A clogged septic tank can be a traumatic experience. Seeing raw sewage come up through the drains inspires a sense of panic and feelings of horror in many homeowners. If you should experience a septic tank problem, knowing what to do can help. Here's what you need to know about septic tank emergencies and how they can be avoided in the future.
Manage the Emergency
Often the first signs of a septic tank clog happens when raw sewage comes up through the drains and into the bathtub, shower, or basement floor. Why does this happen? The septic tank is an underground tank that is connected to the house via a drain pipe. If the tank fills up or if the waste water is prevented from entering the tank, sewage will back up into the house and into the lowest drains of the home.
If this happens to you, turn off all fixtures and appliances that use water. Don't flush any toilets. Turn off the dishwasher, washing machine, and shower. Stop doing the dishes. Flushing water into the drains only causes more water to backup into the house.
Once you've turned off all sources of water, contact a septic tank professional. Hopefully you keep the number available in your phone, but if not, look up a business that you trust. If you've never used a septic tank professional before, ask your neighbors who they trust to take care of their septic tank.
Until the septic tank professional comes to your home, you won't be able to use any water. You may need to go to a friend's home until the professional arrives.
Get the Repair Made
When the professional gets to your house, they'll open the septic tank and inspect it. Hopefully the drain field isn't clogged. If it is, your system could require expensive repairs or even replacement. Often, a backed up septic tank occurs when a combination of hair, grease, and other substances gather in the septic tank's inlet, known as the baffle. Most of the time, this is an easy fix.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Once the septic tank has been fixed, you'll be left with a mess. Whatever came out of the tank is raw sewage and must be cleaned up thoroughly. Bleach is an excellent product for disinfecting floors and fixtures. Mix bleach with water together and clean your floors with a scrub brush. You may need to clean your floors multiple times.
If you must clean a part of your floor that could be ruined by bleach, contact a cleaning professional to ensure that your home is safely cleaned before you live in it again.
Develop Good Septic Tank Habits
Septic tank backups can happen randomly or because of bad habits. Avoid problems in the future by changing your habits and septic tank maintenance routine. Have your septic tank inspected by a professional every two years, even if it doesn't need to be pumped. Follow these suggestions as well:
- Never flush anything down the toilet or into your drains, except for human waste and toilet paper.
- Never flush medicine, antibacterial soap, or anything that could harm the beneficial bacteria in your tank.
- Avoid flushing your system with too much water.
- Size your septic tank to the number of bedrooms and people in your house, if you install a new tank.
If you're not sure how often your septic tank needs to be pumped, talk to your septic tank professional. They'll be able to tell you how often your tank should be pumped based on its size and the number of people in your household.
Work With Your Septic Tank Professional
For more information about what you can do to protect your home from a septic tank backup or if you need your septic tank pumped, contact Chuck Keene Septic Tank Pumping Service. We're happy to help!