Have a question? We’ve got answers. Well, septic tank-related ones, at least.
Septic Problem Solving
Residential: Septic System Inspections
Got questions but hate talking on the phone? (We wish we could say we understood, but we love talking on the phone!)
Look below for some quick answers to our most commonly asked questions.
Septic Problem Solving
What’s making my septic system back up or clog?
Unfortunately, there are quite a few factors that can throw a wrench in the gears of your septic system. (Usually not literally a wrench, but hey — we’ve seen it happen.) To get to the bottom of things, we usually ask these standard questions:
- How long ago was your last septic pumping service? Too much time between septic maintenance services can lead to a variety of problems.
- Is there a filter installed in your system? Hair, grit, grime and other cringe-worthy things can get caught in your system if your filter isn’t working properly.
- Where are you noticing the backup? If it’s upstairs in a toilet, for instance, we’ll take a different approach than if the leak is coming directly out of your septic tank.
How often should I have septic pumping service?
Much like the answer to, “How often should I bathe?” our response is: it depends.
But, also like bathing, we strongly recommend you do it routinely. When it comes to your septic tank, all systems should be pumped every year or two. Older systems will likely require servicing on a more frequent basis, and other factors can include the amount of people living in your house and the overall condition of your septic system.
Still want a better answer? We don’t blame you. Our spiffy Septic Service Frequency Calculator can give you a much more specific timeline.
How do I know the last time I had septic pumping service?
As much as we all hate bureaucracy, in this case, it actually comes in handy: regulations usually require that a record is kept of each septic pumping service and sent to the local Board of Health office. If you can’t quite remember when you last had your tank serviced, simply contact your local Board of Health and they’ll fill you in. If for some reason they can’t help, your town will likely have it on record as well.
How can I extend the life of my septic system?
Keeping your septic tank happy is pretty simple. Here’s what we recommend:
- Regularly get your septic system and cesspool pumped
- Use eco-friendly bacterial additive products
- Make sure you’re using a septic system filter (more on this below!)
For an in-depth guide, check out our preventative maintenance page, here.
What does a septic filter do, exactly?
Your leach field lines are one of the most important parts of your system. Unfortunately, they’re also the most susceptible to clogs. To keep them clear of hair, debris, and other solid particles that can cause problems, a filter should be installed in the outlet tree of your tank to act as a strainer.
Cesspools, septic systems, and tight tanks: what’s the difference?
Not all systems are created equal. Let’s talk septic systems first. These are made up of a tank attached to a nearby leaching area. Usually, your septic tank will be attached to a distribution box with leach field pipes running off of it. Otherwise, you might have a mound system septic tank: a pump chamber will pump sewage upwards and then leach the water out from there.
Cesspools are a little bit less complicated. Put simply, they’re just holes in the ground, usually lined with cinder blocks or stones that water can leach through. Sometimes, you’ll find an outlet pipe that connects to an overflow pit in case things get particularly hectic in there.
Tight tanks are the trickiest of the bunch. They’re almost identical to septic tanks, except they have no outlet, meaning they need to be pumped a lot more frequently.
How can I find out where my septic system is actually located?
If you’ve worked with us before, we’ll have that info on file, of course. Worst case, we offer a septic locating service, so don’t fret!
The area over my septic system is wet. Is that bad?
Well, it’s not great. Then again, it’s probably due to a simple leak or an overflow. Give us a ring and we’ll send someone out there to fix things up straight away.
Do I need to be home when you send someone to do my septic pumping service?
While not required, we usually recommend it. This way, we can discuss any unexpected issues your tank may have and discuss fixes right then and there.
Why is there more than one cover on my tank?
Believe it or not, most tanks actually have two covers! You’ll have one on the “inlet” side of the tank where water comes in and another on the “outlet” side of the tank (where, you guessed it, water goes out).
What’s it cost to install a new septic system?
We really can’t say without knowing a few more things about the size, type, and location of your existing tank. Give us a quick call and our highly-trained engineering team will discuss your options and get you a price range.