Septic systems are important to maintain cleanliness in your area and properly dispose of drainage water. It is usually installed at the time of construction of a house. Since these systems are expensive and planted underground, it is best that you keep them well-maintained. However, if and when, your septic system starts to show signs of damage you need to make sure that it is repaired, or if the damage can’t be fixed, then replaced. Otherwise, the flooding of sewerage and wastewater can cause much inconvenience and be a lot more costly.
Since the septic system is based on a network of complicated pipes and is usually hidden from our sights, diagnosing the correct issue is not always easy and therefore we might not be able to decide whether the system needs repair or has to be replaced.
In this article, we try and help you decide which action you need to follow based on the issue you face.
When to Repair
The usual symptoms of septic system failure are backing up of water into the house, or terrible odor coming from the backyard.
When you face such an issue, you’ll need to first ensure that your septic tank has not been completely filled with solid waste. Sludge can form layers to block the flow of wastewater. If you haven’t had your tank pumped clean in a couple of years than this is most likely the issue. On average, a tank needs to be pumped in around 3 year’s time.
However, if you have recently pumped or pumping it doesn’t solve the issue. You need to check the area between septic tank and the drain field. If there is water standing above this area then you have nothing more than a broken pipe. You can fix the issue by simply repairing the pipe.
When to Replace
When your septic system shows sign of failing, you have 3 important reasons because of which you’ll have to replace it.
Firstly, if you have an increase in the number of people in your house, or your overall production of wastewater goes up, then mostly likely cause of damage to the tank is its oversaturation. The system was built to hold onto a limited volume of waste. But if it is constantly supplied with water above its capacity it will often flood and throw back water into your house. In such a case your only option is to replace it with a larger tank.
Secondly, when septic systems have been in use for 25 to 30 years they start to fail. This happens because the natural microbes found in the drain field have overpopulated to saturate the soil. When your septic system has lived its lifespan you’ll have to replace it.
Thirdly, placing heavy weights on top of either the tank or the drainfield can cause permanent damage. This usually occurs when the septic system was built under a drive way or parking area. In such a situation too, you’ll have to replace the system.