Septic Tank Repair Tips for Homeowners in 2023

A properly functioning septic system is essential for any homeowner, but neglecting its maintenance can lead to costly repairs and severe damage. This comprehensive guide will explore the signs of septic tank problems, two common septic tank problems, repair tips, routine maintenance practices, and when to call a professional. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to keep your septic system healthy and prevent costly issues.

Short Summary

  • Identify septic tank issues to avoid costly repairs.

  • Clear clogs and blockages, address tree root infiltration, and take preventative measures for optimal health.

  • Regular maintenance & contact a professional if signs of serious problems occur.

A septic tank with a lid open, showing the inside of the tank

Identifying Septic Tank Issues

Identifying septic tank issues is crucial in maintaining a healthy and functional system. Overlooking problems can escalate them from minor inconveniences to significant, costly repairs. Typical indications of septic tank issues include odours, wet spots in the yard, slow draining, and sewage backups.

For example, a small distribution box is a frequent cause of backup and odour complaints in a septic system. It prevents the effluent from being sufficiently accepted into the septic drain field. When leaks occur in the septic tank, you may notice green, lush grass in contrast to the surrounding dead plants and sewage pooling in the yard.

Odour and Wet Spots in the Yard

One common sign of septic tank issues is the presence of a sewage odour on your property. This unpleasant smell can indicate your septic tank may have a malfunctioning absorption field, a subsurface system that eliminates contaminants from the liquid discharged after passing through the septic tank.

The emergence of new, green grass or weeds in an area previously barren can also be a sign of a failing absorption field. These lush growths may be caused by waste in the septic tank backing up into the absorption field, providing ample nutrients for plant growth.

Slow Draining and Sewage Backup

Another indication of septic tank problems is slow draining or sewage backups in your home. Water reemerging through the drains on the first floor can be a sign of a septic tank issue. A sluggish drainage rate is also a red flag for septic tank problems.

The cause of the backup could be tree roots infiltrating pipes or clogging the drain pipes due to the disposal of non-waste items in the toilet. When rainwater occupies the space where wastewater exits a typical septic system, the septic tank cannot self-clean, causing the wastewater to backflow to your bathroom and sinks.

Key Septic Tank Repair Tips

Addressing any issues promptly is essential to keeping your septic system functioning correctly. Key septic tank repair tips include clearing clogs and blockages, managing tree root infiltration, and using septic-safe products.

Resolving clogs and blockages may require removing various household waste and objects such as cooking grease and oil, paper towels, coffee grounds, dental floss, pesticides, paint thinners, photographic solutions, and pharmaceutical products. Additionally, flushed condoms, feminine hygiene products, diapers, and cigarettes must be prevented from blocking your septic systems and tank pipes.

Cutting the roots and utilizing a root killer can prevent further growth when dealing with tree root infiltration.

Clearing Clogs and Blockages

Resolving septic tank clogs and blockages is crucial for maintaining a healthy system. Methods to address clogs include using a drain snake, a pressurized sewer jetter, pouring hot water into a clogged drain, or combining baking soda and vinegar. Products such as Septic Blast can also be employed to break down organic matter in the septic tank cleaning itself.

If the septic tank has been pumped recently but issues persist, it is likely that a clog exists somewhere between the home and the septic tank, and the location of the clog must be determined. Should a clog be found in a septic tank-pumped well system, it should be cleared out, and if assistance is required in accessing it, a plumber should be consulted.

Addressing Tree Root Infiltration

Tree root infiltration can cause significant damage to a septic system. As roots grow and thrive in areas with ample fertilizer, they can force their way through the entire septic system or the whole well’s inner workings, cutting off water flow and blocking drainage pipes. To prevent damage, it’s crucial to avoid planting trees near the septic tank and absorption field or to choose trees with slow-growing roots if planting in the area is desired.

If tree roots have already infiltrated the pipes, a septic tank and pipe cleaning can be conducted, or a solution can be flushed down the toilet to eliminate existing roots.

A person inspecting a septic tank with a flashlight
An image of a plumber using a sewer snake to clear a clog in a septic tank, demonstrating one of the 2 septic tank repair tips

Routine Septic Tank Maintenance

Routine septic tank maintenance is essential for a healthy system. Regular upkeep, such as pumping out the septic tank every year or two, depending on the number of occupants in the home and the amount of wastewater generated daily, can help prevent expensive damage.

Additionally, it’s important to consult expert septic technicians for regular check-ups, ensuring the septic system works and remains free from blockages and biohazard leakage.

Septic Tank Pumping

Septic tank pumping is a crucial aspect of routine septic system maintenance. Knowing the location of your septic tank is critical for inspection and pumping and to prevent any potential damage due to heavy equipment or other work.

