When Is it Necessary to Replace Your Septic Tank?

One of the main components of a septic system is the tank. These large containers are buried under ground and hold the waste and water from your drains, breaking down solids and releasing effluent to enter a drain field. Installing the septic tank is one of the most labor-intensive projects of building a septic system – it requires digging a large trench, hauling a giant tank onto your property, placing it in the ground and connecting it to all necessary pipes. Replacing a tank is not cheap – which is why most homeowners want to make their tanks last as long as possible.

Longevity of Septic Tanks

Most septic tanks can last for decades – many last 50-70 years or more before they need replacement if they are properly maintained. Many of the older septic tanks were made from concrete, which will eventually deteriorate and crack, but can last for 50 years or more. Most modern septic tanks are made from plastic or fiberglass, which are less prone to leaks and corrosion.

Signs a Septic Tank Needs Replacement

When effluent is able to leak out of the tank, it usually needs to be replaced. It is difficult to patch or repair a septic tank, so complete replacement is the best option. Routine inspections by a septic pro can alert you to leaking issues. Other signs to look for are soil erosion, wet areas, greener grass or sewage odors near your septic tank area.

While replacing a septic tank is a large expenditure, most homeowners will only need it done at the same home once in their lifetime, if at all. Keeping up with scheduled maintenance can help reduce corrosion and extend the life of a septic tank, making it a wise investment.

Posted on behalf of:
Septic Service Pro, LLC
Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(678) 292-8728

Why You Should Install an Indoor Septic Tank Alarm

Do you have an indoor septic tank alarm? If you have a gravity system, you may not need one. Gravity does a great job of emptying your septic tank as needed. As long as you have regular service and inspections to determine when your tank needs to be pumped, you should not have a problem. However, other systems that rely on pumps to push waste out should have an alarm to let you know when there is a problem.

Mound or uphill systems require mechanisms to push waste out of your septic tank as needed. If something should fail or there is a blockage, the tank can quickly become full. If not corrected, the tank will overflow, causing a backup of sewage into your home or business. This can cause extensive damage and cost plenty in cleanup and repairs.

An indoor septic tank alarm alerts you to when the septic tank on your property is at dangerous levels. There can be many reasons the alarm goes off – you may have had excessive use or a piece of equipment is not working as it should. Whatever the cause, the alarm lets you know that there is a problem. Having it installed indoors will let you know as soon as possible when you need to investigate an issue with your septic system.

While it is possible for an alarm to sound when there is not an overflow, this is unlikely. In most cases, if your septic alarm goes off, you should call your local septic service company for an inspection. This can help mitigate the problem before it becomes a septic failure or backup that can cost you much more in repairs.

Posted on behalf of:
Seagraves Plumbing Sewer & Septic
4980 Plant Atkinson Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(494) 792-2221

Is it Possible to Move a Septic Tank?

When a septic system is put in place, it is meant to last for decades. The position of the tank and drain field is carefully designed to best suit the property and building it serves. However, down the road, the property owner may decide that they want to build or make changes to the property. When that happens, the septic tank could be a hindrance.

While it is not a simple task, septic tanks can be moved. This involves digging up the tank, disconnecting pipes and putting in a new tank at a different location. New pipes will need to be added to connect the building with the new tank and to divert waste water to the drain field.

There are considerations that must be factored in when deciding to move a septic tank. Some old cement tanks may not survive the move. They can break or crumble when removed, requiring disposal of the old tank and purchasing a new tank for the revised location. In some cases, a larger tank may be needed, especially if the reason for moving the tank is to make room for additions to the home. For gravity systems, the right amount of downgrade is needed for proper drainage in the pipes leading to and from the tank. Everything will need to be re-fitted and secured once the new tank is in place to ensure proper function.

Before deciding to move a septic tank, have an inspection done by your local septic service and installation pro. They can help you determine the best options for moving your septic tank to accommodate your new project and give you a quote on the moving costs.

Posted on behalf of:
Metro Septic LLC
1210 N Tennessee St
Cartersville, GA 30120
(678) 873-7934

Give Your Septic a Spring Inspection

After a long winter, it is finally spring and time for home maintenance. Although you may be more concerned with planting beautiful flowers or improving your outdoor space, it is important to also do necessary maintenance. Spring is a great time to do a thorough inspection on your septic system to look for any problems that may have been caused by the cold weather or regular wear and tear.

