If you move into a home that has a septic system with a pump in it, you'll want to know where the pump alarm is located. It might be against the side of the house, in the garage, or even under a sink. It will be in or near the house so you can hear and see the alarm when it goes off. Here's a look at why your septic tank has an alarm and pump and what to do when it goes off.
Why Your Septic Tank Has A Pump And An Alarm
Some septic tanks rely on gravity alone to drain waste from your home. Waste drains into a holding tank and then on out to the drain field. When the drain field is higher than the holding tank, the water has to be pumped out instead. This is done with a submersible pump that is in the last chamber of the tank and placed beyond filters so solids won't clog it up.
The pump cycles on and off periodically and runs for a set time so the water is frequently drained from the tank. If the water level in the tank gets too high, then the alarm is triggered so you can investigate the situation and take action if necessary before your septic system starts backing up.
How To Deal With A Pump Alarm That's Flashing
When you hear the alarm go off or when you see the red light flashing, you should immediately start conserving water. The alarm doesn't always mean there's a problem that needs repairs from a professional. The tank might be too full because of a heavy rain or because you recently ran more water than usual through your drains.
The situation could resolve itself if you limit the amount of water you use for a day or two and allow time for the pump to cycle on and remove water. If the alarm goes off and stays off after a day or two, then you'll know the problem was due to a temporary increase in water flow to the tank.
If waiting and conserving water doesn't fix the problem, then you'll want to call a septic system service to check your tank as soon as possible. When the alarm goes off, you'll have a short window before the tank gets full and starts to back up. It doesn't happen right away, and if you only use minimal water, you can delay it as long as possible, but the tank could overflow within a few days if you don't get professional help.
Septic System Repairs That May Be Needed
When a professional looks at the tank and pump, they may find the pump is bad and needs to be replaced or that it needs to be repaired. It could also be clogged up with solids if a filter failed. The filters may need to be cleaned or replaced. There might also be something wrong with the float valve or the pump timer that keeps the system from working like it should. Septic tank services can often locate the source of the problem and make repairs so that your septic system works as it should.