10 Signs Your Septic Tank Needs Cleaning

Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Technician cleaning septic tank with pressure washerCleaning your septic tank may not be the most glamorous task, but it's crucial for protecting your home and family from health hazards. After all, neglecting your septic maintenance can lead to unpleasant odors, backups, and even contamination of your groundwater.
See the signs that your septic tank needs cleaning, so you can avoid costly repairs and keep your septic system running smoothly.

1. Slow Drains

If you notice that your sinks, toilets, and other drains are taking longer than usual to empty, it may be a sign that your septic tank needs cleaning. This is because when the tank is full, wastewater can’t flow through the drainfield as quickly, causing backups and slow drainage.

2. Foul Odors

One of the most obvious signs that your septic tank needs cleaning is a foul odor coming from your drains or yard. The smell is caused by the buildup of gasses, like hydrogen sulfide, which is produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the tank. If you notice a persistent smell, contact a professional to inspect and clean your tank.

3. Overflow

If you notice that your septic tank is overflowing, it's a sure sign that it needs to be cleaned. Overflow happens when the tank is too full and can't hold any more waste. This can be caused by an accumulation of solids in the bottom of the tank, or if too much wastewater has entered the tank than it's designed to handle.

4. Standing Water

Another sign that your septic tank needs cleaning is standing water in your yard or around your drainfield, which can indicate that your tank is full and unable to absorb any more wastewater. If left untreated, sewage backups and other serious issues can occur.

5. Lush Grass

While it may seem counterintuitive, if you notice an area of your yard with unusually lush green grass, it may be a sign of a septic tank issue. The excess nutrients from the tank can fertilize the surrounding soil, causing plants to grow more rapidly.

6. Sewage Backup

One of the most glaring signs that your septic tank needs cleaning is a sewage backup into your home. This can cause extensive damage and pose serious health risks. If you notice any signs of a backup, such as slow drains or sewage smells in your home, it's important to call a professional immediately.

7. Gurgling Sounds

Gurgling sounds coming from the toilet or drains are a telltale sign that your septic tank needs to be cleaned. What you’re hearing is air and waste passing through the pipes leading to the septic tank. This bubbling sound indicates that there is some kind of blockage in either the vent pipe, sewer line, or septic tank itself.

8. Alarm Goes Off

Some septic tanks are equipped with an alarm system to signal when the water level is too high or too low. These systems may feature audible alarms or visual indicators on the home's exterior. If you don't have an alert system, getting one installed isn't too difficult or expensive.

9. Water Contamination

When your septic tank isn't regularly cleaned and maintained, you run the risk of dangerous water contamination. Septic tanks that become too full of waste can leak sewage into the ground, polluting local water sources with bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants.

10. It's Been a Long Time

If it's been more than three years since your last tank cleaning, then you're probably due for a septic service. Can't remember when you had it last serviced? Pay attention to sight, sounds, and smells that indicate your septic tank needs cleaning.

Final Takeaway: A Clean Tank is a Happy Tank

A well-maintained septic tank is essential for a healthy home and environment. To keep your tank functioning properly, it’s vital to recognize the signs it needs cleaning to prevent damage and save money in the long run. When in doubt, turn to the professionals for expert tank care.
Get a free septic cleaning estimate! Honey-Wagon offers a range of septic maintenance services in the Kansas City area to promote optimal performance.
Staff 7/5/2023