Septic System Inspection Checklist

There are many different components to your septic system that should be inspected at least once per year. This includes looking for issues within the sewer pipes between the home and tank, issues within the tank and inspecting the leech or drain field. As part of your inspection, here is a checklist of areas that should be covered: 

  • Leaks. Check the ground between the home and around the tank for wet areas. These can be signs of leaking sewer pipes or a leak in the tank.
  • Excess effluent. Inspect the drain field for backed up effluent on the surface. Excess effluent can mean that the drain field is no longer viable or that you may have a septic failure.
  • Tank levels. When you inspect the tank, you will be looking at the level of effluent, sludge and scum. If the sludge is high, you may need to schedule a pumping.
  • Tank inspection. If pumping is done, a full inspection can be performed on your tank and system. This should be completed by a septic professional.

Doing an annual inspection can help identify maintenance problems with your septic. If you find any abnormalities, call in your septic service company to do a complete evaluation of your septic.

Posted on behalf of:
Metro Septic LLC
1210 N Tennessee St
Cartersville, GA 30120
(678) 873-7934

Problems With Your Septic System?

A well maintained septic system is one of the best ways to ensure that you will not have to face the expensive cost of extensive repairs and replacement. Make water conservation a conscious effort such as only using the correct size of laundry cycle for the size of your load, spreading that laundry out over a period of several days instead of doing it all at once, using low flow faucet screens and high energy toilets.

It is also a good idea to filter all your washing machine discharge water, as common household lint is non-biodegradable. Make it a stringent household rule that nothing goes into the toilet or out a drain except what is biodegradable, and that includes chemicals. All chemicals should be prohibitive as they can disrupt the natural bacterial breakdown of the household waste in your septic tank. Finally, most importantly, get your septic tank pumped and inspected by your local septic professional every three to five years, or every year if you are using a garbage disposal.

Having done all of the above, how will you know if you are beginning to experience problems with your septic tank? Walk around your property occasionally and take care to notice anything unusual such as pooled, muddy, soil in the area of your tank or drainage field when there hasn’t been any rain. The smell of sewage around your property or in your home would warrant a call to your plumbing or septic professional, as well as frequent back-ups of water in your showers or toilets when doing laundry, etc. Also, having to get your septic tank pumped out too frequently is a sign that it is failing and should possibly be replaced.

What Goes In, Must Come Out – Pump Your Septic Tank

This is good advice to remember for many types of systems, including our digestion, but it is especially important when it pertains to your septic system. Of course, this is not something that most people wish to talk about, much less dwell on; however, if you are a homeowner with a septic system, you will most assuredly want to monitor what goes into that system.

Unfortunately, people who are used to the convenience of city maintained sewer systems are generally unconcerned about what begins a journey in their home drainage piping. The old adage  “out of sight, out of mind,” is definitely applicable here. In most homes with a city sewer system, almost everything seems to be considered “flushable.” Although this should not be the case, it is true that what could safely be disposed of down a sewer system could, eventually, lead to costly repairs and maintenance to your septic system.

The reason for this is, in part, because your septic system, in essence, “sorts” solid waste from liquid waste. The solid waste settles down to the bottom of your septic tank, while the liquid waste is pumped out of the tank into a drainage field. Over time, most of the solid material gets broken down by bacteria; after which, it is also removed to the drainage field. Eventually, though, the remainder of the solid material on the bottom of the tank will build up, requiring a visit by your local septic professional to pump out the septic tank. Therefore, you do not want to flush or pour anything potentially hazardous (like chemicals) or items that are not biodegradable, such as dental floss, feminine hygiene products, diapers, cigarette butts, cat litter, Kleenex, cotton swabs or coffee grounds, condoms and household cleaners, among other things.


Tips for your Septic System

A properly sized and well maintained septic system will usually give good service for 20 to 30 years or more.  Here are a few tips to help your septic system provide years of trouble free service.

