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What Does It Mean if My Septic Tank is Full

Septic Tank Truck

Having a full septic tank may sound like just another one of life’s problems. And you might assume it can only be solved by a septic pump. Good news! A “full” septic tank doesn’t necessarily mean you need to call for a septic service or pump. Here is some clarification on what it means if your septic tank is full:

What Makes a Septic Tank Full

First, if a tank is empty, it’s usually due to one of two reasons – it was just pumped and is filling through usage or the tank has a leak and you should contact a septic technician to evaluate it immediately. A tank should fill within 2-3 weeks of regular use after a pumping, so if it has been longer – please call to have it evaluated.

A full tank contains 3 types of materials and each one has its place in a properly functioning tank.

  1. Fats, oils, and greases are categorized as scum and should sit at the top of the liquid level of the tank. These will become a problem if they solidify and begin to compress down on the next level of the liquid to where they are working their way into the pipes leading out of the tank and into the leach field. This would become a serious problem because it can cause clogs in your pipes and a reason to contact us.
  2. The second component in the tank would be the effluent which is the liquid that the tank is designed to send to the leach field. If the tank is too full with the effluent, you may notice pooling on your property near the septic system, which can indicate there’s a blockage or some failure somewhere in the system. If you notice pools of water with a foul odor, contact us for an inspection and we can pinpoint the problem and determine a solution.
  3. The third component is the primary reason for pumping in the first place, and that is the solids. Solids are made up of all the contents passed to the tank that does not break down into a liquid and do not float on top of the effluent. Solids are the component that is the most detrimental to your system over time because solid build-up can deplete your septic system’s ability to function properly. Here are 3 ways solid build-up can harm your system:
    • Solids that are built up inside the tank reduce the capacity of your tank.
    • Solids built up on the bottom and sides of the tank weaken your tank over time.
    • Solids will flow into other areas that are designed to only handle liquid and begin to clog or cause failures in those other areas.

How Often a Septic Tank Should be Pumped

Now that you know what it means when your septic is full and in what situations it’s ready for a pump, here are some guidelines on how often to have your tank pumped.

As a general rule, a septic should be pumped once every 2 to 3 years. But there are a number of factors, especially as holidays and winter months approach that may warrant a visit from a septic technician, just to be sure you don’t run into any unwanted issues.

Be sure to also consider how many social gatherings you are holding at your house. This could affect the frequency of septic tank pumping. A small household that hosts regular parties may need to be pumped just as much as a large family.

Also keep in mind how guests may increase your regular use of the toilets, washing machine, dishwasher, and showers. Increased usage may require your septic tank to be pumped to keep it healthy and functioning. For more information on a proper pumping schedule for your household, read more here.

At Felix Septic, we understand that quick, quality service is important to our customers. If you are seeing any signs of an overfull tank or sludge build-up, contact us right away. We will be sure to get you the help you need as soon as possible. Our technicians are always ready to help you.

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