One of the most stressful thing for a homeowner on a septic system can be when the tank backs up. You may have no warning at all. You may be in the middle of a shower, washing clothes, or handling other tasks like flushing a toilet. When the septic system backs up, water will begin to build up and flow back into the house. This means that sewage from the septic tank can start to flow back as well. The big issue is that many homeowners do not know what to do outside of calling an emergency plumber. Here are some of the steps to take and what to expect if this happens to you.
Find a Plumber
The first step you need to take if your septic tank is backing up is to call your emergency plumber. It may seem like common knowledge, but for most homeowners, the need to turn off pipes or plunge the sink is a knee jerk reaction, but hold off. Make sure to tell the plumber what is going on and what areas of the home are currently affected. They will tell you how long it will take them to arrive and the steps to take, if any, before they get there.
Turn Off Water Based Appliances
Water based appliances refers to items such as dishwashers and washing machines. If the item uses or pulls water, make sure to turn it off. This is especially important, and often overlooked, with refrigerators that have ice makers and water dispensers. Remember, if the water is backing up into the plumbing, it can also contaminate the water going into these appliances. Also, block off any use to those areas in case water has already backed up into the appliance or plumbing. You do not want children or pets near the contaminated area.
Reduce Water Damage
If an area is becoming flooded, take the steps to reduce the chances of water damage. This means laying down towels around areas that are flooding. You may also want to consider using a shop vac to remove the water from the area, if you have that sort of machine handy in your tool shed. Your emergency plumber may encourage you to do these steps so they can clearly see if there are other issues, like blockages, causing the septic tank to back up.
Remember, if your septic begins to back up, try not to plunge it, especially if the water is backing up in other drains of the home such as showers and sinks. Call your emergency plumber as soon as possible and have them handle the rest. If you aren't sure if your traditional plumber does emergency calls, contact them to find out so you are prepared in the case of an emergency.