Water is really important to your home. Your faucets, your washing machines, your toilets, and your bathtubs are things that you can take for granted. You do not really think about them too often. You just use the water in your home and move on with your day.

But when you have problems — like a toilet that bubbles every time you turn on water or flush it — things can get ugly. Quickly. What can you do to fix it before it drains your bank account and leave you unable to use any water in your home for days?

What is a septic system?

Let’s start at the beginning. A septic system is an underground wastewater treatment structure that functions without a centralized sewer system. They are usually found in rural areas, but they can also be used in the city where access to the sewer system is difficult or limited.

To put it in basic terms, the septic system takes the wastes from the water and cleans it before releasing the water back into the environment. All of your water runs out of your house from one main drainage pipe into the septic system, out in your drainfield. Then the water is treated underground, preventing harmful coliform bacteria, viruses and nutrients from getting into the water table or entering your home.

Why does a septic system get backed up?

According to the EPA: “If the drainfield is overloaded with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or create backups in toilets and sinks.”

This is where the toilet starts bubbling. That is not the only sign that you have problems with your septic system.

According to the EPA, you will know that you have a problem when you see:

  • Wastewater backing up into household drains.
  • Bright green, spongy grass on the drainfield, especially during dry weather.
  • Pooling water or muddy soil around your septic system or in your basement.
  • A strong odor around the septic tank and drainfield.

There are a number of causes. One could be a blockage in the system.

People can carelessly through things down the drain instead of throwing it in the trash. Also, some cleaners can end up blocking the drains.

Another would be using too much water. It is easy run the water while brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, and washing your face. But, not only are you wasting water, but you could end up causing back up in the septic tank. In some cases, the weather can cause problems in the septic tank.

What should you do about a septic system problem?

The first thing to do is to look for a blockage in your system. If you do not know what you are doing, the best thing to do is to call a professional.

Ad fixing a septic system is not cheap. If you are not careful, you could end up spending thousands of dollars to get it repaired and you could be stuck not using water for days or even weeks.

The good news is there are ways to try to prevent problems. According to Water Damage Advisor, here are some tips that can help:

  • Make sure your septic tank is always biologically active. Don’t use antibacterial soaps and cleaners that drain to the tank.
  • Never put garbage or any foreign objects into the system. Human waste is biologically active by nature but raw food scraps are not. Garburators are terrible offenders.
  • Avoid planting trees anywhere near your septic lines. Tree roots are notorious for seeking water and nutrients inside sewer lines. They’ll puncture and block pipes in no time.
  • Do not run heavy machinery over sewer lines. Lines are easily crushed and destroyed.

Remember, the sooner you get your septic problems resolved, the chances are you can save money and trips to your friends and family’s homes to brush your teeth, shower, and take a bath.