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How To Tell If Septic Tank Is Full

By August 29, 2022March 29th, 2024Home Maintenance, Septic
Get your septic tank emptied often.

Owning a septic system requires a lot of attention and a complete maintenance schedule. You wouldn’t want any issues to arise with your septic system. Noticing a foul stench coming from your yard is a clear warning sign that you have a septic system issue. In addition, if you are noticing that your grass is really thick and dark near your septic tank, another issue could have risen. How to tell if septic tank is full? Pooling of water, slow drainage, a plush lawn, or an awful smell, you need to empty the tank.

Let’s take a look below at what the various signs are that tell you a septic tank is likely full.

Septic tank in a new construction.

What Is A Septic Tank

Septic tanks are created for homes that do not have access to a city sewer connection. The concept of a septic tank is to collect and hold all of the solid waste that is discarded down a toilet, kitchen sink, or garbage disposal. Although your septic tank is typically very large, you will need to get it emptied before it gets too full.

How Do I Know There Is A Problem

There are a variety of ways to determine if a septic tank is full. Ideally, you will want to conduct preventative maintenance on the septic tank before it ever becomes too full. Additionally, like any other electrically controlled item, a septic tank could experience some issues. Let’s take a look at the tell-tale signs that you need to empty your septic tank:

  • Pooling of water – when your drain field becomes flooded, this is the result of a blockage or full tank. The water will begin to overflow from the tank and become noticeable as standing water in your yard.
  • Slow draining – whenever you notice the shower, sinks, and toilets are not draining quickly, this could be a result of a full tank or a clog. If there is a clog, use a solid waste drain cleaner that is made to help loosen up the waste and create a better water flow.
  • Foul odor – as you approach the home and begin smelling a foul stench near the septic system, or around your home, there is a definite issue. Call your local septic system company to inspect the septic system.
  • Plush yard – as water overflows from the septic system, your wastewater begins to naturally fertilize the yard. Your grass becomes greener and thicker due to the increased nutrients it is receiving from the waste.
  • Sewer backup – letting your tank get too full can cause a sewage backup or backflow of waste into your home. This could cause major damage and become a very unpleasant mess. Always monitor the flow of water when flushing or running your sink faucets.
  • Gurgling sounds or bubbles – the moment you start to hear gurgling water coming from your pipes, it is telling you it is time to have your septic tank pumped out. Do not delay and allow it to go too long without being serviced.
  • No success flushing – another sign that your septic tank is either full and needs to be emptied or has a clog. This should be handled immediately in order to avoid any further damage to the home’s plumbing system.
Plush green grass could mean a full septic tank.
A plush long typically means an overflowing septic tank or a leak.

How Much Does It Cost

The national average cost to have your septic tank emptied is around $400. In some cases, you might see a higher charge of $885. Also, make sure that you are saving money off to the side for your septic tank needs. Keep in mind that failing to put money aside for your tank emptying can end up costing you big down the road.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you understand the warning signs of when to empty your septic tank, you can conduct some more research in the home. If you purchased a home with a septic system and the previous owners had a garbage disposal installed, you might want to remove it. Using garbage disposal could reduce the effectiveness of your septic system.

Next, getting an understanding of how much a septic inspection might cost is a great idea. At some point, you will need a septic inspection and should have the knowledge to put some money aside for this to occur. Going too long without a septic inspection could end up costing you a lot more in repairs.

Lastly, understanding how to pass a septic inspection is key to properly maintain the septic system. Make sure that you read up on the ins and outs of a septic inspection so that you are prepared to answer any questions that the septic inspector might have.

Call a professional to empty your septic tank.
Septic tanks often need a professional to conduct repairs.

When Do I Call A Professional

Always remember the moment that you experience any foul smells, pooling of water in the yard, or slow water flows in the home, call a professional. Also, reach out to your local septic system service company to have your system maintained and emptied. If you aren’t sure who is reputable, call your local home inspection team out to inspect your septic system.


Any time that you need outside maintenance on your home, call on your local home inspection team. They can inspect the inside and outside of your home and recommend all maintenance needs. Also, if you recently had your septic tank emptied and are still experiencing some issues, your local home inspection team can come out and conduct a sewer inspection. Reach out to Alpha Building Inspections and they can inspect your septic system in Merrimack, NH, and surrounding areas.