Is it a Drain Problem – or a Septic Problem?

Certain problems with your septic system can present initial symptoms that appear to be related to your household drains. Lakeland Septic Company of Lakeland, FL, would like to share some helpful information about how septic problems often mimic household plumbing drain problems.

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A quick drain-problem primer

All kinds of things can cause household sink drains and toilets to run slowly. Here are some of the most common:

  • Buildup of soap scum
  • Collected fats, oils, and grease
  • Hair clogs
  • Tissues, napkins, paper towels, and feminine products
  • Hair clips, container caps, makeup applicators, and other foreign objects
  • Tree roots breaking through the pipes

All this can lead to slow sink drains, backed-up toilets, or both. Problems with your septic system can also cause sluggish drainage.

Septic-related drain issues

Septic systems work by receiving waste from the drains in your home and processing it in the septic tank. Solids stay in the tank to be pumped out later, while liquids are sent on to the drain field, where they are eventually returned to adjacent soil.

Any part of a septic system that fails can make household sinks and toilets run slowly and eventually back up and cause major problems. Here are the main reasons for septic-related drainage issues.

Damage to the main sewer line

The main sewer line is the pipe that carries waste from your home to the septic system. Often made of clay, this pipe can become damaged and lead to household drain backups. Common causes of damage to a main sewer line include:

  • Old age
  • Tree roots
  • Heavy equipment driving over it
  • Earthquakes and major soil shifts

Clogged baffles

Most septic systems include intake and outlet baffles that keep waste flowing efficiently into and out of the septic tank. Baffle clogs can slow or stop the flow and lead to sluggish draining up the line inside your home.

Clogged baffles can’t be unclogged with a simple store-bought cleaner. You need an experienced septic service company to handle the problem.

Fortunately, you can reduce or prevent baffle clogs by not putting foreign objects, such as those listed in the “drain-problem primer” above, into your sinks or toilets.

Full septic tank

If you wait too long to have your septic tank pumped out, it will become too full and cause backups throughout your home. Septic tank pumping should be scheduled every three to five years, depending on the size of your tank and the amount of waste it processes.

Drain field failure

A damaged drain field can lead to various issues back up the line, including slow drains in the home. If the septic tank is allowing excess solids to seep into the drain field system, backups will occur. Excess solids can also reduce the drainage capacity of the soil adjacent to the field. As with septic tanks and piping, drain fields can be damaged by heavy vehicles and equipment driving over them.

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Your first clue that it’s a septic problem and not a household drain problem

If you’re experiencing backups in a single sink or toilet, the problem is likely in the plumbing for that fixture. If all sinks and toilets are running sluggishly, you’re probably looking at an issue with some part of the septic system.

Solve your septic problems

Lakeland Septic is ready to help with all types of septic-related issues that affect the sinks and toilets in your home. For fast, professional service, call us at (863) 738-0504. You can also reach out with our handy contact form.