What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Septic Tank

Septic Tank Dude Author at Septic Tank Dude
Jack has been working all of his life in the septic tank maintenance, cleaning and pumping business. In 2020 when COVID hit he decided to retire from pumping septic tanks and use his knowledge to help out readers of Septic Tank Dude. Jack has a wealth of knowledge to share on septic tanks, leach fields and much more.
Jack Cacy

cleaning a septic tankA septic tank is an expensive piece of equipment to break down and can cause major problems inside and outside your house that can cost tens of thousands of dollars for example too many solids or sludge. Homeowners who have septic tanks must maintain their tanks on a regular basis to keep them operating properly. When homeowners are unsure on how to operate their septic tank, they may not see the benefit or the importance of scheduled maintenance. There are certain risks associated with not maintaining a septic tank which can result in major problems for the homeowner if action is not taken quickly.


How Do Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (Septic Tanks) Work?

A septic tank is a large underground tank that can contain hundreds of gallons of wastewater. Standard sizes for septic systems include 1,000 gallons, 1,200 gallons, 1,500 gallons as these match the standard household sizes in the US. The septic tank is connected to the home’s plumbing system via the mainline. This pipe collects wastewater from any drain within the house including sinks, toilets, washing machines, showers, and bathtubs and sends it to the septic system.

When the wastewater reaches the septic tank, it separates into three components: solids at the bottom (sludge), water in the middle, and fats and oils at the top (scum). The sludge in the tank is broken down by bacteria, turning it into a liquid.

Near the top of the septic tank is a pipe called an outlet pipe that leads to an area of the property called the leach field. Many septic systems have two internal tanks, the first is used to store solid waste and wastewater. As the wastewater increases it spills over into the second tank or chamber, leaving the solid waste in the first chamber. When the wastewater in the second compartment reaches this pipe, it flows into the drain field and is filtered through the earth. The earth cleans the water for you, preventing contamination of groundwater in the region.


What happens if you don’t have enough bacteria in your septic tank?

A common problem with septic tanks is a lack of GOOD bacteria. In order for the solids or sludge to be converted into wastewater to be properly filtered in the drain field, there must be enough microbes in the septic tank to break down all of the sludge and other matter. When this does not take place, you will start seeing a number of issues that can lead to expensive problems for you. Essentially the bacteria in the system do the septic tank cleaning.

A lack of bacteria in the tank will cause the solids to build up, causing your septic tank to overflow and backup into your home. It is important to prevent this by using a natural bacteria septic treatment once a month so that this does not happen.


don't wait for your septic to fail, prevent it


What Happens When the Septic Tank Is Pumped?

When the tank is not maintained properly with a septic system treatment, sludge and scum levels will be elevated with sludge accumulating in the bottom of the tank. Even though bacteria aids in controlling sludge levels in the tank, it isn’t quick enough to totally process sludge and keep the tank clean unless you use a high bacteria treatment tablet monthly. Sludge is removed from the tank via a big suction hose when it is pumped by a septic pumping company. All of the solid and liquid waste is removed from the septic system. To learn more about what to do after your septic system has been pumped read this article – “What to do after septic tank is pumped


What Are the Dangers of Not Pumping Your Tank?

We have all heard homeowners bragging that they have never had their septic tank pumped in 25 years and it still works fine. The reality for septic system owners is you want to reduce the risk of a serious failure or expensive failure leading to costly maintenance and even replacement of your tank. The solids will accumulate in the tank if the tank isn’t pumped, reducing the tank’s holding capacity. Finally, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a blockage.

Once your outlet pipe or leach field pips are clogged, homeowners may see some of the following symptoms:

  • A foul smell in the house and backyard
  • Gurgling sounds in the pipes when you flush or run water
  • Liquid starts coming back into sinks, tubs and toilets.
  • Some saturated areas and some dry areas in the drain field
  • Septic tank overflowing

These issues don’t take long to become severe. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it is time to get in a professional to diagnose the problem before major damage or family health is put at risk. Call 888-814-2654 today for a free, no-obligation quote with a fast turnout time.

Septic Tank cleaning or pumping quote

When Should You Pump Your Tank?

Many states or counties in the US mandate a certain number of years that a licensed septic tank company pump out a septic tank. If your county does not regulate this, most homeowners require a septic tank cleanout every 3-5 years depending on how much water the household uses and the size of the tank. If your septic tank is not the right size for your household or you have a lot of people living in a house, or you have extended your house this could necessitate pumping more often. For more information on what to do after your septic system is pumped.

How much does it cost to pump your septic system?

The septic tank pumping cost will vary from state to state around the United States. We find that costs vary from $250 to $500+ depending on your location and the size of the septic systems. If you would like to get a fixed septic tank pumping cost you can call a septic professional on 888-814-2654 for a no-obligation free quote for a septic tank clean or septic system pumping.


Who to contact if you have problems with your septic system

A problem will vary from one household owner to another, the best course of action if you are unsure if your septic tank is working correctly, or if you have sewage backing up into your house, or just bad odors in your house is to call a septic tank repair professional on 888-985-3421 for nation wide, fast service in all states.


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