  • Make sure that you limit the amount of water that goes into your septic tank. Keep all amount of excess water from getting both in and around your tank. If you notice any standing water around your septic tank, call for the service of a licensed septic system contractor as soon as possible.
  • When you can, use fixtures that are designed to use less water. If any of your toilets or fixtures are known to leak or work inefficiently, have them replaced immediately. This will allow your system to rest in between uses. Heavy use of your system should be followed by extended resting periods.
  • If you own and regularly use a garbage disposal, try to use it only when necessary. Solid matter takes more time to break down, and might even lead to an unnecessary blockage. Any grease should be disposed of in the garbage rather than the drain – grease can also cause clogs, some of them severe. Another thing to make note of is the brand of any softeners or liquid cleaners you use, which can cause scummy buildup in your septic tank.
  • Only use toilet paper that decomposes easily to make sure that your septic system stays clear of any paper-related blockages. When purchasing a brand of toilet or tissue paper, check for brands that advertise as being safe for septic systems.
  • Be careful about what you put down your drains, and make sure that your septic tank is pumped and cleaned on a regular basis. If you have any questions about the maintenance, care and how to extend the life of your septic system, make sure to contact your local septic system professional.

Extending the Life of Your Septic System

If you, like so many others, rely on a septic system instead of a municipal sewer line to dispose of your household waste water,  you should do your best to see that the septic system is maintained in order to work properly. Through the practicing of good habits, you can keep your septic system in good and working condition, and avoid any unwanted repairs for your septic systems.

It’s important to know that the right size tank is installed for your home – knowing the right size depends on the number of people living in your household. Septic systems can only handle so much waste and other debris, so the important thing is to minimize the amount of matter that is sent through the system, and to maximize that which is beneficial to it. You can achieve this by using low flow showerheads and toilets. Another benefit to your system is a dishwasher and washing machine that uses water more efficiently. Other ways to care for your system can be as simple as turning the water off while washing dishes or brushing your teeth.

By taking special care of the products you use, you can extend the life of your septic system, which uses a beneficial bacteria for breaking down waste. Some chemicals can harmful and kill the important bacteria.

Have your septic system inspected every other year and have the septic tank pumped and cleaned when necessary. A licensed professional can advise you on which cleaning products you should use. They can also seek their advice on how to extend the life of your septic system and other tips on how to care for it.

Septic System Dangers

A properly designed, installed and maintained septic system provides a safe and effective means of treating and disposing of household wastewater.  A well designed septic system will usually provide dependable service for years if it is inspected every year or two and pumped as needed which is usually every three to five years.

However, homeowners should not become complacent and attempt to handle the septic tank inspection or septic tank pumping themselves.  Septic tank pumping and septic tank inspections are strictly for trained, qualified septic system professionals.  Trying to do it yourself can lead to a serious injury, illness or even death.

First, an inspection or pumping involves accessing the septic tank which contains the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide.  This gas is created by the bacterial action in fecal matter and smells like rotten eggs.   Hydrogen sulfide attacks the central nervous system. Inhaling this gas can kill you or make you very ill so you never attempt to open the septic tank or even an access port unless you have been trained in how to do it safely.

Next, the septic tank can contain methane gas which although non-poisonous, is highly flammable.  A spark, open flame, or cigarette can set off a methane gas explosion.

Finally, it goes without saying that a septic tank contains raw sewage that may contain viruses, harmful bacteria, and other pathogens.  Exposure to raw sewage can cause infections, diarrhea, and intestinal distress.

The bottom line is that any maintenance that involves opening the septic tank including septic tank inspection and septic tank pumping should only be accomplished by a professional with the training, equipment and experience to handle the job safely.

Understanding Septic Tanks

Most septic tank and septic system failure can be traced to the homeowner’s misunderstanding of how their septic system works and what maintenance is needed for reliable operation.  Since they don’t know any better, they abuse their septic system and then complain when it fails.

For this reason, septic systems have earned an undeserved reputation for being unreliable.  The reality is that if a septic system is properly designed and installed, if the homeowner treats the system with care and has regular septic tank pumping, a septic system should give reliable service for 20 to 30 years or more.

Unfortunately, the old adage “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t apply to septic systems.  A septic system needs to be pumped periodically even though it is working perfectly.  The frequency of the pumping varies, but every three to five years is typical.  If you have the system inspected annually, your septic system professional will let you know when the tank is getting full.

If you wait until there is a problem with the septic system to have the tank pumped, it will be too late.  The damage to your septic system will already have been done.  A septic system is designed to hold solid waste material in the tank and allow the fluid effluent to flow into the septic field where it percolates into the soil.  Failing to periodically pump the solid material out of the septic tank will allow too much solid material to accumulate in the tank and it will flow out into the septic field where it will clog the leach field.

A clogged leach field or drain field is very expensive to repair if it can be repaired at all.  Avoid this problem by having the septic tank pumped regularly.