Do I Need to Pump Out My Septic Tank Before Hosting Guests?

by Team HomeServe
pumping septic tanks from the backyard tank in the countryside

Having guests stay in your home is always exciting, but you may have failed to consider the strain a few extra inhabitants will put on your home’s systems — like your septic tank. Nothing can stop a party in its tracks quite like sewage backing up in your drains, so it's important to know when to pump your septic tank to avoid ruining the festivities.

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If your guests aren't used to staying in a home with a septic tank, you can reduce the likelihood of problems by providing advice about how to use the fixtures correctly. Make sure there are trash cans available for anything that can't be flushed down the toilet. Pumping your septic tank before your guests arrive can also help avoid an unpleasant emergency.

Should You Pump Out Your Septic Tank Before Hosting Guests?

Whether you need to book septic tank pumping before hosting guests depends on the size of the gathering and when you last had your septic tank pumped out. Pumping your septic tank before you host reduces the strain on your leach field because it gives wastewater more time to settle inside the tank. Therefore, it can reduce the likelihood of septic tank problems while you host.

When you know that you're going to have guests to stay, check your records to see how long it's been since your last septic tank pumping. If it was a couple of years ago or longer, try to schedule septic tank pumping before they arrive. It's also a good idea to pump your septic tank if you're hosting a lot of guests overnight because more people using your drainage system will increase the demands on your septic tank.

Should You Pump Your Septic Tank After Hosting Guests?

If you pumped your septic tank before you hosted guests, you probably don't need to do it again after they leave. However, if you were unable to arrange a pumping before they arrived and it's been a while since your tank was pumped, it's worth arranging septic tank pumping once the party's over as increased water usage will have put more strain on your system. You should also arrange septic tank pumping after hosting guests if you notice signs that your septic tank is full.

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What Are the Signs That Your Septic Tank Is Full?

The most obvious signs that your septic tank is full are foul smells coming from the drains and sluggish drainage. In the worst-case scenario, you may end up with backed-up sewage in your drains. If you notice any of these things, schedule a professional to pump your septic tank immediately and avoid using plumbing fixtures until everything is fixed up.

Another, less noticeable sign of a full septic tank is if your lawn looks particularly healthy in the area above the septic bed. You may also see pooling water in this area. This is a sign that fluids are seeping out of the septic bed, and your tank needs to be pumped.

How Often Are You Supposed to Pump Your Septic Tank?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should have your septic tank pumped every three to five years. However, you should have it pumped more often if you regularly host large gatherings or your household uses more water than average. Using water as efficiently as possible and avoiding flushing items such as feminine hygiene products and wet wipes down the toilet can reduce the likelihood of overwhelming your septic system.