There are times when you have to rely on information from scattered sources to get the truth. Then, there are times when government agencies provide you with resources in plain English. 

The EPA provides a resource on septic tank cleanings. The resource names the biggest influences on how frequently you’ll need your septic tank cleaned:

  • The size of your septic tank
  • The amount of solids in your wastewater
  • The amount of wastewater
  • The size of your household

The fourth item doesn’t quite tell you how often you’ll need your septic tank cleaned – rather, it influences other things, like the amount of wastewater you’ll produce.

So how often should you get your septic tank cleaned? Generally, every 3-5 years – you should probably get it checked every 3 years, although certain highly mechanized systems should be checked yearly. If you want a consultation, we can tell you exactly how often you should get your septic tank cleaned. Aside from your scheduled septic tank maintenance, here are some signs that show you might need your tank cleaned:

Something Smells Funny

Bad odors can mean a lot of different things when it comes to plumbing. For the most part, a bad odor will just mean there’s a clog in a particular pipe or fixture. A persistent bad odor throughout all of your fixtures, on the other hand, means you might be experiencing the first signs of sewer backup. Get your tank checked.

Green Grass and High Levels of Waste

When your septic tank is overfilled, you’ll end up with more waste pouring into your septic field – and it may be a bit less filtered than normal. The strange thing is, there’s a small space of time where that extra waste is actually good for your lawn – excrement makes for great fertilizer. When the grass is greener on the septic side, you might be due for a cleaning.

Slow Draining

Another opportunity to demonstrate the difference between systemic plumbing issues and fixture issues? Hooray!

When one fixture is draining slowly, it’s probably clogged. Get the plunger out and go to town; if that doesn’t work, try a plumbing snake, or any other number of unclogging techniques.

When all of your fixtures are draining slowly, it could very well mean your septic tank is too full, and that fluids and waste are blocking the inlet pipe. There are other potential causes, like roots infiltrating the inlet pipe – either way, you’re going to want to call a plumber.

Your Sewer Backs Up

Saving the worst for last, when sewage starts coming up through your drains, it could very well be because of your septic tank. We’re hoping this doesn’t happen to you because you’ve read through the other signs listed in this post. What’s more, you (hopefully) got routine cleanings scheduled to avoid this predicament.

Our Albuquerque plumbing services include septic tank installation, checks, and cleaning. Whether you need someone to do routine checks or you’re experiencing sewer backup right now, give us a call.