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How Often Should You Empty Your Septic Tank?

Installing a septic tank is a substantial investment but it means that, if your property is not connected to a sewage system, you still have a way to conveniently and effectively dispose of waste generated by your household.

Once the tank has been installed, in order to keep it operating optimally, it will need to be maintained and regularly emptied. In most cases, if the waste disposal process on your property is well managed, the septic tank emptying (or ‘de-sludging’) should only need to happen every one to two years. This figure will vary from tank to tank depending on the size of the tank and the number of people living on, or making use of, the property.

As septic tank experts, we want to make sure that you have all the information you need when it comes to managing and emptying your septic tank. With that in mind, here are the answers to the septic tank questions we get asked most often.

How do I get the most from my septic tank?

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t have to do septic tank emptying too often is to restrict water usage on the property as much as possible. This means being sensible with the number of times that you run the washing machine and ensuring that taps in the home are only used when needed and are not left running. Other things to look at are shorter shower times, and showering rather than bathing as it uses less water.
Most important of all is not to flush any chemicals, grease, oil or materials other than toilet paper and human waste down the sink or toilet. Septic tanks can easily become blocked or malfunction when substances other than toilet paper and human waste are flushed.

When does septic tank emptying need to happen?

There are a couple of warning signs that may signal that your septic tank is full or blocked, so it’s important to keep an eye on your toilets and washing machine, as well as the area around the septic tank.
Monitor Your Toilets and Washing Machine
One of the easiest ways to tell if septic tank emptying needs to happen is to monitor how your washing machine and toilets are working. If the washing machine struggles to drain, or if you notice that clothes are not coming out clean from the wash, this should be a cause for concern. You can also keep an eye on your toilets, and if you have any trouble flushing, then the septic tank needs to be checked immediately.

The way that a septic tank works is that as waste reaches the septic tank, it gets separated. Liquids and materials that can be liquified move through to the drainage pit. All other materials sink to the bottom of the tank and will remain there as a layer of sludge. This layer of sludge builds up over time to a point where the tank is completely full. At this point, the tank needs to be emptied to prevent any blockages, which can be quite expensive to resolve.

Check That the Tank Isn’t Overflowing

Another sign that your tank is full is when it overflows, leaking onto the surrounding surfaces. This is unfortunate as the overflowing septic tank is almost always accompanied by a very unpleasant smell. An overflowing septic tank means that you’ve left it a bit too long for septic tank emptying and you will need help from the professionals as resolving an overflowing septic tank can be quite a costly exercise.

What should be done if the septic tank does need to be emptied?

We believe that the aim should always be to empty your septic tank before any damage happens or issues crop up. If your tank is overflowing, then there may already be damage to your septic tank system and will have significant repair costs. Rather, have an approximate time frame in mind of when you will need to check your septic tank.
When the septic tank was installed, the installers should have provided an estimate of how long you would be able to wait before needing to empty it. They will have taken into account the size of the tank, and its projected usage. We suggest using that timeline and popping a reminder in your online calendar. If that’s not an option, rather make a note to check the septic tank on a yearly basis. The sludge level can be checked with a stick test whereby PVC pipes are lowered into the septic tank.

Who should carry out the work?

Working with an experienced team of professionals will go a long way to ensuring that you have a successful experience with the emptying of your septic tank. Employing a team who regularly works with different septic tanks and have the skills required to empty the tank and dispose of the waste adequately is vital. It’s important to remember that prevention is better than cure. We advocate a cautious approach to septic tank emptying, so if you have a thought that it needs to be checked, it’s better not to delay. Most professional companies that offer septic tank emptying services are willing to check whether the tank needs emptying before beginning the process so you will not need to pay for the tank to be emptied unnecessarily.


At LetLoos we have a range of solutions for septic tank emptying. Our skilled, experienced team and high-grade equipment ensure that we are able to empty most septic tank types. Our highly-reliable methods will ensure the successful emptying and removal of all waste. From there, we will dispose of the waste in a manner that is both legal and environmentally responsible. Whatever your tank shape or size, we can help.
Our team is available to assist with septic tank emptying in Essex, the greater London area and beyond so if you need some help or need an idea of septic tank emptying costs, please get in touch.

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