Why Your Household Drains are a Window into Your Septic System’s Health

Posted on: January 31st, 2017 by mike No Comments

A slow or clogged drain can often be more than just a nuisance; if you have a septic system, it could be an indication that something has gone wrong. Oftentimes, when your septic system is failing or there is a clogged sewer line to the system, one of the first signs you’ll see is that drains are clogged or very slow to drain. So, how do you know if the cause of your drain problem is your septic system? Be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • The problem is sporadic. Oftentimes, when drain problems are linked to septic system clogs, drains may seem to work normally until there is a surge in usage, such as when using a washing machine. This is because when water usage is light, wastewater will flow down into the main drain line or sewer line where they are essentially stored until they are able to slowly seep past the blockage. However, in heavier usage periods, the wastewater accumulates faster than it is able to make its way past the blockage and flow through the pipes. As a result, the drain will back up. For example, you may find that the drain in your kitchen sink backs up while you’re doing a load of laundry.
  • You hear strange noises coming from the drain. If your drain keeps making a loud gurgling noise, it can be an indication that the outside sewer line or waste piping is partially blocked. As wastewater slowly seeps past the blockage, it will often produce a pronounced gurgling sound.
  • The drain is emitting a foul odor. When water in a drain starts to backup, it can emit a strong, foul odor. If your drain smells of sewage, or if water with a sewage smell backs up from your drain into a sink or bathtub, for example, you likely have a septic system problem on your hands. If sewage water is trapped in the pipes, your drain may also be emitting sewer gases. This can be a serious health hazard as well as a nuisance, as sewer gases contain methane.
  • You’re having problems with more than one drain. If you’re having problems with all of the drains in your house, it’s unlikely that all of them are clogged. Rather, the issue is much more likely to be a clog in your septic system.

If you are noticing drain problems that you believe may be indicative of a larger problem with your septic system, you’re best to get a professional out to evaluate the situation as soon as possible. Remember, the longer you wait to address the problem, the worse it will become, which translates into more expensive and inconvenient repairs.