I truly hope this page finds everyone well. Chances are if you are looking at this page, you are getting a septic alarm.
Now for the big questions:
What does this septic alarm mean?
It can mean a couple of things:
1. It means your septic system is experiencing a “high-water” event and is unable to get the water out, or process the waste.
2. If you have a timer then you may have given your septic system too much water to process and it simply needs more time to catch up.
3. You could have a leak and are taking on ground water, and the system is just simply unable to keep up.
So, What do I do?
First and foremost, stop running all water; no laundry, dishwashing, showers, toilet flushing, or anything else that requires water as all drains lead to the septic system. When this alarm goes off it means a pump may have stopped working and septic backup into the house is eminent.
At this time you will need to call an onsite septic maintenance technician to determine what type of system you own. The most important information we will need is the type of panel that is alarming. Your local septic maintenance technician will know all the types of panels and if you need to access it then don’t worry, it’s on the side of the house or in the garage and has never seen sewage or septage.
Scenario Number 1, assuming you “Don’t” have a timer and are strictly “On-Demand” dosing, please stop running all water. In most cases this type of system will not clear itself, instead there are be 4 things that could be
- It can be as simple as a tripped circuit breaker, or a tripped GFI. This will save you the most money: un-trip it and if it happens again there is something wrong that requires further inspection. A service call runs $125.00
- It can be a dead “on/off” float switch. This is what tells the pump to come on and if it fails to turn the pump on the sewage level will set off the high water event alarm. The repair is usually $150 dollars to replace.
- It can be just a bad pump. Pumps only last in a septic system for about 10 -15 years, so do not let this one throw you completely off guard. A repair will usually run anywhere from $400-$600 dollars.
- It could be plugged transport lines to next components or plugged components. Unplugging the next component can range anywhere from $325 and up, depending on the system. This can be avoided if the system is flushed out annually by someone certified. Our annual inspection, which will include flushing of components as long as proper equipment was installed during installation, is $125.00
Scenario Number 2 involves a timer controlling how much waste water your system is allowed to handle. With this system you will have to work closely with your Onsite Septic Maintenance Provider.
- You could have simply fed your septic system too much water. Stop running all water inside the house, wait for 6-8 hours, and if your alarm does not clear itself then follow Scenario Number 1 for troubleshooting.
Scenario Number 3 involves a ground water intrusion leak. Rain or surface water is getting into your system causing it to hydraulically overload. How do you find out if your taking on ground water? This is a bit complicated to explain, but I’ll do my best.
- Your Onsite Septic Maintenance Provider will have a dissolved oxygen kit. At this point we start to look like lab-technicians instead of septic maintenance providers. We pull samples from all over your septic system to find out where ground or surface water is getting in. For example, your septic system should have zero dissolved oxygen in the water. Septic means no dissolved oxygen in the water. If we take samples from the system and get zero dissolved oxygen everywhere until as certain point then, just like that, we found the area of the intrusion. Leaks for the most part are easy to fix but hard to find.
I truly hope this helps everyone in understanding the Septic Alarm. If you have a question that I may have not answered please go to the upper right hand corner of the screen and submit a message to me. You don’t need to provide me with any personal information and email is optional, but if you need immediate assistance please include a phone number or an email address to ensure speedy service.