Septic Inspection in Chattanooga
Maintenance is essential to keep the septic system in your Chattanooga home running smoothly. Septic system failure is horrible for homeowners to experience. Having waste backup into your home or cesspools forming on your front lawn is a nightmare. In order to avoid an incident like this, it’s important to have a routine septic inspection. It’s recommended to perform septic tank pumping at least every three years to clear out sludge levels and refresh the life of your septic tank, therefore a septic inspection should be performed before every septic tank pumping service at the very least. Diagnosing problems early can save your family the headache and expense that comes along with septic failure. Chattanooga Septic Systems offers septic installation, septic tank pumping and septic repair in Chattanooga and the surrounding area.
Chattanooga Septic Systems hires only the most highly qualified professionals with the expertise to detect and fix any septic problem you might come across.
3 Things To Check On A Septic Tank in Chattanooga
Scum and Sludge Level Check
Inside your tank are three layers. On the bottom is where heavy particles settle and accumulate – this is called the sludge layer. The liquids layer sits in the middle and is normally the bulk of the material in your tank. The top has a thin layer of scum from the oils and fats that separate from the waste. Ideally, the sludge levels should remain relatively low, having too much sludge and scum can lead to sewage backups in the home and clogged drain field pipes. When levels rise, pumping can renew your septic tank and help you avoid a costly septic repair bill.
Check the Pipes and other Mechanisms
Over time the components of a septic system can corrode. Mineral deposits and debris can settle into pipes and cause them to clog and rust. When your septic system starts showing signs of failure, a thorough inspection may discover that all you need is a minor septic repair rather than an entire septic installation and replacement. A good inspection can save you thousands of dollars by catching problems early and preventing further damage.
Drain Field Check
During an Chattanooga area inspection our certified professionals will thoroughly check your absorption field. This is the place where all the wastewater drains out into the soil layer. Water pooling in certain areas, strong odors seeping from the ground and/or a rapidly growing patch of grass are all signs that point to potential septic system troubles. Investigating the health of this area will give great insight into the overall wellbeing of your septic system. Catching these issues right away is important. Small problems can quickly turn into big trouble – so the sooner our professionals can diagnose and fix minor issues, the greater chance of long term success. Septic system replacements are very expensive, conducting a septic inspection will let you rest easy.
If you need septic installation, repair, pumping or a septic inspection in Chattanooga or surrounding cities, give Chattanooga Septic Systems a call and schedule an appointment with one of our professionals.
Our Service Area
WHAT DOES A SEPTIC INSPECTION INCLUDE?
- Uncovering the septic system
- Pumping the septic tank
- Visual inspection of tank , lid , baffle tees
- Flushing the toilets
- Checking for signs of back up
- Identifying leaks
- Verifying drain fields are taking water
- Detailed records and Photos emailed at the time of completion
How Often Do I Need Septic Tank Pumping?
A good rule of thumb on septic tank pumping is to have an experienced technician perform the service every 3-5 years, though there are a few exceptions to this rule. New homeowners should also look into scheduling right after moving if an inspection and septic tank cleaning were not performed as part of the real estate closing process or if the former homeowner did not leave detailed records indicating the last time the system was checked out.
You May Need Septic Tank Pumping Performed Annually
Certain factors can increase how often you need septic pumping. For example, homes with a garbage disposal should have it done annually, and large families may need to have it done more, depending on the size of the tank. Commercial or industrial buildings may also need to have it done more often. In these cases, it’s important for the building owner to keep a log with all the septic pumping dates listed, as well as notes on how full it was and if any other septic tank maintenance was performed or not.
Waiting Too Long for Septic Pumping Can Cause Problems
Your septic system works on a few base principles. First, everything enters the tank. Then, the materials begin to separate. Lightweight particles, like fat and grease, will float to the top in a layer called “scum,” while the heavier debris will sink to the bottom, forming what’s known as “sludge.” In the middle, the cleaner liquids are allowed to exit the tank. As the layer of sludge builds up, the solids are able to build up where the water should be exiting. This can cause a huge and unpleasant backup, so it’s always best to schedule septic tank pumping earlier rather than later. When in doubt, pump it out.
