Similar to other functioning systems of your home, septic systems require routine maintenance. If maintained, the septic system should provide reliable service for many years. If the septic system isn’t maintained, owners run the risk of dangerous and costly failures.
One of the most important systems within the home that you’ll need to maintain is the septic system. Since leaking sewage is a health hazard, it’s important you know how to determine if your septic tank is cracked or in need of repair.
Warning Signs of Septic System Failure
A septic system failure causes untreated sewage backup to be released and transported to where it shouldn’t be. This may cause sewage to come to the surface of the ground around the tank or the drain field, or it may back up into the pipes of your home or building.
Septic services for septic tank repair may be needed when one (or more) of the following is spotted:
- Water leaking or pooling into the lower level of the home or outdoors
- A foul sewage odor in the home or near the drain field
- Mushy or sunken ground in the drain field
- Standing water in a specific area
- Broken or worn out pieces of the system
- Backups into the home
Common Septic Tank Repairs
Septic Tank Distribution Box
The septic tank distribution box is the name for where the drain field pipes connect to the septic tank. The distribution box is responsible for evenly dispersing liquid waste into the pipes, if this box is damaged, too much or too little liquid can enter the drain field.
Septic Tank Baffle
If the inlet septic tank baffle to the tank is blocked, the inlet pipe from the house to the tank is clogged. If you have access to your inlet baffle opening, you can check to see if there is a clog.
If the septic tank outlet baffle or effluent septic tank filter is clogged this may result in sewage backing up into the home, or possibly surfacing near the septic tank.
If there is an effluent filter this must be cleaned off or replaced. If there is not an effluent filter, fixing this issue will probably require having the septic system pumped to identify and remove the clog.
Drain Field Has Failed
Septic systems involve more than just a buried tank that holds household waste and water. After reaching the tank, water eventually exits through an outlet pipe and into a set of long perforated pipes known as the leach field, septic field, or drain field.
When the drain field of the septic system begins to fail, a fast response makes the difference between relatively minor repairs and a complete drain field replacement. If the the drain field fails, or is saturated with excess water, sewage backups may occur into the home.
Contact a septic service professional. Septic tank repair companies can assess the situation. If the drain field has failed, a connection to the public sewer system may be considered, if it’s a possibility. Otherwise, a drain or leach field replacement will need to be installed.
Defective Septic Tank Seal
Septic tanks are sealed to prevent solid waste and byproducts, such as toxic gases, from escaping. Over time, the seal may begin to crack, whether because of physical or natural, weathering damage to the tank.
Routine septic system maintenance inspections should include a thorough examination of the seal and appropriate septic tank repair, if necessary.
Cracked Septic Tank Concrete Lids
One of the most common areas for cracks is the septic tank lid. This is due to the lid being under constant stress from the weight of the soil piled on top of it.
Structurally compromised septic tank lids pose a danger to anyone who walks on the surface above them. If the lid gives way, then it’s possible to fall into the tank.
Cracks in the Septic Tank Itself
A concrete tank can crack. Small cracks that don’t leak any sewage or take in any water can be left alone, larger cracks must be repaired. Your septic repair technician will have the septic system pumped and clean the tank. The tank will thoroughly dry and then the septic tank technician will apply concrete crack filler to the cracks. Once cured, the tank can safely be used again.
When to Have A Septic System Repair Done?
Some problems can be solved relatively easily. If there is yard standing water or a septic smell between the septic tank and the drain or leach field, it may be nothing more than a broken pipe.
If you have an aerobic septic system that aerates the tank to help break down the waste faster, the beneficial bacteria might have died off.
Often, most septic repair jobs involve fixing a broken or malfunctioning pipe, adjusting a pipe, or replacing a septic tank component. Having your septic tank pumped is an even more common need.
Basically, you should treat septic tank repairs just as you would your average plumbing repair. After a septic tank repair job, it is always wise to keep an eye on the septic system.
Sometimes, when a septic tank nears its end, it can have a series of small problems before the larger costly repairs occur.
Septic Systems Replacement
When you’re facing a total septic failure, be prepared for a septic tank replacement cost. At some point, your septic tank will reach the end of its life. Make sure you know when your septic system was installed so you’ll have an idea of when replacement may be needed.
How Can I Prevent A Septic System Failure?
Routine maintenance and proper operation will help your septic system have a long and hassle-free life.
If your septic system has been properly designed, sited, and installed, the rest is up to you. Inspect your system annually and pump as needed (usually every 3-5 years). Avoid excess water use, and watch what you put down the drain and flush down the toilet, toilet paper only!
Septic Tank Repair Cost
Septic system repair cost ranges $600 to $3,000 on average. Minor septic tank repair cost ranges from $500 to $1,500 to replace the pump, distribution box, or remove roots. Extensive septic tank repair cost ranges from $1,000 to $5,000+ for line repair, septic tank replacement, or drain field rejuvenation.
Based on the septic repair cost ranges mentioned above, it’s worth the septic tank inspection cost to identify and avoid costly repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does homeowners’ insurance cover septic system repair cost?
Homeowners insurance only covers septic tank repair cost for damage caused by disasters, such as a fire, falling tree, or extreme weather. A standard policy does not cover repair or replacement for age, wear-and-tear, or misuse.
When does a septic tank need to be replaced?
A septic tank more than 40 years old, is cracked, needs frequent repairs, or requires pumping more often than normal, should be considered for replacement.
How long does a septic system last?
A septic system lasts 20 to 40 years on average, if properly installed and had proper maintenance. Steel septic tanks typically last 20 to 25 years, while concrete tanks often last longer than 40 years.
How can I avoid the need for septic repairs?
Prolong the life of a septic system by following these tips:
- Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper in the toilet.
- Don’t dump grease, oil, or food garbage down the drain.
- Use drain filters in sinks and tubs and install a septic system filter.
- Minimize water usage with high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, and appliances.
- Point roof and gutter drains away from the septic leach field to avoid slowing down the drainage process.
Can I DIY fix a septic tank?
Minor septic tank fixes are DIY-friendly, like adding beneficial bacteria to the septic tank, but most septic system repairs require a septic system repair professional.
Improperly handled septic systems repairs may lead to total septic system failure, groundwater contamination, or property damage.
Calling a Septic Tank Repair Expert
The average homeowner won’t know whether repairing or replacement is necessary. Don’t worry about figuring out what’s wrong with your septic tank. Always call septic experts regardless of the problem you’re experiencing. Leave that to us, your service professionals. We’ll determine which solution is best for your property, and then resolve the problem promptly.
Contact Delaware Valley Septic, Sewer & Storms for repair or replace your septic tank. When it comes to septic services, we’re the people to trust. Call us today!