Three Reasons Your Septic System Backs Up After Being Pumped

Septic systems can be fickle, but for the most part, they're straightforward. As long as you're careful about what you send down your drains and get your tank emptied on a regular basis, you shouldn't experience backups beyond an occasional clog. If your septic system is backing up continuously even after you've had your tank pumped, however, this can be indicative of a few different problems with your system that will need to be quickly addressed.

Blockage Before The Tank

All drain pipes in your house connect to a single, large outflow pipe that drains water and waste into the tank itself. A clog somewhere in this pipe could cause backups in your entire house, giving you the impression that your tank is already full again. Luckily, there's a way to investigate this problem yourself to help narrow down the location of a potential block.

Between your house and the tank itself is a vent connected to a vertical pipe -- often called the inspection pipe, or inlet baffle -- that intersects with the outflow pipe. Once you locate this, pop the cap off the vent and use a flashlight to look down into the pipe. If you see standing water, this means the block is between the vent and the tank. If the pipe seems dry, the block is nearer your house. Either way, this will signify a block; if there's standing water in your tubs and sinks but there is nothing moving in the outflow pipe, your blockage is somewhere and there.

While you can attempt to break apart the block yourself, a professional will be able to remove the block quickly -- and you'll save money by having located the problem.

Issues With Your Leach Field

Your leach field drains liquids into the earth surrounding the tank so it won't fill up as quickly, leaving room in the tank only for sludge and waste. If there are any issues with the leach field, this could prevent water from being drained, meaning that your tank fills much more quickly.

There are a few things you can check on your own to help diagnose this problem. First, check the surface over which your leach field is installed to check for any signs of standing, foul-smelling water. Next, check your tank itself to see if it's nearly full with liquid. Either one of these issues could mean an issue with your leach field.

If there is a problem with your leach field, the good news is that this means the tank itself is likely fine. However, you will need to get your leach field replaced to restore proper function of your septic system.

Leaks In Your Tank

Normally, a leak somewhere in a tank would be a problem because of what it would let out. In this case, however, a leak can be problematic because of what it lets in. If you have a leak somewhere in your tank, especially near the top, such as near the lid, your tank could be letting in plenty of excess water from sources outside your home. This could pose an even worse problem if you live in an area that gets plenty of rain.

If your drainage system and leach field seem fine, consult a professional from companies like Chuck Keene Septic Tank Pumping Service to investigate your tank for you. There are also a few things you can check yourself, such as liquid levels inside the tank.


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