Do I Need Septic Tank Cleaning if My System is Fine?
A lot of people think that if their system is running fine, they don’t need to worry about septic tank cleaning. This is an unfortunate, and often expensive, mistake to make. Regular septic pumping increases the lifespan of the entire system and helps prevent backups.
Schedule Septic Tank Cleaning Regularly, Regardless of How Well the System Runs
Residential Systems: Homeowners should schedule septic pumping every 3-5 years, unless they have a large family or a smaller tank. In these cases, it should be done more often. Homes with a garbage disposal should have it done annually. It’s also a good idea for new homeowners to schedule septic pumping and an inspection right after they move in if it wasn’t done as part of the real estate closing process.
Commercial or Industrial Systems: Businesses should always defer to the recommendations of their septic tank maintenance company and to the business’ log book. Each time a company comes out to perform a septic tank cleaning, they should leave a record of when the septic pumping was done and how many gallons were removed. If the tank was at or near capacity, waiting the same length of time between appointments, or even scheduling a bit sooner is good. If there was a lot of space left, the appointments can be spread farther apart.
Avoid Backups and Other Issues with Routine Septic Tank Maintenance
Over time, the bottom layer of sludge will build up, clog the pipes, cause a backup, and will damage the system and perhaps the property around the tank, so it’s important to keep up with the septic tank maintenance schedule. Plus, a technician will examine the system during a septic tank cleaning, and may catch other issues, such as clogged or cracked pipes, before they have the opportunity to wreak havoc.
Do I Call a Plumber or a Septic Company for Drain Cleaning?
Drain cleaning can sometimes be problematic for people with septic systems, simply because it’s tough to know whether septic companies or plumbers should be called in to help. On the one hand, plumbers are great for all your indoor plumbing needs, but septic systems can present challenges they don’t normally get training on or have exposure to.
Always Call Your Chattanooga Septic Systems First
If you have a blockage and you can’t get water to drain, it could be a problem with the pipes inside the house or it could be an issue with a backup or clog where waste enters your tank. Plumbers are great and they know a lot of stuff, but they don’t often have experience dealing with septic systems. They can only diagnose what’s happening inside the house, and they often won’t touch any component of the septic system because they’re not familiar enough with it to diagnose or treat the problem.
Septic Companies are Drain Cleaning Pros
It’s often easy for septic companies to diagnose issues over the phone, based on the types of symptoms that are present. When this isn’t possible, a visual exam of the pipes and system clear up any doubt. Our technicians have a lot of tools at their disposal to aid in drain cleaning, often including cameras, so the area can be checked in a non-invasive way. If the clog is resistant to traditional snaking, hydro-jetting is ideal. This technique utilizes high-pressure water to blast away debris, but in a way that‘s gentle enough that it won’t harm the system or the environment. If the issue is related to the tank or its components, septic companies can clean it out and perform any necessary repairs fast, so your system is functioning normally as quickly as possible.
How Do Septic Systems Work?
When a public sewer system isn’t available, homes and businesses often use septic systems to handle the household’s used water and waste. In these cases, the building’s plumbing isn’t much different, but the waste is handled on-site with septic systems that require regular septic pumping and septic tank maintenance.
Most of the Work is Done In the Septic Tank, Itself
All of the water and waste leaves the building from a central pipe that takes it out to the septic tank. This includes sewage from the toilets, as well as water from baths, sinks, and kitchen use. The tanks may have a single compartment or two compartments that are used in sequence. When the waste and water flows in through the “inlet” of the tank, the “baffle” helps push it down into the tank, so it doesn’t settle on top. Eventually, the solids settle on the bottom of the septic tank, in a layer called “sludge,” while another layer of things like fats and toilet paper float to the top. This is called “scum.” The material in the middle, called “effluent,” is safe to leave the septic tank through the “outlet” where it’s dispersed into an absorption area, often referred to as a “leach field.”
