"My septic system alarm is going off. What do I do?" DON'T PANIC
Septic Systems with pumps should all have alarms systems installed. An alarm system will give the owner warning when the water level in the pump tank is rising more than it should be. All septic systems with pumpsshould have some sort of timer installed. The timer controls when the pump is allowed to pump waste water into the drainfield. This is to prevent the drainfield from being overdosed during periods of increased water usage. When a drainfield is overdosed it can damage the drainfield. Timers prevent this from happening. Timer systems allow the pump to run for a specific amount of time at key times during day (generally morning, noon, and evening). If for some reason there is a lot of water being introduced into the system between the pumping cycles, the water has no place to go except into the pump tank. The water level will rise inside the pump tank until the pump can come on again. Since the pump is only allowed to come on for a certain amount of run time, it can take several pumping cycles to pump the water back down to the normal level depending on how much water is being introduced into the system.
This can happen from three different things:
1. Too much water is being used. Several loads of laundry, increased amount of dish washing, a lot of long showers are all reasons that can cause too much water usage.
2. Ground water is getting into the system somehow. A lot of rain may cause puddling. If too much puddling occurs around the septic tanks the water can leak into the tanks causing the water level to rise inside of the tanks.
3. Something may be wrong with one of the septic systems components. The pump, floats, alarm, timer, etc.. may have something wrong that is not allowing them to work together properly.
The best thing to do when the alarm is going off is to push the silence button on the alarm box. This will turn off the audio alarm. There will be a red light and green light located on the alarm box. The green light should always be on. The green light means the alarm has power. The red light means the alarm is getting a signal from the pump tank that the water level is getting higher than it should be. Next, check the septic breaker to make sure the septic system has power. If the breaker is on, then check to see if there is any water puddling around the septic tanks. Give the septic system a couple of pump cycles (12-16 hours) to see if the alarms red light goes out on it own. Try to use as little water as possible during this time. If the red light goes out, the system is working properly. It just needed to catch up with the additional water that was introduced into the system. If the red light is still on after 12-16 hours give us a call during normal business hours and we will set up a service call immediately. A alarm signal does not mean sewage is about to back up into the house. Alarms are installed to give you 24-48 hours of normal usage until sewage will start to back up. If the alarm is going off, reduce your water usage to a minimum. This will allow the pump to catch up quicker. If something is wrong, reduced water flow will ensure there is plenty of time before sewage backs up into the house. We usually have service technicians on site within 24 hours.