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Phone: (610) 621-6197 Phone: (610) 621-6197

  • Septic Pumping, Septic Repairs Including Effluent Pump Replacement, Septic System Inspections, Hydraulic Load Tests and Septic Installation and Maintenance
  • Serving Berks County and Parts of Lancaster, Lehigh and Schuylkill Counties
  • Specializing in Wastewater Management and Consulting
  • 4th Generation Expertise - Caring For Septic Systems Since 1935

Septic Alarms - Emergency Situation!

Septic Alarms: If Your Septic Alarm Goes Off, It's An Emergency Situation! Act Now To Prevent Septic Backup Into Your House!

A common belief is that if a septic alarm goes off, the septic tank needs pumping. That is NOT true! Septic alarms have absolutely nothing to do with the septic tank.

Septic alarms are an urgent warning that something is wrong in the pump tank (also called the dose tank). What is a pump tank? Pump tanks are typically only several hundred gallons, which is much smaller than your septic tank. After the solids have settled to the bottom of your septic tank, the remaining relatively clean water in the septic tank, called effluent, is ready to be returned to the environment. A properly functioning septic system sends this effluent to the pump tank, where it can be pumped up and out to the drain field or sand mound.

A sewage effluent pump in the pump tank is used to pump the effluent up and out of the pump tank and send it to your sand mound or elevated drain field. The sewage effluent pump is extremely heavy duty and is designed to work in harsh wastewater environments. When effluent arrives in the pump tank from the septic tank, floats automatically turn the sewage effluent pump on. When the effluent has been pumped out, the floats turn the pump off.

Septic alarms are tripped or triggered when the sewage effluent pump SHOULD have come on, but did not. That means the effluent arriving in the pump tank is NOT being pumped up and out to the sand mound or elevated drain field.

This is an emergency situation, because once the effluent reaches the top of the pump tank, it has nowhere to go. Depending on the water usage in the house, within a matter of hours the septic tank can back up into the house.

Septic Alarms - Emergency Situation! Critical Alert - Something Is Wrong In Your Pump Tank!

There are several basic reasons why the effluent or sewage wastewater pump did not come on when it should have, and why the septic alarm went off:

  • Tripped Breaker: A tripped breaker in the electrical panel, possibly caused by a power failure in your neighborhood. But keep in mind that the breaker might have tripped because of one of the below issues.
  • Electrical Problem: An electrical problem, perhaps with connections that have become corroded over time or are no longer waterproof, or have come apart. Once the electrical problems are fixed, the pump will resume working.
  • Float Failure: The effluent level has increased in the pump tank, but the floats did not start the pump. Once the floats are repaired or replaced, the pump will resume working.
  • Pump Failure: The floats tried to start the pump, but it would not start. Generally speaking, and even in the best of circumstances, effluent pumps have an average life expectancy of about 15 years. Differences in septic systems, water usage and pumping frequencies can lead to wide variances in effluent pump life. Once the pump is replaced, the floats will again turn the pump on or off based on the effluent level in the pump tank.

The good news is that we offer a full range of septic system pumping and repairs, and that includes problems like these. If your septic alarm goes off, the first thing we do is send a technician and one of our big orange Berks Septic pump trucks to empty your septic tank and pump tank. This will IMMEDIATELY remove the threat of a sewage backup into your house for a week or so, depending on how much water you use in your house. After pumping, we send an expert pump repair technician to troubleshoot and identify the cause of the problem (electrical, floats or effluent pump), and then we fix it!

So if your septic alarm goes off, call us right away and we'll get to work on the problem!

What Our Customers Are Saying

"Thank you for your prompt service and dedication to your work. The sellers have endured lots of issues getting their house ready for settlement and this one was especially challenging. I am always confident when you are in charge of a project - I can feel with certainty that it will be completed on time and within budget. Thank you Scott. You are the best!"  

Randy Weeber, RE/MAX of Reading

Read more customer testimonials on our We Get Letters page.