Septic systems are designed to process a certain amount of wastewater based on the size of the home and the expected number of residents. This means that a system designed for a smaller home will likely struggle to process the amount of wastewater produced by a large family or even a group of guests visiting for an extended time.
A few tips to limit water usage include:
- Rather than do all the laundry in one day, spread it out throughout the week. Only do full loads, since the average washer use 30 gallons or more per cycle.
- Only run dishwashers when full; it uses about 25 gallons of water per use.
- Do not run water unless necessary. Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving, and take shorter showers.
- Purchase low-flow toilets and shower heads.
- Check toilets for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring appears in the bowl without flushing, the toilet can be leaking 100 gallons of water per day.
Being Careful about What Goes into the Septic System
Septic systems are designed to process water and human waste, nothing else. Avoid flushing wipes, paper towels, napkins, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, or anything else that could lead to clogs or damage in your septic system.
The bacteria in a septic tank thrive in the specific conditions found there and are effective at processing the wastewater. However, certain products that can get flushed into the system can harm the natural balance by killing or harming the bacteria.
Avoid using antibacterial soaps and strong cleaners too frequently, and minimize the use of bleach. Medications, both prescription and over the counter, can kill bacteria, so it is important to always dispose of them properly and not by flushing.
Garbage disposals can add a lot of waste that can ultimately clog filters in the septic system, so use them sparingly or not at all.
Lakeland Septic and Drainfield Company
From septic emergencies to ongoing septic care, inspection, and installation, Septic and Drainfield Depot can provide the services you need. As one of the top licensed septic companies in central Florida, our skilled technicians provide the reliable, dependable service you deserve.
In addition to residential septic services, we can also handle the unique septic needs of commercial customers, including diagnosing and repairing problems, septic tank cleaning, and emergency grease trap pumping.
We are available 24/7 to handle septic emergencies in Lakeland, Winter Haven, and throughout central Florida. Financing is available to help cover the cost of septic work by spreading it out into affordable monthly payments.
Contact us today for a free estimate.