Moving into your first home with a septic system means learning not only how to care for the tank and keep the system flowing, but also how to respond to septic tank alarms. Most people who are new to septic systems don't even realize that they come with an alarm, leaving them uncertain about how to respond if it goes off. Here's a look at what you need to know about the septic tank alarm and how to respond to it.
What Is The Purpose Of The Alarm?
Your septic tank needs to be able to cycle water overflow into the system's drain field through a pump or gravity-fed system. In most situations, this process is controlled by the use of a float in the tank. If the waste water isn't flowing into the drain field for some reason, it will lead to a backup in the septic tank, which can back up your plumbing. The alarm alerts you if the tank isn't draining properly so that you can address the problem before it leads to a mess.
How Does The Alarm Work?
The alarm operates based on a signal from a separate float in the tank. The float is attached to an electrical circuit, and it has a backup power source so that it still functions when the power supply is interrupted. The alarm is activated when the float reaches the level determined by the system, indicating that waste water is backing up in the tank.
Where Is The Alarm?
The alarm's location will vary from system to system. Ask the previous homeowner or your septic tank maintenance technician to show you where it is. Sometimes, it's located on the septic tank itself. In other cases, it can be installed in your basement, on the exterior wall of the house or even in an outside storage shed. Make sure that you know where it is so that you can monitor it.
What Should You Do If You Hear The Alarm?
If you hear the septic tank alarm, that means that the waste water isn't flowing out of the tank. If the system is pump-operated, try resetting the breaker for the pump to see if it starts the system again. Otherwise, you'll need to call a septic tank technician to evaluate the condition of the pump and assess your drain field for clogs.
Talk to your septic tank specialist, one like Schlegelmilch Plumbing & Well Drilling, about the alarm on your septic system. Make sure you know where to find it and how best to respond if it goes off. He or she may even provide you with an emergency number to call for more urgent response.