If your home has a septic system, you may have a septic alarm installed. This alarm will let you know when your septic tank is beginning to become too full. Continue reading to find out what this means and what you need to do to solve the problem.
Why do septic systems have an alarm?
A septic alarm is designed to let you know that something is wrong with your septic tank. The alarm will usually let you know when the water in your septic tank has dropped too low or risen too high. Either one of these can be signs of serious issues.
Do all septic systems have an alarm?
No, not all septic systems have to have an alarm. It will depend on the type of septic system that you have. If your septic system has a pump that pumps the waste into your drain field, it will need an alarm. However, many gravity-fed septic systems do not have to have an alarm.
What are the potential reasons for the alarm going off?
An alarm going off will mean that your septic system either has too much water or not enough water. Here are some common causes:
Clogs: Clogs may be prevalent and can cause issues with your sewage disposal system. If there is a clog in your drainage field, then water can back up into your septic tank, which will cause there to be too much water in the septic tank which will set off your alarm.
Tree and plant roots: Because of the freshwater, tree and plant roots are attracted to your leach field and septic line. Once they reach your septic lines, they will try to find a way to get into the pipes. If they succeed, then that will mean that they can begin to clog your drain and cause your sewage to back up.
Leaks in your septic system: Septic tanks can develop leaks just like anything else. Cracks can develop in the concrete, holes can form in the plastic, and any metal can rust quickly when subjected to moisture.
Drain cleaners: Drain cleaners can be very bad for your septic system. The harsh chemicals in a drain cleaner are highly corrosive to your drain lines and your septic system. And they may kill the good bacteria that are helping your sanitary provisions operate correctly.
Detergents: If your home has a sewage system, you must be aware that almost all detergents have surfactants. Surfactants are added to laundry detergents to break up and dispel the dirt and stains on our clothes. They are used to stir up and pull the debris off of your clothing that would not usually be able to be dissolved by water alone.
Surfactants can be very harmful to your system and cause you many problems. The chemical structure of surfactants can slow down the breakdown of the solids in your septic tank. If this happens, it can cause the waste to build up and eventually overflow your system.
Cheaper detergents are even worse because they contain those same surfactants, but they will also have filters. Fillers can cause your drainage field to clog up and give you much more serious issues. Fillers are used in laundry detergent to make it more pourable or easier. Some fillers used may be made from such things as clay, which can harden as it passes through the sewage pipes and cause your system to clog.
Too much water: Your alarm may tell you that too much water is entering your system. This could be as simple as doing too much laundry or taking many showers.
Groundwater getting into the system: If you have too much water standing on your property, then it is possible that the water can seep into the septic system and cause the water level to rise.
Other reasons your alarm might be going off
Maybe your septic system alarm is not going off because of a clog or tree roots. Perhaps it is a system component that is giving you the issue.
- The alarm is malfunctioning
- The pump timer may have an issue
- A tripped breaker that feeds the pump with power
- If the pump has some mechanical or electrical failure
- A problem with the float switch
Why is my septic alarm going off repeatedly?
Your alarm regularly sounding could be a severe issue that requires a plumber, an issue listed above, or it could be a more straightforward fix like we will list here.
Weather issues: If you are experiencing excessive rain, it can cause your septic system not to be able to drain correctly, or it could cause rainwater to seep into your tank and cause the water level to rise.
False alarms due to electrical issues: If your home has had a power flicker, it could cause your alarm to go off. If your home is prone to electrical problems or frequent power flickers, this could become a regular issue.
Over usage of water: You may be using more water more quickly than your septic system was designed for.
Accidental disconnection: If for some reason the connection has come apart, even for just a moment, it will cause the alarm to go off. If your alarm goes off, it is always good to check your electrical breaker and sensor connections at the switch box to ensure that everything is connected securely.
How do I reset my septic alarm?
If your alarm is going off, you will want to contact a plumber to ensure that there are no severe issues. If you’re going to shut the alarm off, there should be a red button or switch that will allow you to silence the alarm.
There will also be a green light on the switch box that, when lit up, tells you that the switch has power. This light should be on at all times.
How do you keep it from going off again?
If you have recently experienced your septic alarm going off, you may want to discuss what is wrong with a septic system expert. Depending on your issue, it may range from pumping your tank out to beginning to replace the drain field.
Your septic system expert will be able to guide you through finding out what is wrong and how you can fix it.
If you’re sure that it’s not a clog causing the issue and it was due to an electrical connection or unplugged sensor, you will need to find a way to ensure that it will not be able to happen again.
Have you had issues with your septic alarm? Has your septic alarm saved you in that past? Let us know in the comments below.