Can I Shower if My Septic Tank Is Full?

September 30, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

The idea of a septic tank being “full” is a bit of a misnomer. Because all of the water from your home flows into the septic tank, it will technically become full fairly quickly. But most of what fills it is actually water, which is cleaned and dispersed into your drain field. If you’re curious about the relationship between your septic system and your shower, or are wondering whether you can shower when the septic tank is full, read on to learn more.

How septic tanks work

As mentioned, all the water from your home eventually flows into the septic tank. Once there, the solids are separated out as they naturally sink to the bottom of the tank. Floating waste like oil and other debris remains on the top of the water level.

Septic tanks are often separated into two compartments. The first compartment is where wastewater enters, and the second compartment is where it is filtered and flows out to the drain field. The drain pipe is separated from the entry side with baffles and screens to ensure minimal waste enters the drain field.

Septic tanks will generally be full of water, with waste at the bottom and “scrum” at the top. The tanks also contain enzymes and bacteria that break down the waste. While they are technically full most of the time, there are instances where they may not be draining properly into the drain field, which can cause the level to rise above normal. This is when your septic tank needs to be pumped.

How to tell if your septic tank is too full

Here are some warning signs of a full septic tank:

  • Slow drains: If the water in your home is draining slowly, it might be a sign that your septic tank is full. This is especially true if you notice multiple drains in different parts of the home with the same problem.
  • Sewage backup: Sometimes the septic tank will skip the slow drainage sign and go straight to backing up the pipes in your home with sewage. This is quite disgusting, and avoiding the possibility of this happening is reason enough to stick to a regular pumping schedule.
  • Pooling water: If you notice pooling water in your drain field, or abnormally green grass in a certain area of your lawn, it might be a sign that your septic system is beginning to overflow.
  • Funky smells: When there’s a bad odor lingering in the air outside your home, or perhaps even inside your home, it might be a sign that the septic tank is full. This is caused by gases escaping through the ground or up through the pipes into your home.

To answer the question about showering when the septic tank is full, consider what you mean by “full.” If you suspect that it’s full in terms of needing to be pumped as soon as possible, then it’s probably wise to try and shower as little as you can until that happens. But if it’s full in terms of normal operation, then you’re probably fine. If you notice some warning signs of a full septic tank, contact Cleveland Septic to schedule a pumping appointment right away.

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