Septic systems are essential for those homes that are not located in urban areas where they can connect to city plumbing systems. But since most of the components of the septic system is buried underground, proper preventative maintenance of your septic system includes listening, smelling and looking for signs of possible septic system failure. Some noises emanating from your septic system, for example, can indicate a potential problem with your septic system.

Septic Tank Noises

Under normal conditions, your septic tank should not emit any noises that are audible above ground. But if the septic system becomes clogged or backed up, plumbing vents outside the home may begin to intermittently make a noticeable gurgling sound. This problem should be rectified right away since, if left unaddressed, the backup could cause much more serious and catastrophic issues for your septic system.

Other Symptoms

One of the best ways to confirm if the noises you hear from your septic system are due to backup or clogging is to look for other symptoms of a backed-up septic system. Check drains and toilets inside your home; they will operate more sluggishly than normal or will back up completely if the system is clogged. You may also notice the smell of "sewer gas" -- hydrogen sulfide that produces a distinct rotten egg smell -- near the septic drain field. Flooding or lush vegetation above the drain field can also indicate that the system is backed up or blocked.

Treating the Problem

The difficulty faced by homeowners when treating this type of septic system problem is that many different things can cause a septic system to back up, and the inexperienced layperson can experience difficulty in pinpointing the exact cause of the backup and repair it before it can critically damage the septic system. The best option is to contact a septic system repair professional as soon as possible to avoid any further damage to the system.

Other Considerations

Once the backup is repaired, avoid allowing the septic system to back up again in the future. Avoid the use of garbage disposals if possible; never dispose of non-biodegradable items by flushing them down the toilet. Trees growing near the drain field should be removed since tree roots can easily grow into septic drain field pipes and cause a system backup. Most importantly, get your septic tank pumped as regularly as is recommended for your tank size and the number of people in your home; a failure to have your septic tank pumped regularly is probably the leading cause of septic system backup and failure.