How often should Septic Tank be emptied?

Tuesday 29 January 2019

How Often Should Septic Tank Be Emptied?

If you live in a home that has a septic tank, you may be wondering how often your septic tank should be emptied.

Septic tanks are a vital part of residential sewage systems. These tanks are typically constructed from concrete or plastic and they collect sewage and water waste from your home.

Not every home will have a septic tank, these tanks are usually installed where municipal sewer lines are not available. This means that septic systems usually serve rural homes that were built before city sewer lines were created in the area.

Septic tanks can only handle so much sewage, so it is common for homeowners who have one to wonder how often they need to empty their tank.

The answer to this question is not cut and dry, but we will run through common things to look for that indicate that your septic tank needs to be emptied.

Maintaining Your Septic Tank

First things first, you want to make sure that you are properly maintaining and taking care of your septic tank as to not overload it. Maintaining your tank means being sensible with your water usage.

In order to minimize and control your home’s water usage, you should be conscious of how many times you are using your laundry machine per day, making sure you don’t leave any taps running and limiting your time in the bath or shower.

Additionally, maintaining your septic tank means not allowing clog-inducing materials to be flushed down the toilet. Things like chemicals, grease, and oil should all be avoided.

How Often Should Septic Tank be Emptied?

As a general rule, you should only need to empty your septic tank once every three to five years. That being said, the actual frequency will vary depending on your usage and how many people are living in your home.

For larger households, your tank may need to be emptied more frequently. For a home with one person, on the other hand, they may only need to empty their tank every ten years.

Pumping out your septic tank occasionally is essential for reliable operation. A septic tank that is not working properly can pose serious problems for your home, including sewage back up in the drains in your home, or sewage bubbling up from the ground around your tank outside.

Signs That Your Septic Tank Needs to be Emptied

There are a couple of telltale signs that you should be on the lookout for that indicate that your home’s septic tanks need's to be emptied:

1. Your toilet and/or washing machine starts to become sluggish and slow. If your toilet is all of a sudden having troubles flushing properly, you should immediately check your septic tank.

When you flush waste from your home through your pipes and into the septic tank, it separates once it hits the tank. Anything that can be liquified will make its way all the way to the drainage pit. Anything that is heavy will sink to the bottom of the tank where it remains sludge.

When the level of sludge builds up to a point where it threatens to block your tank, it needs to be emptied to prevent serious issues. A sign that your tank is close to the point of being full is slowed toilets and drains in your home.

2. Another more obvious and serious sign that your tank needs to be emptied is when you can visibly see overflow around the surrounding surface outside.

If you experience this unfortunate situation, you will be blatantly aware because there will likely be a very harsh odor. If you experience a backup onto your lawn or in the drains in your home, it is a sign that the tank is blocked and you should call in a plumber immediately to prevent serious damage to your home, septic system, and your bank account.  

Keep in mind that when it comes to septic tanks, prevention is key. Rather than waiting for there to be a problem, set up a schedule to have your tank emptied every few years depending on your usage and household size.

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