Introduction to Septic Systems and How They Relate to Blocked Drains
A septic system manages human waste and water via a drain pipe for properties without access to main sewer lines.
Septic systems consist of a septic tank that collects raw sewage and a drainage or leach field. The septic tank separates solid waste, allowing liquids to filter into the leach field.
There is an important connection between septic systems and the overall plumbing system. When drains become blocked, backups and flooding of wastewater can occur. Excess water from blocked drains can disrupt the system and risk sewage backup in your home.
Blocked drains, often caused by grease buildup, tree root infiltration, collapsed pipes, or non-degradable items, can compromise septic systems.
Problems with septic tanks, like sewage backups consisting of human waste toilet matter, can flow up through your drain pipes, clogging them. Signs of a struggling septic system include slow draining sinks and tubs, sewage odours, lush grass growth over the leach field, and pooling water.
Households with septic systems in Hunters Hill should maintain clear drains and a functional septic system, particularly after heavy rain and flooding, to prevent plumbing and leach field damage. Check your plumbing regularly as catching and repairing drain problems early helps prevent septic problems and costly tank leach field issues down the road.
Warning Signs That Your Septic System May Be Contributing to a Blocked Drain
There are several key signs your septic system may be causing or contributing to a blocked household drain in Hunters Hill:
Slow or Backed Up Drains
Slow drains or backups in sinks, showers, or toilets may indicate a blockage further in the plumbing line, where sewage is likely causing a clog. A septic system that is full, clogged, or failing can cause sewage to back up through the sewer main.
Gurgling noises near your drain after flushing or running water can signal a septic backup struggling to pass through your home’s pipes. Septic backups create air pockets that make gurgling sounds as waste finds its way uphill into your home’s main plumbing lines.
An overpowering sewage odour backing up into home drains or toilets is a clear sign of a septic-related clog. Septic gases containing hydrogen sulphide and methane can do more than vent out through drain pipes when pressure builds up; they can also cause health hazards.
Wet Spots in the Yard
Wet, spongy soil or pooling over the drain field suggests the septic tank is unable to absorb effluent effectively. Soil cannot absorb anymore liquid waste flowing into the septic tank. This causes fluids to find their way into septic tank out of sink and toilet drain pipes.
Catching these warning signs early and knowing it’s good idea to address your septic issues promptly can stem expensive plumbing repairs from sewage backups down the line. Be sure to get your septic tank inspected if you notice any of these drain blockage symptoms arising.
Common Causes of Blocked Drains Related to Septic Tank Issues
There are a few key reasons why septic tank problems often lead to blocked drains for homes in Hunters Hill:
Overloading the Septic System
Overloading your septic system with excessive waste can result in backups and clogged sewer drains. Every system has a fixed capacity for how much waste water the main drain can process per day. Overloading your system can cause excess water from a compromised water supply, like leaky plumbing or high washing machine usage, to overflow into drain lines.
Tree roots, attracted to the nutrients in septic effluent, can invade and block pipes when too close to your septic tank. They can grow into and clog pipes leading out from the septic tank. Root masses blocking the main household drain or septic lateral lines restrict waste from being able to drain away properly.
Flushing inappropriate items like diapers, wipes, feminine products, cigarette butts, and grease down the toilet can clog up a septic tank. These materials don’t break down, which can get stuck further down the line, blocking wastewater from draining out of the house.
The best way to avoid plumbing disasters is to take preventative measures by eschewing harsh drain cleaner and being careful about what goes into your drains and ensuring your septic tank is regularly serviced. If you notice any signs of a drain blockage linked to your tank system trouble, call a professional plumber right away.
Troubleshooting Tips for Fixing Blocked Drains Related to Your Septic System
If you suspect your blocked drain is related to septic system issues, there are some troubleshooting tips you can try before calling a professional:
Assess the Situation
First, try to pinpoint where the blockage is occurring. Flush toilets, run sinks and tubs, and check for slow drainage or overflowing inside the home. Go outside and inspect for wet spots or signs of trouble at the inlet baffle and outlet baffle, noting water level changes, or detectable sewage odours around the septic tank and leach field.
Use a Drain Snake
Deploy a manual or electric auger snake to clear obstructions in pipes leading from toilets or to the main sewer line.
Insert slowly and pull back debris. Repeat until drain is clear. This may offer temporary relief, a literal clearing of trouble from your hands, until the septic tanks can be serviced.
Flush the System
If snaking the pipes doesn’t solve the problem, try flushing the system with hot water and a septic tank treatment containing bacteria, enzymes, or mild acids that help break down solids. Consult product instructions carefully.
Pump the Septic Tank
If water is slow to drain or waste is backing up despite snaking and flushing, have your septic tank pumped out as soon possible. Be sure to pump out both compartments and check for cracks, as having your tank damage needing repair.
For severe sewage backups or overflow issues related to your tank, immediate professional help is recommended. Signs of serious septic failure require emergency service to prevent further plumbing damage or contamination.
Preventative Maintenance to Avoid Drain Blockages in Your Septic System
Taking preventative measures is crucial for avoiding drain blockages and maintaining an efficient septic system in Hunters Hill. Here are some key maintenance tips:
Install a Filter Basket
Place a filter basket or screen over all drain pipes connecting to your septic tank. This acts as an effluent filter, catching hair, food scraps, and other debris before entering and clogging the tank systems.
Pump Septic Tank Regularly
When you use your septic tank, ensure you pump out solids from all chambers every 3-5 years to avoid a blocked septic scenario. This prevents excessive sludge buildup that drains can back up or flood the leach field.
Use Water Efficiently
Repair leaky faucets and toilets, stagger laundry loads, and avoid long showers to protect your septic tank systems. Excess water can make a negative impact on your septic system’s processing capacity.
Keep a record of maintenance, pump outs, and repairs for your septic system to track and resolve issues.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Steer clear of commercial drain cleaners, oils, paints, and bleach being poured down drain that kill beneficial bacteria inside your septic tank system or contaminate the groundwater on your property.
Make sure you take preventative measures with your septic system to minimise the occurrence of blocked drains and protect your home’s plumbing for lasting performance.
When to Call a Professional Plumber
Calling a professional plumber is crucial when dealing with drain or septic issues that are beyond your technical skill level to resolve on your own. As a Hunter’s Hill resident, be sure to reach out to your local licenced pro for assistance with the following scenarios:
Sewage Backing Up Into Home
If you have sewage overflowing from toilets or drain pipes inside your home, this indicates a major blockage or septic system failure needing immediate attention. Professionals have the tools and expertise to clear clogs, safeguarding the comfort and health of your family, and get your system working again, so they don’t damage your pipes.
Septic Tank Not Draining
A septic tank drain that fails to clear, holds standing water, or emits sewage odours likely has an internal problem requiring repair. Attempting to unclog it yourself with chemical drain solutions or by pumping could cause further damage.
Significant Leach Field Issues
Standing water or soggy soil over your leach field may mean collapsed drain lines, clogged pipes, excess solids, or soil saturation issues. This requires professional diagnosis and remediation like drain repairs or full-system replacement in severe cases.
Water Backing Up Into Sinks/Showers
If snaking the pipes doesn’t improve drainage in multiple fixtures, a sewer drain backup is likely responsible. Professionals can assess and clear blockages, also addressing any septic system failures causing sewage backflow.
For assistance with blocked drains or a malfunctioning septic system, Hunters Hill residents can contact Hunters Hill Plumbing. Timely repairs prevent further contamination and expensive plumbing repairs down the road.