Septic Tank Filling Up Abnormally Fast? It Could Be a Hole in Your Pipe

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When you live with a septic tank, you have a general idea of how long it will take for that tank to need to be emptied. After all, if you wait too long you can have spillage in your yard, and that's something that no home owner wants to deal with. But if you've noticed that your septic tank seems to be filling up faster than it used to with no major change in the way you and your family utilize your home plumbing, it may indicate that there's a problem with the pipes leading to the tank. Here's what you need to know.

What's Happening

Under normal circumstances, anything that leaves the drains of your house goes out through a pipe from the house to the septic tank. This is a sealed, controlled system so that nothing gets out of the tank and nothing but what you're draining and flushing from the house goes into it.

Unfortunately, if there's a hole in the pipe, this may not be working the way that it should, especially when it rains or if you water your lawn. Any water that drains through the ground and reaches the pipe can potentially enter the pipe, filling your septic tank faster than it should. This is particularly problematic because you have to spend money to have your septic tank emptied, and without help, you'll be paying for that a lot more often.

How It Gets That Way

There are a few ways that pipes leaving the house can be damaged and develop holes.

One possibility is that the pipes are old and falling apart. Many older homes haven't had their pipes replaced since the home was built. In these cases, the pipes may be breaking down or corroding, and may have developed a hole as a result.

Another possibility is that earth movement has caused the pipe to split open. This is usually more common in areas that have earthquakes, but it can potentially happen anywhere.

Lastly, tree or plant roots may be penetrating the pipe. When a tree grows overly large and its roots are growing over the pipe, if they continue to grow downward, they can punch a hole in the side and grow straight into the pipe.

Getting Help

If there's a hole in your pipe, a plumber will be able to tell and find it. The good news is, they might not have to dig up your yard to do this. Plumbers can put a camera down through the pipe to look for damage, evidence of plant life, and holes in the pipe. If minor damage is found, your plumber may be able to repair it from inside the pipe using special tools. If the damage is bigger or the pipe has come apart due to earth movement, it may be necessary to dig down to the pipe to repair the damage.

Pipes are one of those things that go unnoticed until they stop working the right way. If your septic tank is filling up too often, consider getting help from a plumber before the problem gets worse.

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