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I've lived in my home for 11 years and it was built in 2002. I have put Rid-x in as I should. What signs/symptoms should I notice when it needs to be emptied?
 

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I would say the usual signs like sewer backing up, drains taking longer/slower than usual to drain, pooling of water in yard depending how it's plumbed, etc.

Just as a general guideline it's best to have your septic pumped out about every 5 years or so even if there are no signs. Just a suggestion and my opinion only.
 

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Naildriver
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Our house was built in the 70's, and we've lived there 20 years without a pump. Granted we are due for the obligatory 5 year pump many times over. It's just the two of us, and we watch water usage, and use enzymes, too.

Sure indications will emerge by back up in a lower level shower usually. But it's too late, by then. I'd go to the county health department and obtain a plat of the septic permit showing the measurements to the tank from the house corners. You can save $100+ if you locate the tank and have the doors exposed for the pump company.
 

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I would say by the time you see signs it needs pumping it is too late. The sludge will have infiltrated and ruined the tile bed.
After 11 years I would have it pumped. The pump person will tell you how bad it was and if it could have gone longer. Use that to judge when to pump next.
 

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A properly operating septic system isn't going to give you any signs that it needs pumping. If it does, then the damage is probably already done. Having your tank pumped is preventive maintenance to keeping the system operating properly and last as long as possible. Around here, it costs $175 to get it pumped out. Last year, I had the company put in a riser and a cap so they wouldn't have to dig out the tank lid every time. Now they just have to remove the cover, lift the concrete tank lid and pump it out. I think the riser cost $100. I have it pumped out every year but only because I rent the home out a few weeks in summer and I don't want to worry that the renters flushed something they shouldn't have. So it's cheap insurance.
 

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Usually Confused
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Agree that if you wait for signs that the system is no longer working (back-up, ponding, etc.) , it's too late.
We had a back-up once at a previous house. Luckily, it was because of a blockage at an elbow in the feed line from the house and not a problem with the system itself. Also luckily, it was primarily discharge from the dishwasher and not after a night of burrito-fest.
We have ours pumped every 5-6 years - it's cheap insurance and not that expensive (I dig out the lids). Our municipality requires a pump/inspection every 7 years with a copy of the report filed with them, so I'm always ahead of their schedule.
 

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We pump ours out every summer...
 

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JUSTA MEMBER
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Here it is mandatory to have a pump out riser and cap installed at the time of tank installation.

And you should have a double clean-out in the line from the house to the tank, that way rooter service can access the line in case of a blockage.

Putting the enzymes in helps to break down the paper and solids, and if the leach field is working proper, there should not be any problems.

Having it pumped every 5-8 years is a very good idea, as a prevention tool.


ED
 

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The bacteria in a regularly used septic tank is sufficient without adding anything. Generally the only time additives are needed is in seasonally used systems that don’t get a fresh supply of s—-.
 

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Naildriver
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This is what saves you money on pumping.....not having to locate it and not having to dig down to the lids. I think both cost less than $150. I put these on our former rental cabin.
 

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retired painter
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I live on top of a steep hill and it's difficult to get a pump truck to my house. While a truck can come up my road - most truck drivers are scared and won't try. It took me 7-8 yrs of trying [on/off] to get a pumper up there. If I remember correctly I was charged $325, I already had the lid exposed. That was the first time the tank was pumped after 25 yrs of service. It wasn't as bad as I expected. BUT our kitchen sink and washing machine don't use the septic system and I empty a packet of yeast into the system every month or two.
 

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Around here for maintenance pumping, the going time between pumps told to everyone by the experts (assuming a sand mound system) was two years, but I had a new system built 18 months ago and the official pump recommendation on the septic permit was every three years. I know some who have gone 19+ years without pumping and no issues.
 

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Everything I've ever read says don't bother with Yeast and/or Rid-x. If the system is functioning properly, no additives are needed.

I agree with many of the other posters. 1. Once you know you need to pump, its too late, and 2. Do it every 3 to 5 years depending on use as preventative maintenance.

Where I live the local government is mandating a pump every 3 years or they can fine you.
 

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Local ordinance requires us to pump the tank at our house every four years.

Owned our hunting camp for 22 years, don't even know where the tank is, never tried to find it, but it is used sparingly.

If I need to locate a tank, or one of the inspection pipes, I use a pitch fork when the ground is soft.
 

