7 Signs You Need To Pump Your Septic Tank

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When you are taking care of your home, you’ll find that some things have a way of telling you when they need something. Your ceiling leaks if your roof needs a patch, your lawnmower starts chugging if it’s clogged with grass, your hinges squeak when they need oil and your septic tank . . . well, let’s just say it works harder than most when it’s trying desperately to tell you it needs to be pumped.

And that’s a good thing, because the repercussions of a seldom-pumped septic tank can be severe. Septic tanks need to be pumped periodically in order to get rid of solid waste deposits that form on the bottom and top of your tank and put life-shortening stress on your entire septic system.

Many times septic tank additives are marketed to homeowners as a solution or substitute for pumping your septic tank. They are composed of bacteria or enzymes that claim to help soften or break down waste. Unfortunately, sometimes the the bacteria can cause more harm or add to your septic tank problems by delaying or masking problems. Research has shown there is no substitute for getting your septic tank pumped. Septic tank maintenance should become a part of your regular home maintenance.

Septic tanks are often neglected by homeowners because they are underground and out of sight. Just because you haven’t had any septic tank problems, does not mean you should neglect the maintenance schedule.



  1. Because It’s Time – Our first “sign” isn’t a sign at all, but a rule. We put it in the number one spot because it’s the most important thing to remember about your septic system and adhering to it can save you big on time, stress and money.

Depending on the number of users, septic tanks generally need to be pumped every one to three years. The best person to recommend a maintenance and pumping schedule that’s right for you is your septic service provider.

  1. Sluggish Draining/Flushing – If you’ve noticed slowly draining tubs, showers, washing machines or, worse, toilets that just aren’t as “energetic” as usual, it’s probably a good indication you need your tank pumped.

This is one of the most innocuous signs, so you should consider yourself lucky that you’ve been given a chance to fix things before something worse happens.

  1. Odor – As your septic tank fills up, odor-causing gasses have nowhere to go and can end up emanating from your toilets, drains, outdoor septic tank area or your drainfield, causing a problem that’s not only gross, but unhealthy.

If you suddenly notice sulphurous or sewage odors in or around your house and property, it’s time to call a septic service, pronto.

  1. Surprisingly Lush, Green Lawn Over Drainfield – Normally, the grass over your drainfield should look similar to the grass in the rest of your lawn, but if it’s suddenly making its neighbors look shabby in comparison, it could mean that it’s been getting a little extra “fertilizer” in the form of excessive waste liquid.
  1. Standing Water – When a septic tank’s full, water can start to pool in any number of places around your property; but the most tell-tale of those are around the tank itself and the drainfield. Pooling water is a serious indication that, at the very least, you need your septic system pumped and inspected immediately.
  1. High Nitrate Content in Well Water – This sign only applies to those relying on well water, but for those homeowners,  it’s an important one. It’s recommended that well water be tested at least once a year and, if higher than normal nitrate levels are detected, it can be an indication that waste water is overflowing your septic system and leaching into your drinking water.
  1. Sewage Backup – Out of all the signs, this is no doubt the one you would least like to experience; but if you aren’t on a regular pumping/maintenance schedule and you choose to ignore all the previous signs, having raw sewage backup into your house is a very real possibility.

The minute you see any sign of sewage backup, it’s important to call your septic service immediately and avoid the area. If you’re lucky, a mere pumping may be all you need. If your maintenance schedule has been neglected, there may be more septic tank problems involved or  drainfield issues.

Of course, paying attention to sign number one will give you the best chance of never having to deal with the other six. A well maintained septic system can last up to 30 (sometimes 40 or 50) years and save you loads of money, hassle and heartache.

Paradise Valley Septic is a full-service septic system installation, maintenance and repair company, so we’re expertly equipped to handle any type of septic emergency. Even so, we’d much rather put you on one of our scheduled service plans and help you stop disasters from happening long before they start.

Call or email today to schedule an appointment!


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