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When to Have Your Home Septic Tank Pumped Out

Unsewered developments, remote properties and older homes may rely on the use of septic tanks to dispose of household wastewater.

Although some areas will no longer permit the installation of a septic system, if mains wastewater disposal systems are not available, septic tanks are the most common wastewater system used.

However, to handle household waste effectively, these systems need regular pumping and maintenance.

Septic tanks that are left untreated can be the culprit of serious and costly problems. As the system accumulates waste, the volume of the tank is reduced.

To prevent diseases and ensure a safe disposal of household waste, septic tank maintenance is vital. Sewage produces disease-causing parasites and microorganisms. These contaminates can be detrimental to your health and safety.

No matter the size of your septic tank, regular maintenance will promote good health and contribute to financial savings. If you decide to sell your property, a system that hasn’t been well-looked after can affect property value.

Home septic tanks are not cheap. To minimise problems, homeowners should know when to have their septic tank pumped out. Here are some tips to help with septic tank maintenance.

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Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Septic Tank

Your home’s septic tank is a sealed round or rectangular container underground. You can locate your system through the original tank permits or by speaking with the team at Tunnel Vision.  

Although it cannot be seen from inside your home, there are sure signs of a septic tank that needs scheduled or emergency maintenance. These include:

  • Strong and unpleasant smells (rotten egg-like gas is common)
  • Toilets and drains are struggling to clear
  • Grass around septic tank area is darker green and thriving well
  • Liquid waste overflows
  • Wet areas near or on top of septic tank

If your septic tank hasn’t been pumped or maintained in the past 12 months, it may be time for a health check.

How Often Should it be Pumped Out?

If you notice any of the above warning signs, your septic tank isn’t working properly and probably needs to be pumped out.

On average, home septic tanks should be pumped out every two to five years to ensure the system is in good condition. However, a septic tank pump-out may be required more often.

This is dependent on two essential factors:

  1. How many litres your septic tank holds
  2. How many people it services / how many people in your household

It’s also normal for your home’s septic tank to overflow or become blocked. However, having the system pumped out can help.

Periodic septic tank pumping will help with the following issues as well:

  • Eliminates bad odours
  • Prevents sewer and drain blockages
  • Minimises discharge of raw sewage
  • Prevents damage to pumps and/or sand filters clogging
  • Prevents slow draining showers and sinks and toilets that won’t flush

What’s Involved in Having a Septic Tank Pumped Out?

In Western Australia, our septic systems generally consist of one single tank or two tanks connected by a pipe. The latter are designed to be used by up to 10 people. However, all septic tanks have sets of drainage receptacles known as soakwells or lead drains.

Failure of septic tanks usually means failure of the drainage receptacles.

Septic tanks are given a health check by measuring the sludge and scum layer. Because many systems are buried, you may need to engage with a professional to expose your home’s tanks and inspect sludge levels.

Once the levels are recorded, the septic tank is emptied. Time and costs for this process varies, depending on the size and location of your tank. The tanks are then pumped and our technicians will re-examine for any damage. Your septic tank will be re-sealed when all maintenance is finished.  

Septic Tank Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Regular maintenance can help you avoid overflows of waste and septic tank emergencies.

To prevent smaller problems make sure you properly dispose of waste and implement the following tips:

  • Don’t put harsh chemicals or paint down the drain
  • Avoid planting trees and shrubs with deep roots near your septic tank system
  • Use a trained technician to pump the system
  • Don’t flush items down the toilet
  • Conserve water through Energy Star appliances, fixing leaking faucets and repairing running toilets to maintain an efficient system
  • Allows as little fat and grease into drains

Having your home’s septic tanks pumped is paramount maintenance to the system. To arrange a health check on your system or find out more information about septic tank pump outs, contact our trained professionals today

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