It is recommended to pump out a septic tank every year or two, depending on the number of occupants in the home and the amount of wastewater generated daily. Regular septic tank pumping helps ensure your septic system continues functioning properly and reduces the risk of costly repairs or septic system repairs or failures.

Inspection and Monitoring

Regular septic system inspection and monitoring are necessary to maintain its health and functionality. Septic tanks should be inspected every three to five years. An inspection aims to detect any issues or potential issues with the typical septic tank size or system’s filtration system and absorption field.

During an inspection, technicians use mirrors and cameras to examine the septic system and repair its components. Additionally, adopting water-conserving habits and scheduling high-demand activities at different times can help reduce the strain on your septic system.

When to Call a Professional

While some septic tank issues can be resolved independently, there are circumstances where professional help is necessary. Signs of severe septic tank failure problems include gurgling toilets, sewage pooling in the yard, and foul odours.

In such cases, it is essential to contact a certified septic service to evaluate and repair the septic system. When selecting a new septic system or service, consider the company’s reputation, level of experience, and customer reviews.

Signs of Serious Problems

Indications of severe septic tank issues include foul odours around the septic tank or drain field, sluggish drains, sewage backups, gurgling or bubbling noises, green, spongy grass around the septic tank, and standing water or damp spots close to the septic tank or drain field.

Contaminated well water, algae bloom in nearby lakes and rivers, and hazardous well water can signal septic system failure.

If any of these signs are present, it’s imperative to contact a certified septic service to evaluate and mend the septic system and perform regular maintenance, such as pumping out the septic tank, at least every three to five years.

Choosing a Reputable Septic Service

When faced with severe septic system issues, choosing a reputable septic service is essential. To ensure the company is reliable, verify that it is licensed and insured.

Additionally, consider the company’s extensive experience in the field, as this can provide confidence in their ability to resolve your septic system problems efficiently and effectively.

A person inspecting a septic tank with a flashlight and a clipboard

Preventative Measures for Septic System Health

To maintain the health of organic waste in your septic system, it’s essential to take preventative measures, such as water conservation, proper waste disposal, and refraining from flushing non-waste items.

By implementing these practices on septic pumps, you can help prevent septic system failures and extend the life of the tank that fills your septic tank.

Water Conservation

Conserving water is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy septic system. By installing low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads, repairing leaky faucets and toilets, and doing laundry one load daily instead of all loads in one day, you can significantly reduce the amount of water entering your septic system.

Additionally, installing perimeter drains can help reduce water levels in the absorption field.

Proper Waste Disposal

Proper waste disposal is another essential aspect of preserving septic system health. To ensure appropriate waste disposal, scrape food from dishes into the trash can before rinsing them off, abstain from waste water using garbage disposals, and never put any cooking oil or grease down the drain.

Only flush waste and septic-safe toilet paper, and avoid flushing non-waste items such as feminine products, diapers, and baby wipes. Regularly using baking soda and vinegar can also help prevent the accumulation of blockages in the plumbing system.


In conclusion, maintaining a healthy septic system is essential for homeowners to avoid costly repairs and damage. By identifying septic tank issues, following important repair tips, performing routine maintenance, doing septic repairs, using septic drainfield, knowing when to call a professional, and implementing preventative measures, you can ensure the longevity and functionality of your septic system. Remember, a well-maintained septic system benefits your home and creates a cleaner and safer environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dos and don’ts of a septic tank?

The do’s for keeping your septic tank in good working order include having it inspected regularly, using water efficiently, treating the system with bacteria, and avoiding excessive use of chemical products.

The don’ts include not planting trees or shrubs near the septic tank installation, not discharging garbage disposals, and not washing machines pouring grease down the drain. Keeping these simple tips in mind will help ensure your septic tank system is kept in excellent condition.

What does baking soda do to a septic tank?

Regular use of baking soda in a septic tank is beneficial for maintaining the health and efficiency of the system, as it helps neutralize acidic and wastewater and reduce smells. It can also help to keep lines clear, improve performance and prevent backups.

What is the benefit of a 2-compartment septic tank?

Benefiting from the two-compartment tank is an improved ability to break down solids and liquids, protecting the drain field from a buildup of scum and sludge.

The larger size also means fewer pump-outs are necessary, saving time and money.

How does a two-part septic tank work?

A two-part septic tank comprises two chambers that work together to treat wastewater. The first chamber allows heavier solids, like toilet paper and oils, to settle to the bottom, while the second chamber provides finer solids, such as grease and fats, to settle out.

Essentially, this septic tank separates sewage into liquid waste and solid components, which are treated before disposal.