One of the most important aspects of preventing unwanted sewage backups or other issues with your septic system is to have the system properly maintained. This includes having your septic system inspected at least once-a-year and pumped according to a schedule based upon the size of the septic tank, the size of your family, and your overall usage. Here are a few critical questions you should ask while your septic tank and system are being maintained.

Where Is My Septic Tank Located?

You might be surprised to learn that many homeowners do not know the exact location of their septic tank and leech field. Ask the inspector or maintenance staff to take you with them to show you the exact location of your septic tank and the leech field. Typically, you will see one or multiple caps on the ground, which is how the inspector or maintenance technician will access your septic tank.

Several pipes will lead from the tank to the leech field. Ask the technician to show you the exact location of the leech field. Knowing the placement of your leech field is critical because it will ensure the field is protected and that the septic system can run as efficiently as possible.

What Will Occur During the Septic System Inspection or Maintenance?

Typically, the inspection or maintenance will involve either a visual inspection or, if you are selling your home or suspect there is an issue, a more thorough inspection. The visual inspection involves looking at the different components for any signs of damage. During a more rigorous inspection, the technician will open the septic tank and look for any damage inside the tank and ensure the contents, or wastewater, inside the tank.

What Are Signs of Potential Problems with My Septic System?

A well-maintained septic system will last for several decades. Knowing the potential signs of damage or other issues can help ensure the system is fixed in a timely fashion. Here are a few potential signs there is something wrong with your septic system:

  • Slow draining tubs and sinks. If the pipes leading from your home to the septic tank are damaged, you might notice the sinks and tubs drain very slowly, or not at all.
  • Foul odors around the septic tank and in your home. Damage to any component of the septic system, including the tank, can cause wastewater to leak out. This can lead to noticeable, foul odors.
  • Sewage backup in your basement. A damaged or overfull tank can lead to sewage backup in the basement.

If you notice any of these signs, contact a professional immediately.

Asking the right questions during your septic tank maintenance or inspection can help ensure you care for your septic system properly.