How often do you need a septic inspection? And why is it necessary? What happens if you don’t have it done in time?
We’ll answer that last one first. Procrastinating on getting a septic inspection can lead to septic tank failure. That means raw sewage flooding your property and backing up into your house.
But don’t worry. We’re going to teach you how to prevent this from happening to you.
Specifically, the following guide lists all the information you need to know about why, how, and when to get a septic inspection. Read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need Septic Inspections?
Septic tanks are very efficient systems for safely disposing of organic waste. (We’ll explain more about how this works next.) Still, like all man-made systems, they require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them working right.
You see, there are certain materials that can safely pass through the system into the drainfield. And there are others that remain trapped in the tank. These trapped materials build up over time and can cause the system to overflow/backup.
Furthermore, the amount of time you have before you need your tank cleaned won’t always be the same. Certain factors can cause the system to fill with buildup much faster. This is why it’s essential that you have your septic tank inspected as often as necessary.
How Your Septic System Functions
To help you understand a bit more about what we just explained, let’s take a look at how your septic system functions. The system itself is actually quite simple and consists of only two main parts. These are called the tank and the drainfield.
Just as it sounds, the tank is a big container that sits underground, collecting waste. This waste includes everything that you put down your household drains (sinks, toilets, showers, etc.).
As these waste materials sit in the tank, they naturally and automatically settle into three separate levels. Buoyant materials, like oils and fats, will float upwards, forming the top layer. This layer is known as scum.
Other materials are very heavy and will sink, creating a layer called sludge along the bottom. The middle layer consists of partially treated wastewater that can safely flow out of the tank and into the drainfield.
As mentioned, the drainfield is where the wastewater flows once the sludge and scum separate from it. It is, in fact, a literal field of soil located on a (now unusable) part of your property.
But don’t worry. The wastewater isn’t merely released onto the surface of the field. It’s released very deep underground so that the top layer of dirt remains mostly unaffected.
In fact, once it’s released, the wastewater travels even deeper into the earth, towards groundwater reserves. When this happens, the soil acts as a filter that snatches contaminants/toxins out of the water. Thus, by the time it reaches the groundwater, it is clean enough to be safe for the environment.
When/How Often Should Your Home Get a Septic Inspection?
As you can see, the wastewater gets though the system just fine. The problem is that the sludge and scum buildup eventually get to volumous and clog up the system.
While this does cause noticeable problems, which are listed below, it’s best not to wait for these signs. In any case, here’s what you need to know about how often to get your septic tank inspected.
1. Every One or Two Years
Firstly, there’s no such thing as “too often” when it comes to septic inspection. But, as a rule-of-thumb, you shouldn’t let your tank go three years without an inspection. Once every one or two years should be adequate, though.
2. You’re Moving In
If you just purchased, or are about to purchase, a home with a septic tank, have it inspected. You’re better safe than sorry.
3. Your Drains Are Slowing or Backing Up
When the scum and sludge start clogging your system, the water you put down the drain has trouble getting through. Pressure can even build in the tank and cause sewage to backup out through your drains. If you notice this, contact a reputable company to have your tank inspected/serviced right away.
4. Sewage Smell in Your House
You might smell the sewage backup before you see it. If you notice this odor inside your house or on your property, get your septic system inspected.
5. Drainfield Flooding
Pools of liquid or excess moisture in your drainfield might indicate that the tank is leaking, overflowing, or having trouble draining. Get it inspected to find out what’s going on.
What You Need to Do to Get Your Septic Tank Inspected
To have your septic tank inspected, you must first find a trustworthy septic service. Compare prices and user reviews to find one that is highly-rated, like Goebel Septic Tank Services.
Next, take notes on everything they do and say. Get an official receipt/inspection summary/report if you can.
Keep these records. They will include information that will help you know when you need to get your tank inspected again in the future. For this reason, if you already have such records from a previous inspection, share them with the septic service.
As a final note, know that the septic service may need to dig in order to access your tank. Most tanks, though, have an easy access port that eliminates the need for digging.
Don’t Procrastinate on Getting a Septic Inspection
Based on the information above, does it sound like you need a septic inspection? If so, don’t delay. Contact a septic service right away before the horrible effects of septic tank failure happen to you.
Next, don’t go just yet. We have all the top tips you need to know to maintain and improve your home right here. Check our homepage for our newest home improvement posts and other helpful topics.