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Question DetailsAsked on 10/15/2016

Toilet won't flush all the way, water very slowly goes down, gurgling heard in bathtub and kitchen sink, septic?

Septic last serviced 2013

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2 Answers


Could be a partial blockage in the sewer line with the house (downstream of the gurgling/slow draining locations), or could be a full septic tank or blocked up leach field causing backup.

3 years would be a fairly short servicing interval for a septic tank for a small household - but if you put a lot of grease down the sink or use the garbage disposal heavily to dispose of food then the tank could be full by now - ditto if it is servicing a large family, or if your leach field is marginal (clayey or silty soil).

Hard call which way to go - if you pay a Drain Cleaning contractor a couple to few hundred dollars to rout out your pipes that is not a bad thing to have done anyway if it has not been done in a long time (grease and soap scum and fibers build up in the pipe, reducing its diameter and leading to partial blockages) so you could call that a maintanance cleaning and hope it solves the problem - but if it does not, then you are still into the probably $500 ballpark range or more for a pumping, on top of the drain cleaner's bill.

Course, go with the pumping first if it does not solve the problem, then you know your tank is good for another few years (and be sure septic guy tells you what % it was full of solids/sludge so you can guesstimate how often it needs to be pumped in the future for your family) but if that does not solve the slow drains problem then you still need the drain cleaning job.

If you know where the service hatch is on the septic tank or if it has a dipstick standpipe you could check yourself to see if the solids/sludge are up to the top of the baffles or up to the outlet pipe level - otherwise no direct way to tell. Some drain cleaners will check this for you - but not much help if he is already there and does that because you have already paid for the service call - might as well have him clean the sewer line anyway while he is there and call that your typically 10-20 year routing job.

If I had to flip a coin and could not check the tank myself, I think I would go with drain cleaning first - routing or jetting all the way to the septic tank - hoping it is a partial blockage in the drain pipes. Mostly because tht can be scheduled in a very short tiem usually (commonly with 1 day if not in frozen sewer season). Course, then you do not know how long it is till the septic tank needs pumping ... but I would try to find a drain cleaner who can also check the septic tank for you.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



This is Erick in Member Care. I'm happy to help!

I've found some highly rated Plumbers from the List:

Greg E Hohl
321 McMillen Rd
Kittanning, PA 16201
(724) 525-4923

Sewer & Drain Specialist (Plumbers)
208 Manor Harrison City Road
Harrison City, PA 15636
(724) 771-3071

David Campbell Plumbing & Heating
526 Deer Ln
Apollo, PA 15613
(412) 613-9369

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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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