The Leach Field Allows Effluent to Settle Into the Earth
There are a lot of different types of setups for what happens to the effluent when it leaves the septic tank. The area may be referred to as a leach field, drain field, septic field, septic drain field, septic tank drainfield, or septic leach field, but the concept is generally the same with these. The effluent isn’t quite clean yet, and so it’s carried through a series of pipes beneath the soil. The pipes have lots of holes, allowing the effluent can seep out. Any organic material in it is digested by the bacteria that naturally lives in the top layers of soil. A leach field is probably the most common setup, though there are also graywater recycling systems that can be hooked up, and some older homes also use a “soak pit,” which is essentially a hole filled with rocks or gravel.
Septic Pumping and Septic Tank Maintenance Keep a System Running
Understandably, the layers of sludge and scum tend to build up, so septic systems and their pipes need to be cleaned regularly. Most of the time, a 3-5 year schedule is recommended, to keep the system running optimally, but the time may increase if the home has a garbage disposal or if a lot of people are contributing to filling the tank.
Will Septic Pumping Fix a Backup?
Any kind of sewer system issue is undoubtedly unpleasant, but when you have water and waste seeping up through all the drains in your house, it’s unsanitary as well. It’s during this type of sewer system emergency that a lot of people find themselves wondering when they last had septic pumping done and if it will help. There are two main reasons why septic systems backup and drain cleaning or septic pumping could be the answer.
Septic Pumping is Necessary When the Whole System Fails
Ideally, septic pumping should be done on a regular schedule. Depending on how much use the tank gets and its size, it could require cleaning once a year. In order to understand what happens with a full system failure, you have to understand how the system functions.
- Water and waste are brought to the tank through a pipe.
- The materials separate, with heavy waste sinking to the bottom of the tank and lighter materials rising to the top.
- The liquid remains in the center and flows out of the tank into some form of water absorption system, where it is treated by Mother Nature.
If the tank isn’t cleaned, the bottom layer rises and plugs the pipes that distribute the water and lets it out of the tank. The material then flows back into the building and up through the drains. Septic pumping will fix the problem, though additional cleaning and repairs may need to be done to restore functionality of the system.
Drain Cleaning Can Help if the System Has Recently Been Cleaned
The pipes within the system can be clogged when people flush things that they shouldn’t or when they use excess amounts of toilet paper. Sometimes, this collects in the drains, though it often gets stuck right at the entryway into the tank. Professionals who handle drain cleaning with septic tanks often use high-pressure water systems to clear the drains in a safe, effective manner.
It’s Best to Call an Chattanooga Septic Tank Pros
Backed up drains can cause a lot of damage and create very unsanitary conditions. There are a lot of reasons why a system might backup, so it’s always best to call in a pro and have the system thoroughly checked out.
Will a Septic Tank Service Solve a Smell?
Many people consider putting in a call for septic tank service when they start to notice a smell. If you haven’t had septic tank cleaning done in a while, it may well be time to schedule an appointment. Systems should be pumped every 3-5 years, and even as often as annually when a garbage disposal is in use or when a lot of people produce wastewater in the building. However, you may be able to avoid a septic tank service call by checking a couple of things first.
1. Verify All the Drains Have Water in Them
All the drains in the building should have water in the curve. This stops gas from coming back up into the building. Run water in each of the drains, including those in the basement.
2. Make Sure the Vents Are Clear
Septic system vents are usually on the roof of a home and they allow the natural gasses to escape. If you’re familiar with your system and the vents, double check that they aren’t obstructed.
3. Check Gaskets and Screws
Toilets tend to loosen over time or the gaskets get some wear and tear. Take a look at the toilets in the building and make sure they’re secure.
Schedule Septic Tank Service if This Doesn’t Resolve the Smell or if You Notice Other Symptoms
Although these are some of the most common and easily resolved issues, there are a lot of components in a septic system. If none of these fixed the problem, it’s a good idea to schedule a septic tank service call. Equally, if you notice other issues, like water backing up, standing water around your tank or leach field, or hear a gurgling sound coming from the drains, it’s important to place the call right away. Those are all signs of system failure and you’ll want the problem taken care of before any damage is done.