Remember the scene from the movie “Meet the Parents” when the septic tank overflowed into the yard? Yuck! Sewer and septic line problems are things that no one wants to face, but nearly every homeowner has to deal with them at one time or another. Our septic and sewer lines provide an invaluable service: flushing wastewater out of our homes. But if something goes wrong, it’s important to recognize the signs of minor problems before they become bigger ones – and a major headache.

1) Soggy Bottom Blues

Does the ground above your septic line feel a little swampy? Is there unexpected mud or pooling water near the tank or in your basement? If so, it’s very likely that these are symptoms of a septic line failure, or potentially, a break in the line. If not diagnosed and fixed quickly by a professional, you may experience sewage back-up problems.1 And, with back-up problems, that can lead to…

2) Slow Draining In Your Home

Your sinks barely drain, your toilets don’t fully flush; it smells…(Yup! That smell!). These are signs that there could be a septic or sewer issue or debris build-up.2 First, let’s hope it’s the latter. If it is, there are a variety of DIY remedies to fix the problem: a drainage snake, repeated plunging, or chemical agents.3 If it’s not a debris built-up, it’s time to call a professional to properly inspect and solve the issue.

3) Pain at the Pump

Some septic and sewage systems rely on a well-functioning pump. Without proper maintenance, pumps can easily fail. Look for signs outside and inside your home. For example, look (and feel) for sogginess or liquid waste around the tank. Do you notice the distinctive smell of sewage?4 Also be vigilant inside the home. Watch for leaky faucets and sinks and water coming from the bottom of the toilet. To reduce these common problems, shorten the length of showers, don’t wash your clothes every day and spread out laundry loads over time.5 And in the future, as a failsafe, have your septic system pumped at least once a year.

Septic and sewage issues are best dealt with immediately so they don’t grow into bigger and more expensive problems such a sewage backup into your home or basement. Make sure you keep on top of local septic regulations and have your system serviced regularly. This will help you make sure your septic and sewer lines stay clear, functional, and issue-free.