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Man Pumping An Underground Septic Tank

Signs of a Full Septic Tank (And What to Do Next)

When compared to sewer systems, septic systems present innumerable advantages. Septic systems are clean, sustainable, reliable, and affordable, and with regular maintenance some septic systems can even outlast your residency in a home. 

But while sewers belong to a community, homeowners are wholly responsible for their septic systems. Septic owners have to shoulder the upkeep themselves and must keep in contact with a trusted maintenance company.

Septic systems can operate for decades without issue, but one crucial bit of regular maintenance will be required every 3 to 5 years–emptying your full septic tank. 

By watching for signs of a full or filling septic tank, you can extend the operational life of your system by untold years. But what to look out for? How will you know when the time has come?

Signs of A Full Septic Tank

The usual window for emptying your septic tank occurs every 3 to 5 years. Depending on your usage, the size of your family home, and how careful you are about what you flush/drain, you may need to schedule a tank pumping at the lower or higher ends of this timeframe. 

Even so, there are other signs to watch out for.


Trusting your nose can take you far if you own a septic system. 

Odors in your sinks, showers, or toilets can tell you a lot about your septic system’s overall health. While a small odor may result from waste in the pipes, a strong fecal odor (especially from sinks or showers) is a pretty clear sign that your tank is full or filling. 

Odors may also intensify on or around your property but especially at the site of the tank itself.


Listening to your drains and toilets may provide valuable information. 

Frequent or intensifying gurgling may be a sign of a backup. You may even hear your toilets struggling to flush even average liquid waste. 

Listen to your pipes, drains, and toilets. Does it sound like everything is clearing with ease? Or is there a struggle somewhere below in the pipes?


You won’t be peeping into your opened septic tank anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t literally watch for signs of a full tank.

Odd though it is, an unusually lush lawn may be a sign of untreated waste leaking into your grounds from a full tank. Standing puddles (especially during dry months) are also a pretty good sign. If these standing puddles smell badly or appear oddly discolored, you may need to pump your tank.

Trust Your Instincts

Just living in your home makes you more of an expert on your home than anyone else. You know how it should smell, sound, and look. If something keeps catching your attention when you shower, brush your teeth, or flush the toilet, you may need to observe a little closer.

Septic systems are durable and can operate under less-than-ideal circumstances, but that’s no excuse for ignoring signs of struggling or putting off regular maintenance. By forging a relationship with a reliable, local septic maintenance company, you can protect your investment and your family in one fell swoop!

To schedule septic maintenance or learn more about the signs of a full tank, call Economy Septic today!

Municipal sewer systems have an army of government contractors and employees dedicated to their maintenance, but your septic system relies on you and your trusted maintenance company. Keep your septic system healthy by looking out for the signs and investing in regular care. For more information, or to schedule an inspection with Economy Septic today, call us at (256) 435-1086!