If the previous owners of your home had the septic tank cleaned out before you bought the house and you've lived in the house for a few years, it could be time to call the septic cleaning service again. A septic tank fills up eventually and needs to be cleaned out or sewage will back up in your house or your yard. Here's a look at what septic cleaning services entail.

Knowing When To Clean The Tank

If you have a large septic tank and live alone, you could potentially go for several years until the tank gets full and needs to be cleaned out. However, local regulations may require a septic tank inspection every few years, and your tank has to be pumped out for the inspection.

If many people live in your home, the tank will fill up much quicker than inspections are needed. This can leave you confused about when you should pump your tank. Your local septic cleaning service can use the size of your tank and the number of people in your house as a guide to how often the tank needs to be cleaned. Plus, they'll factor in how often the tank has to be inspected.

If you're not sure how full the tank is, the septic cleaning service can measure the contents of the tank, which has three layers. One is the fat layer on top. The bottom layer is sludge, and the middle layer is wastewater that floats between the two other layers and drains to the leach field. The depth of the fat and sludge layers determines if your tank needs to be cleaned out yet.

Pumping Out the Tank Contents

A septic tank is cleaned out by pumping the contents into a truck so the sewage can be hauled to an authorized dumpsite. The sewage may need to be stirred with a rake to break it up so it can get pulled out. The pump on the truck is very powerful, and it's able to pump out the tank fairly fast.

The vacuum truck can also supply water through the hose that breaks up the sludge and washes walls so cracks can be seen more easily. Once the tank has been pumped out, it can be checked for bad baffles and other problems you should know about. Routine septic cleaning services usually include a quick inspection that's not quite as thorough as a required state inspection. If everything checks out okay, your tank will be ready to use as soon as the pump hose is removed and the lid is returned to your tank.