Signs Your Septic Tank is Full


Many people are unaware that they have a septic tank until it’s full and overflows. But how do you know if your septic tank is full? In this post we’ll cover the signs you may come across if your septic tank is full, and what you should do about it.

8 Signs your septic tank is full

  1. Water spilling – If you notice that water is spilling over onto the floor of your septic tank or bubbling up at 1 or more places in your yard, this could be a sign that the tank is full. The wastewater should be going into the drain field and not spilling out of the tank.
  2. Drain field failure – This occurs when all of the space in your system’s drainage fields is filled with wastewater. At this point, there is nowhere for the excess waste to go, so it backs up into your home and overflows.
  3. Sewage backup – Another sign your septic tank is full is sewage back-ups in your home’s plumbing system. When the space in the septic tank fills up, a backup will spill into your home’s plumbing system. This will cause a sewage or waste problem in your sink(s) and/or toilet(s).
  4. Standing water – If you have a drain field, one of the obvious signs that a septic tank is full would be standing water in this area. If there is no longer any space for the excess wastewater to go, some of it will come up into your yard. Drain fields are usually covered with some kind of gravel or pebbles to help water filter more easily into the ground. If there is standing water on top, this means the drain field has reached capacity.
  5. Bad smells – A lot of homeowners know that a sewage problem is present if their homes have a bad smell. Sewage problems cause unpleasant odors, so it’s wise to take notice whenever your home doesn’t have its regular clean smell.
  6. Hearing your water drain – One of the main signs that wastewater is backing up into your home’s plumbing system is because you hear water draining throughout the house. If you notice this, shut off your main drain line immediately and contact a qualified plumber to inspect your drainage system.
  7. Slow drains – If your drains are not draining as fast as they used to, this may be a sign that the wastewater is backing up. If you have slow drainage or experience it after flushing your toilet, there may be a problem with the septic tank and you should call a plumber immediately.
  8. Overly healthy lawn – If you have a septic tank, a good indication that it is full would be an overly healthy lawn. Plants and grass will not grow in a place where wastewater is present. If your grass has been thriving lately when it shouldn’t be, this could mean that the wastewater from your home is backing up into your yard.

Can a full septic tank cause gurgling?

Yes. Gurgling in your plumbing system is a common problem that could be caused by several different things, but one of the most common causes is a full septic tank. In this case, the tank will have nowhere to put the wastewater, so it backs up into your home’s water supply and creates gas pockets within these pipes.

Can I shower if my septic tank is full?

You definitely cannot take a bath and you should not shower (unless your tank is on a lower level than the rest of your home) if there is no wastewater going into the drain field. If you have any doubts about whether or not your septic system is working properly, call a qualified plumber to come out and inspect it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

How to figure out how full a septic tank is?

The best way to do this is to obtain a septic tank inspection from a qualified plumber. He or she will be able to determine if your system needs pumped out and how much wastewater is in the tank. Your plumber will also make sure that everything else with your drainage system is working properly.

How to fix a full septic tank?

A full septic tank can be fixed in several different ways. Your system may simply need to have its tank pumped out if it has never been done before, but you may also need to install a brand new sewage ejector pump, depending on the severity of your problem. If your entire drain field is filled up with wastewater, you will likely need to install a new one. This is usually the most expensive fix, but also the best choice for maintaining your home’s plumbing system and protecting your yard from damage.

While it may seem like a difficult and costly process, having your septic tank pumped out and/or repaired by a professional should only take a few hours to complete.

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