If you regularly have your septic tank pumped out every few years, you may not think that you need to worry about it overflowing in between cleanings. However, if your home's sewage needs have increased, your tank may be fuller than you think. Look for the following signs that your septic tank is full and starting to overflow.
Water Drains Slower than Usual
One of the first signs that may alert you to a problem with your septic tank is when water starts to drain slower than usual out of your sinks, showers, and toilets. If the problem exists in only one of your fixtures, it may just be a single clogged pipe.
However, when water drainage is slow throughout your house, this is a good indicator that your septic tank is full. Since the tank is full, the waste material has nowhere else to go and will start coming back up through your sewage pipes.
Gurgling Sounds Heard When Water Drains
Another sign that your septic tank is overflowing is the presence of gurgling sounds whenever water drains out of your home's fixtures. This sign is usually accompanied by slow drains throughout your house.
Since sewage is backing up into your pipes, the water and other waste materials will try to flow past the stuck drainage. As a result, air that is caught in the sewage will release, making popping noises that sound like gurgling once the noises reach your open drains.
Presence of a Foul Odor
Along with slow drains and gurgling noises, you may also start to notice a foul odor coming from your drains. At first, you may only detect the smell of raw sewage when you use your drains.
However, if the sewer pipes stay clogged because they cannot empty into your septic tank, the waste material will start to naturally decompose. Not only will the odor of human waste and stale water come up through your drains, but the methane gas and smell of the other by-products of decomposition will accompany it. As time goes by, these odors will become worse until they permeate your home with the smell of raw sewage.
Sewage Backs up into Your House
If you ignore the slow drains, gurgling noises, and foul smells that indicate that sewage is backing up into your pipes, eventually you may start seeing dark brown to blackish water come up through your sink and shower drains, as well as up through the toilet.
This problem will be more evident when you drain a large amount of water down one drain, only to have sewage come up in through another. You may also notice a surge of sewage water coming up in your shower whenever flush the toilet. As the new wastewater tries to push its way through the old sewage, the latter will spill up through the pipes and into another.
When the raw sewage that spills out of your drain contaminates your home's surfaces, the bacteria and microbes contained in the foul water could potentially spread diseases that will make you and your family sick.
If you do not have your septic tank pumped out as soon as possible, you risk having these microorganisms spread and contaminate your bathrooms and kitchen, where they increase your family's exposure.
If your septic tank shows signs of overflowing, you need to have it taken care of by a professional as soon as possible. Contact a septic tank cleaning service to have them come to your property and pump out your tank, and also have them inspect it for any signs of damage caused by the tank being too full.