How Often Does a Septic Tank Need Pumping?

How Often Does a Septic Tank Need Pumping?

Knowing how often to pump your septic tank in El Centro, CA is an important part of septic tank ownership. Your septic tank contains solids and wastewater. While the wastewater leaches out into the drain field, the solids remain in the tank. Eventually, when it’s full, it needs to be pumped. How often you’ll need to pump your tank depends on the size, household load and other factors. Here’s how to determine when your tank will need to be pumped.

A general rule of thumb

Most septic tanks need to be pumped every three to five years. However, it depends on the size of your tank and the size of your household. Single-person households might be able to get by pumping every seven to 10 years, while large families might need to pump every couple of years. Check your septic tank documentation to see which size it is, then research online or ask your septic contractor whether that affects how often you need to pump. If you didn’t install the septic system yourself, the previous owner may have chosen a size based on a different household configuration.

Another way to tell when to pump your tank is to go back through your records to see how often you’ve pumped in the past. If you had to use emergency pumping services, that’s a strong indication you shouldn’t wait as long in the future. Finally, you can talk to your neighbors about their experience, and how often they find they need to pump. This is especially helpful if you’ve just moved into a home with a septic system.

Why it’s so important to pump regularly

Your tank can easily become overloaded if you fail to pump it. Over time, solid waste builds up in the bottom of the tank and forms a layer of sludge. If the sludge continues to build up, it will eventually block the pipes to the drain field. Solid waste may flow into the drain field, or you might find that your wastewater comes bubbling back up from your sink or tub drains. It’s unsanitary and smells awful, so you should try to avoid this as much as possible.

Signs your tank is ready to be pumped

Sometimes you might not realize how long it’s been since you last pumped your septic tank, or an especially heavy load (such as during the holidays) can take it over the top. There are a few signs that will tell you it’s time to call a septic contractor.

First, if your drains are slow, that’s often a sign the tank is full and the liquid has nowhere to go. You might also notice pooling water or suspiciously green grass in the drain field, which indicates too much water (or raw sewage) is being forced out through the pipes. Finally, if you notice sewage odors indoors or outdoors, that indicates a full tank.

If it’s time for septic tank pumping in El Centro, CA, get in touch with the team at Sharps Sanitation today to schedule an appointment.