Aerobic septic system troubleshooting guide

Aerobic septic system troubleshooting guide

Aerobic septic system troubleshooting guide

Aerobic Septic System Troubleshooting Guide

Septic systems are an integral part of any home, ensuring the safe disposal of wastewater. Among the various types of septic systems, aerobic septic systems are known for their efficiency and environmental friendliness. However, like any other system, they can encounter problems that require troubleshooting. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of aerobic septic system issues and how to troubleshoot them effectively.

Understanding Aerobic Septic Systems

Aerobic septic systems use oxygen and bacteria to break down waste, a process that is faster and more efficient than traditional septic systems. They consist of three main components: a trash tank, an aerobic treatment unit, and a pump tank. Each of these components plays a crucial role in the system’s operation, and issues with any of them can lead to system failure.

Common Problems and Troubleshooting

While aerobic septic systems are generally reliable, they can encounter a range of issues. Here are some common problems and how to troubleshoot them:

1. Alarm Going Off

The alarm in an aerobic septic system is designed to alert you to potential problems. If the alarm is going off, it could indicate a problem with the pump, the aerator, or the float switches. Check these components for any visible issues and consider calling a professional if you can’t identify the problem.

2. Foul Odor

If you notice a foul odor around your septic system, it could be a sign that the system is not properly processing waste. This could be due to a lack of oxygen in the system, a problem with the bacteria, or a blockage in the system. Check the aerator to ensure it’s working properly and consider adding more bacteria to the system.

3. Surface Water

Surface water around the septic system could indicate a leak or overflow. This could be due to a problem with the pump, a blockage in the system, or an issue with the drain field. Check the pump and the drain field for any visible issues and consider calling a professional if you can’t identify the problem.

Preventive Measures

While troubleshooting is essential when problems arise, preventive measures can help avoid many common issues. Here are some tips to keep your aerobic septic system running smoothly:

  • Regular Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain your septic system to catch potential issues early. This includes checking the aerator, pump, and float switches, as well as ensuring the system has enough bacteria.
  • Proper Use: Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet, as they can cause blockages in the system. Also, avoid using harsh chemicals that can kill the bacteria in the system.
  • Professional Help: If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting the system yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional. They have the knowledge and tools to diagnose and fix problems effectively.

Case Study: Successful Troubleshooting

A case study from Texas illustrates the importance of effective troubleshooting. A homeowner noticed a foul odor around their aerobic septic system and called a professional. The professional identified a problem with the aerator and replaced it, resolving the issue. This case highlights the importance of timely troubleshooting and professional help when needed.


Aerobic septic systems are efficient and environmentally friendly, but they can encounter problems that require troubleshooting. Common issues include alarms going off, foul odors, and surface water around the system. Troubleshooting these issues involves checking the system’s components and potentially calling a professional. Preventive measures, such as regular maintenance and proper use, can help avoid many common issues. By understanding these aspects, homeowners can ensure their aerobic septic system remains functional and efficient.


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