When a septic tank starts to back up on a regular basis despite having it pumped, this is a good indication that the source of your problem is somewhere else in your plumbing system. Diagnosing the problem can sometimes be difficult as many problems have the same symptoms, but a professional can assist you and get your plumbing system working again. Here are three reasons your drains are giving you trouble.
Clear Corrosion Deposits
If your septic system is a few decades old, your drain pipes may be made of materials that are prone to clogging with deposits over time. One common material with this issue is cast iron piping, where corrosion deposits can build up over time, effectively making the space available for water to flow through much smaller. Deposits can also catch things like toilet paper that might have otherwise drained smoothly, which can cause a clog by itself.
If your pipe has a buildup of deposits, this doesn't necessarily mean the pipe itself needs to be replaced. If it's not physically damaged, the deposits can often simply be cleared away by a process called descaling. Not every plumber may have the equipment necessary for this process, however, so if you're looking to save money by getting your sewer pipe cleared out rather than replaced completely, you may need to call around. The good news is this often means your tank itself is fine, and that the primary obstacle is a segment of pipe.
Unclog Drain Vents
Occasionally, what may at first appear to be a clog or water backing up can come from clogged drain vents instead. Drain vents are responsible for regulating air pressure inside your drain pipes to make sure water continues to flow smoothly. Think of how water is emptied from a water bottle if you turn it completely upside down; if air can't move freely, the flow of water gets disrupted.
If your drain vents get clogged or blocked, this will have the same effect as an upturned water bottle. Water will drain very slowly even if the drain pipes themselves are clear. This can give the illusion that your tank is backing up, especially because one vent typically serves multiple drains, such as in a bathroom. Clogs can happen if the vent isn't properly protected at its exit or if pests have made a home inside the vent pipe. Accessing these vents can be dangerous, especially any that exit through your roof, so call a professional for help.
Have Drain Field Examined
Your septic system's drain field is the reason you can go several years between pumps. The drain field lets fluids be absorbed into the surrounding soil, making sure that only solid waste stays in the tank itself. With the average household using close to 100 gallons of water per day per person, and the average household tank only having a capacity of around 1,000 gallons, it would only take a matter of days to fill it completely without the drain field in place.
If your drain field is damaged or otherwise not working properly, its ability to let fluids absorb into the soil could drastically diminish, causing fluids to remain in the tank instead. This means that even if you just recently had your tank pumped, it may already be full again, just not with solid waste. The drain field could be full with solid waste, or it could simply be too saturated with moisture due to weather.
If this happens, having it pumped again can fix the problem temporarily, but your drain field will need to be examined by a professional to see if if it will need to be replaced. If you have tried everything else, call a plumber to check your drain field before you keep paying for pumping.
To learn more, contact a plumbing company in your area like Complete Plumbing.