Why Does My Septic Alarm Keep Going Off?
If you've ever experienced your septic alarm going off, it can definitely cause some panic and confusion; but if that's the case right now don't worry because it does not necessarily mean that there's a need for immediate action.
In the event of an alarm from your septic system, you should try to remain calm. If it's been a while since your last alrm went off and there are no visible signs that something is wrong with any plumbing in or around the house then this may not be anything direly urgent. It might just mean that some sediment has risen about as high up into pipes as possible which means gravity will need more time to do its work before things can get flowing again! This may be the case if the alarm has just gone off once.
But if it keeps going off, then it's a very good sign that something is wrong and it's time to call in a professional plumber.
How Your Septic System Works
It's important to understand how your septic system works and what you can do to prevent the need for costly repairs. There are four basic components of a typical residential septic system:
- soil absorption
- leach fields
- drainfield trenches
- and drainage pipes
Your septic tank is buried underground, somewhere on your property. It's not usually too far from your building and it typically has a drainfield surrounding the tank which helps you to manage any runoff that occurs after heavy rainfall or snowfall in colder seasons because of how much water can come into contact with the ground during these types of conditions
Your home's water (all the water) runs through one main drainage pipe into your septic tank. The water in the tank eventually separates into solids and liquids. The sludge of mud on the bottom is made up mostly of dirt, which settles down as it sinks with gravity through a process called sedimentation. Oil and grease slowly collect at the top of your water tank, eventually stacking on each other to form a layer.
The water that's left in the tank is pre-treated and then flows out of a pipe to be drained.
Why Is There An Alarm On The Septic System?
The idea of having an alarm on a septic system is to alert you if something starts to go wrong or break down in your septic system. The goal of the alarm is to get you on top of any potential problems before they become catastrophes.
Once you're alerted to a potential problem in your septic system, it's important that the issue be addressed as soon as possible. If left unresolved for an extended period of time, this can lead to major problems down the road - so don't hesitate!
What Does The Septic Alarm Mean?
When your septic tank alarm goes off, it means that there's either a problem with the water level OR a problem with the pump in the septic tank. For those homeowners who have electrical-based assisted pumping systems for their tanks, you'll need to take care of any problems quickly because if it's not fixed right away, soon enough bacteria and other unwanted particles will be sitting at the top on your sludge line ready to flow into a nearby stream.
There are several reasons that could be causing the problems with the water level and/or the pump in your septic tank. They are:
1. Clogs - A really common problem when dealing with sewage treatment systems is getting rid of blockages caused by organic matter or objects which accumulate within pipes over time making flow difficult and sometimes completely blocking water from exiting, causing backup problems throughout the house.
2. Tree and Plant Roots - Trees are very much attracted to your sewer pipes because their roots can sense fresh water in the area. The tree's root is then drawn towards any water in your yard and starts searching for a way into the pipe or septic tank, which could lead them right back up to you!
3. Leaks - Septic tanks can leak, and it's not just human waste that does the damage. Septic tank leaks are often caused by cold weather when a cement holding tank cracks or plastic components start to develop holes. Leaks may also occur if rust starts developing at pipes connected to the septic system as well as poor quality construction of older systems like those built with thin metal sheets which corrode easily over time
4. Drain Cleaners - Amongst all the chemical household cleaners that many of us use, drain cleaners can be the most corrosive not only to your plumbing but to your septic system as well.
5. Detergents - If you have a septic tank, it is important to know that surfactants are very harsh on the system. Almost all detergents use this ingredient and they can ruin your water supply if not used correctly. In other words, using too much detergent can harm your septic sytem. Another reason why too much detergent in your wash can be harmful to your septic tank is because cheaper types of laundry soap use fillers, and these are likely to clump up easily and cause clogs in your septic system.
6. Too much water in the tank - If your household tends to use your dishwasher, washing machine excessively and if there is plenty of daily showering and/or bathing going on, well, that's a lot of water that is being used. That can add a lot of water to your septic tank.
Other Reasons Your Septic Alarm Is Going Off
Besides the fact that your alarm may be sounding off to alert you about a problem in your septic system - there may be other reasons it's being triggered as well...
- A malfunction with the alarm
- A problem with the pump timer
- A tripped circuit panel breaker
- An electrical and/or mechanical malfunction with the septic tank pump
- A clogged outflow line
- A problem with the float switch
When it comes to septic tanks, living in a home with one requires both vigilance and upkeep. You'll need to make sure your system is checked regularly for signs of trouble and you must follow the maintenance schedule strictly or else risk having problems down the line; however, as long as you keep up on inspections and work that needs tending-to by following this advice - chances are good that your tank will last many years!
If you have any questions about your septic system or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.