A septic tank alarm going off can cause confusion, even panic. If you happen to have experienced that, you shouldn't have to worry too much because this doesn't necessarily demand immediate attention. It's still a good idea to take your time and go through this guide to learn what to do next.
How Septic Systems Work
Septic tanks have an alarm system that works in coordination with their main system. The alarm is meant to warn you whenever the water levels within the pump tank have dropped too low or risen too high.
In most cases, septic systems with pumps come with a timer installed. This timer plays a vital role in managing the time within which the pump should pump wastewater.
Note that the wastewater is directed into the drain field. The essential time intervals usually happen at specific times of the day. This prevents the drain field from becoming overflowed at any point. Increased water use could be one cause of the overflow, meaning you should be very careful with the entire system.
Identifying the Problem
When excessive water is being introduced into the septic system for whatever reason, it won't have anywhere to go other than the pump tank. As a result, the water levels will significantly increase inside the pump tank until the timer allows the pump to come back on.
Given that the timer only allows the pump to turn at specific intervals, it may take several pumping cycles before water is pumped back down to normal levels. This depends on how high the water level continues to be introduced into the system.
Possible Causes of Septic Alarm
One of the potential causes for the alarm to go off is excessive water being introduced into the septic system. This is possibly due to excessive water usage, something like doing excessive loads of laundry. It could also be due to doing an abnormal amount of dishwashing or too many long showers.
Another possible cause is groundwater finding its way into the system. If there's too much stagnant water, probably due to a heavy downpour or another cause, it starts accumulating around the septic tank. This water can potentially seep into the water tanks and significantly increase the internal water levels.
Furthermore, there could be a problem with one of the septic system's components. It could be anything, floats, pump, alarm, or timer. Any faulty part could make the septic system not function effectively. This is why you should be very careful when you hear the septic tank alarm.
What You Should Do When the Alarm Goes Off
If the septic tank alarm goes off, the best thing to do is switch on the alarm box or push the red button. This will instantly turn off the alarm. You should find a green light or red light located somewhere on the alarm box. The green light is a sign that the alarm is powered and should always be on.
On the other hand, the red light indicates that the alarm is getting a signal from the pump tank. It also shows that the water level is rising significantly or dropping lower than it should be.
After that, you should check the septic breaker to ensure that the system has power. If the breaker is on, check and see whether there is stagnant water around the septic tank. You should let the septic system run a couple of pump cycles and see whether the red light on the alarm disappears.
During this time, you should minimize water usage as much as possible. If the red light disappears on its own, it is an indicator that the septic system is working efficiently. All you need to do is catch up with the excessive water flow and help contain it.
However, if the red light doesn't go off, you should get in touch with your septic company. Keep in mind that an alarm signal from the septic doesn't always mean that sewage is going to back up immediately. This is why you need to keep a keen eye on the entire septic system.
Having your septic tank alarm light on simply means that something may be a miss. Even if everything seems to be running just fine, we recommend talking to your septic tank company. You don't want to run into issues when it's too late.