Today, I awoke to water on my bathroom floor. What caused it?

My house has a septic tank and two bathrooms, a master bedroom and guest bathroom.

  • The guest bathroom had water on the floor, and the bathtub was partially filled with water. The water seemed to be clean. Water was spraying from somewhere under the tank. I shut off the water to the toilet. The tank was very low on water, but it filled more later.

  • The master bedroom did not have water on the floor, but the bathtub was partially filled with water. I flushed the toilet, and the bowl started filling with water and spilling onto the floor. Again, all water seemed to be clean. I shut off the water to this toilet, too.

Another observation: during the night, I heard occasional sounds, possibly from a flapper, or gurgling, but I did not get up and check the source.

  • 1
    It sure sounds like you have a blockage in your waste lines somewhere. Find and correct the problem as even though that water appears to be clean, it's waste water.
    – jwh20
    May 28, 2019 at 10:51
  • 1
    When did you last have your septic tank pumped out? May 28, 2019 at 11:09
  • @wumpusD'00m I have had the house for four years, but never had the septic tank pumped. May 28, 2019 at 11:14
  • 1
    @WinstonYang Generally it's recommended to have the septic tank pumped out and inspected every 18-24 months. So you're overdue and you really don't know how long it's been. If you can locate the cover to the tank, remove it and see the level of sewage in the tank has risen above the inlet from the house. If so, then you need to get a septic crew out there right away.
    – jwh20
    May 28, 2019 at 12:10
  • @jwh20 Thank you. Unfortunately, I do not know the exact location of the septic tank. In the guest bathroom, when I tried plunging the toilet, I sometimes heard sounds from the bathtub. Possibly there is a clog in the drain below the intersection of the toilet drain and bathtub drain. May 28, 2019 at 12:21

3 Answers 3


There is a decent probability that your septic tank is full and should be inspected and pumped out.

I suggest doing this first since it should be done anyway (after 4+ years) and it is a lot less effort than dismantling your plumbing or running snakes.

  • The drainage problem turned out to be tree roots. A septic-tank company cut the roots and pumped the tank. Thank you for the advice. Jun 6, 2019 at 0:11

I used a solution called Liquid Heat, which contains sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, and sodium hypochlorite. It fixed the slow draining.

  • Verify that it is septic tank safe before using. May 28, 2019 at 17:45
  • @wumpusD'00m Thank you. The front of the bottle of Liquid Heat says that Liquid Heat is safe for septic systems. May 28, 2019 at 17:58

You likely had a clog in the line, which your product dissolved. That still does not mean you are in the clear with regard to your septic tank. Given that you did not know that it must be periodically inspected and pumped out or where the access is, I suggest you act preemptively to locate and mark the access now when there is not emergency. Septic service companies can do that for you, but if you wait until it is already full, their charges to come out in the middle of the night on Sunday in the rain will be substantially higher than mid-week on a nice day with plenty of time to schedule it.

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