Having a septic tank is common if you live in a rural area without access to a local city sewer system. While they can be a great way to handle the sewage from your home, septic tanks do require maintenance over time to keep them running properly. Since the septic tank is located underground, it can be difficult to know for sure when it needs servicing. That is why it is important to be aware of 5 warning signs that your septic tank requires a cleaning.

Sewage Backups

The most obvious sign your septic tank needs cleaning is sewage backups in the home. This can happen with any drain in your home, including the shower, sinks, and toilet. Using a plunger is simply not enough to fix the problem, as it is the most urgent sign that your need septic tank cleaning.

Water Above Your Drain Field

If you have noticed water collecting on the ground above your septic tank's drain field, it could be from your septic tank being over capacity. If the sewage is not backing up into your home, it must be going somewhere, and it will usually find its way out of the tank first if there is a place waste can seep through outside the home.

Not only is this a sign that you need septic tank cleaning, but it also could mean there is a problem in your septic tank that needs to be fixed.

Unhealthy Grass Growth Above Your Drain Field

Before your drain field starts to flood, you may notice that the health of your grass in your drain field has started to diminish. Grass should have no problems growing above a properly functioning septic tank, but rising liquid levels from a septic tank could harm the grass.

Slow Drains

Before your septic tank gets to the point of overcapacity, there will be a decreased speeds when water drains down showers, sinks, and toilets. You will typically see these problems with all your drains, and not just one in particular.

It is always a good idea and do your due diligence of trying to fix any possible clog by using a plunger, especially if it has not been that long since your last septic tank cleaning. This will make sure the slow draining is not clog related.


Your septic tank holds the wastewater from all the drains in your home. This is why you should pay attention to possible odors coming from any drain, especially bathroom sinks that do not see typical sewage waste go down the drain. Odors are a sign that a septic tank is full, and can be noticed in all the drains in your home.

By being aware of these 5 signs your septic tank needs cleaning, you will know when it is time to have a professional come clean it out for you.