What You Should Know About Your Septic Tank Alarm

If you're not familiar with the design and function of your septic system, you may be surprised to know that it is fitted with an alarm. It's important that you understand not only what this alarm is, but what it signifies when it goes off. Here's a look at the basic operation of the septic tank alarm and what you should know about dealing with it.

Why Do You Need a Septic Tank Alarm?

In a gravity-fed septic design, the waste water flows from your house to a holding tank. Then, the solids settle in the bottom of the tank and any overflow water will flow through the provided outlet pipe into a drain field. If your system is pump-operated, this process is completed when a float in the tank activates the pump. In either case, this part of your tank's operation is important, because if the wastewater stops flowing to the drain field, you're going to have an overflow or a backup in your plumbing. A septic tank alarm alerts you when this process isn't happening as it should be so that you can address it before it becomes disastrous.

How Does the Septic Tank Alarm Work?

The septic tank alarm is connected to a float of its own. That float is wired to an electrical circuit with a backup power source, so the alarm will still operate even if the well pump is without power. When the water level in the septic tank reaches the level set for the alarm, it activates. The alarm itself could be located on the tank, in the basement, in your storage shed, or even on the outside wall of your home. Make sure you know where it's mounted so that you know if you need to check somewhere periodically for alarm activation.

What Does It Mean When the Septic Tank Alarm Goes Off?

If your septic tank alarm goes off, it means that the water isn't flowing the way that it is supposed to. That's an indication that the pump is malfunctioning or you have a clog in your gravity-fed lines. If you have a pump-operated tank, it may mean that you need to reset the power breaker for your pump to get it working again. In some cases, it's an indication that the pump has failed and needs to be replaced. If you've had particularly heavy rains, it may mean that your drain field is clogged and cannot absorb more waste water. If this is the case, you'll have to shut off the pump and not use your plumbing system until the drain field dries out and can function again.

Talk with your septic tank technician about the alarm that's installed on your septic tank. Make sure you know where it is and how to respond when it goes off. In most cases, the best thing to do when the alarm goes off is simply to call your septic tank specialist, such as Country Well & Pump Inc, for an evaluation.