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JUSTA MEMBER
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I once spent 4 hours digging , looking for a tank, before striking it.

then had to dig it out to find the place for the cleanout pipe to be installed.

The dumb SHEEPHERDER that installed it never put in a cleanout.

A stupid thing to do.

But now it is accessed easily, it has a decorative flowerbed around it.:vs_smirk:


ED
 

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I've lived in my home for 11 years and it was built in 2002. I have put Rid-x in as I should. What signs/symptoms should I notice when it needs to be emptied?
I live in Georgia and the Georgia Board of Health recommends emptying the tank every 7 years. The Federal USDA recommends once every 9 years. My tank was emptied in October of 2012 after 11 years, and at the time, the pumper stated that it didn't need to be emptied. However, I asked him to check the discharge line into the drain field and he found that it was partially collapsed which he was able to reopen.

As a single with family visiting from time to time, 10-11 year intervals may be sufficient. Homes with more than one person residing will need more frequent pumping. My home was built in 1990 and in February 1994 we had a backup into the house. The backup occurred at the base of the master bath toilet through the wax seal. Immediately following the backup, I had a plumber come out and camera the drain line from each collection point, the main line exiting the house, and a view of the drain entering the tank. The camera found two problems- 1.- water was backing up from the tank, and 2.- the master bath tub drain assembly was not glued (tub closest to the septic tank) and tub water was collecting under the slab. The first remedy was to install a new drain field deeper into perk-able soil. And then to hire a plumber to install a new glued tub drain. During the time of the construction of the new field, I had to have a septic pumper come twice to empty the tank as 3 people filled it in a just a few days.

After the new drain field and plumbing repair, we found out that the soil scientist erred in his depth calculations for my lot and two other neighbors which was why my original field failed prematurely.
 

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After the new drain field and plumbing repair, we found out that the soil scientist erred in his depth calculations for my lot and two other neighbors which was why my original field failed prematurely.

Scary!!!! A relative's neighbor is replacing their tanks and that house is only 3-4 years old!!! Really bad when professionals mess up that much.
 

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In the septic system we have, I’ve been alerted that the septic tank is getting full (for whatever reasons) by the fact air starts gurgling/bubbling up in the toilet usually when shower or tub is draining. I guess air that is trapped in line gets pushed back up into the main sewer line and the toilet is the first plumbing fixture that it makes contact with coming into house. Since we have a newer septic tank, it incorporates a filter on the outlet draining into leach field. Both times we’ve had to have septic serviced, this filter is so clogged with debris that hardly any water can pass through it. This happens about every 3 years (septic tank was new when we moved in - only been in home 6 years - 3 adults and one grandchild). Lots of showering and baths, plus washing machine use seems to be the culprit. I have mixed feelings about this filter as it seems it should be readily accessible for cleaning since it is a major factor in stopping the water reaching drain field. Many homes here don’t have this newer filter system and they go many years without problems. However I do realize it’s improved to keep the waste solids out of the drain field so I guess the filter serves a good purpose - it just needs to be more easily serviceable IMHO.

I recently had risers put on but that’s another story for another time. Grrr....
Hope this helps in some manner!
Gary
 

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In the septic system we have, I’ve been alerted that the septic tank is getting full (for whatever reasons) by the fact air starts gurgling/bubbling up in the toilet usually when shower or tub is draining. I guess air that is trapped in line gets pushed back up into the main sewer line and the toilet is the first plumbing fixture that it makes contact with coming into house. Since we have a newer septic tank, it incorporates a filter on the outlet draining into leach field. Both times we’ve had to have septic serviced, this filter is so clogged with debris that hardly any water can pass through it. This happens about every 3 years (septic tank was new when we moved in - only been in home 6 years - 3 adults and one grandchild). Lots of showering and baths, plus washing machine use seems to be the culprit. I have mixed feelings about this filter as it seems it should be readily accessible for cleaning since it is a major factor in stopping the water reaching drain field. Many homes here don’t have this newer filter system and they go many years without problems. However I do realize it’s improved to keep the waste solids out of the drain field so I guess the filter serves a good purpose - it just needs to be more easily serviceable IMHO.

I recently had risers put on but that’s another story for another time. Grrr....
Hope this helps in some manner!
Gary

For safety, you may want to request that the local fire marshal check your bathroom where the gurgling and bubbles are located for any methane gas as the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) in a structure is only 1.25%
 
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