Homeowners with septic systems typically have to pumpout those systems every 3 to 5 years, more often if you use more water. Knowing the signs of a failing septic system is important so that you can be as proactive as possible when your system requires service. However, some of the signs of a plumbing backup and septic system backup are very similar. In order to determine what the issue is, you’ll want to follow these steps:
Understand the symptoms.
The first step to troubleshooting is anything acting out of the ordinary in your plumbing. That means slow drains, gurgling toilets, backups in your showers when you’re using a lot of water, or backups in your toilets. All of these issues can indicate that there is an issue with your plumbing or your septic system. Now, to determine the difference, keep reading.
Check your sewage cleanout.
Every home is equipped with a sewage cleanout line. This allows you to check whether the issue is outside of your home or within your homes plumbing. If your cleanout is clear, generally it indicates an issue with your plumbing. If your cleanout is filled, it can indicate an issue with your septic tank or plumbing.
Check the level of your septic tank.
Once you determine that your sewage cleanout is backed up, you’ll want to check out your septic tank. If your septic tank is overfilled that means you’re experiencing an issue with your septic system. It could mean the screen in the septic tank is clogged, the drainfield is malfunctioning or that the system is overloaded from over use. Be sure to turn off any washing machines or dishwashers that are running and call a professional to help you further troubleshoot the issue.
Knowing the location of your sewage cleanout is very important. It’s generally located close to the exterior walls of your home near a bathroom. You can hire a professional to locate it for you, as sometimes they are covered by overgrowth in grass or underneath bushes. If you’re able to locate it yourself, you can save the money that a professional might charge for a service call or to locate it for you. Being able to look inside the sewage cleanout line is important so that you can decide whether you want to call a plumbing professional or septic professional.