One of the hardest things for homeowners is determining when their septic systems need professional assistance. Since the entire septic system is underground, it can be tough to know when something is wrong.
While simply digging up the lid of your septic tank and inspecting the inside is always going to be one of the most definitive ways to know what's going on down there, septic systems often give out surface signs when there's a problem. Watching for these signs will alert you to potential issues and allow you to call for a professional septic inspection.
The most crucial surface signs of septic system problems to watch for are:
Any Sewage-Smelling Odors
Residential septic systems are entirely underground. There should never be any odors from your septic system unless it is open to the air for pumping or repairs.
If you smell sewage in your yard, especially near the drain field, this is always a sign the system is not working correctly.
Similarly, if you smell sewage coming from interior drains, it is a sign the septic tank could be full and starting to backflow into the house.
Anytime you smell sewage anywhere around your property or inside your home, you should consult a licensed plumber or perform a septic system inspection.
Excess Greenery or Moisture in One Spot of Your Yard
If you've noticed recently that there is one area in your yard that is greener than the rest or always stays damp, this can be a sign your septic system is not working correctly.
If the moist or green area is near the leach field, this is a sign that the leach field is no longer working. Water is not being absorbed correctly and is instead bubbling to the surface. This is a common problem in clay soils where the drain field has been used for many years.
The water coming up to the surface is contaminated with waste products and contains harmful bacteria. For this reason, the problem needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
If the wet area is located near the septic tank, it is likely the tank is full of solids and leaking water out of the lid. If this is the case, the tank must be pumped out and inspected. Under normal circumstances, septic tanks should not overfill, so the inspection will let you know the cause and whether repairs are necessary.
For more information, contact a septic system inspection service in your area.