6 Signs Your Septic Tank May Need To Be Drained


Septic systems are typically installed in locations where local municipal sewage lines are unavailable, meaning they usually serve rural homes or properties constructed prior to city sewer lines being laid in the area.

If your home has one, then you already know the responsibilities that come with it.

For one, it’s recommended that this tank should be emptied regularly to avoid damages related to the sewer system.

Of course, draining the tank every five years or several times within that period may go a long way in preventing troubles like blockages and odors.

However, it’s a good idea to always check for any signs that may suggest the need for immediate emptying of your septic tank. Inspect your drain regularly and do the necessary actions to keep your septic tank in good function.

This article aims to discuss some of the main warning signs you should always look out for when assessing your septic system. Here are six of them: 

1. Slow Drains

Perhaps the most obvious sign that’s quite common among most homes that own septic tanks is slow drainage. Sometimes you might find that your toilet has a weak flush despite having plenty of water in your house.

This is one of the problems caused by old pipes, but it’s a big red flag that might suggest your septic tank is filled beyond the required capacity. 

If you believe this could be a local blockage, you can try running your sinks and see the result.

Slow drainage in your sinks will prove there’s a problem in your sewer system, which might be solved by emptying the septic tank.

2. Odor Around Your Home

As the septic tank becomes full, it may start leaking to the surrounding. The gasses produced by the sewage have nowhere to go, which means they’ll have to be released around your backyard.

Therefore, if you’re experiencing an unusual smell, that could be a sign that you really need to pump your tank.

This smell is usually due to a combination of various wastes from your toilet and sinks. It may also be caused by sewage water leaking from the tank to the surrounding.

Of course, you can drain the septic tank by yourself, but this could be quite risky – so it’s recommended that you hire a professional sewer service provider to look into the issue.

One benefit of doing so is that a professional contractor is experienced in this particular field and will know whether there’s any other problem apart from the tank being full.

As such, you have an opportunity of solving other possible issues before they become more serious.

3. Pooling Water

As earlier stated, a full septic tank may be forced to start leaking because there’s no longer any space to hold extra wastes. The leaked fluid, predominantly composed of water, may start stagnating just above the septic tank.

Before you know it, there will be several pools of water forming around the area. This is a key sign that your septic tank is overflowing and might need to be emptied.

Inasmuch as pools of water are a good indicator in such cases, it might also be a sign that there’s a problem with your tank.

For instance, if some pipes are broken or the connections are no longer strong enough, you’ll experience leakages.

Again, this is a good reason to hire a professional technician or contractor to look into the issue rather than emptying the tank by yourself.

4. An Extra-Healthy Lawn

Imagine it hasn’t been raining for quite some time now, but part of your backyard is very green. Everyone likes to see their backyard looking this attractive.

However, such a positive change in your lawn could be a sign of an even bigger problem. Remember, sewage water has several nutrients necessary for plant growth.

Therefore, if a given portion of the compound gets a consistent supply of this water, it will be very healthy within a few weeks.

So, how will you if your healthy lawn is a sign of septic tank overflow?

First, you need to mark the exact position of your tank. This way, you’ll know if the water might be originating from the sewer system or somewhere else.

Another thing to note is the general appearance of your compound. Usually, if there’s such a leakage, only a small portion of your backyard will benefit from the nutrients.

If you’ve observed all these features, then it might be high time to call a sewer system expert.

5. Sewer Backup

The grossest sign that you might experience is a sewer backup. This is likely to occur in the basement bathroom or other lower ground facilities.

Whenever you try flushing your toilet or using the sink, you’ll find that the wastes come back up. 

If you find yourself in such a situation, you must alert the relevant experts as soon as possible. One disadvantage of leaving the system in such a state for days is that sewage may cause diseases.

In addition, your house will start smelling awful, which is something you wouldn’t like. 

6. Count The Years

When was the last time you pumped your septic tank? As a rule of thumb, you should empty your tank after every three to five years.

Of course, the variation of time depends on the size of your tank in relation to the number of people using it. If it has been long since you last drained the system, it might be time to check it again.

Remember, as you empty the tank regularly, you’re increasing its lifespan since it won’t be strained.


A septic tank or the sewer system, in general, plays a vital role in everyone’s life. As such, it’s important that you maintain your system regularly to avoid facing sewer-related problems.

There are some warning signs that indicate the need to empty your septic tank.

Some of these signs include slow drains, odor around your home, an extra-green portion of your backyard, and sewer backup.

You should also check the number of years you’ve used the tank since installation or the last pumping process.

Such dutiful actions today would serve you better in the long run.

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