If you live in a remote area and rely on a septic system, it can be easy to forget about that buried tank and go about your day. Unfortunately, septic systems aren't immune to problems, and it is important to be able to detect issues early. Here are two signs that your septic tank needs to be pumped by a professional, and what could happen if you decide to ignore the symptoms of trouble.

1: Slow Drains

Your septic system works by collecting sewage, wastewater, and food remnants from your garbage disposal, and moving them into a large underground storage tank. Inside of the tank, heavier debris falls to the bottom, fats float to the top, and the liquid in the middle seeps out into a drain field, where it is filtered by the ground.

Unfortunately, after awhile, your septic tank can fill up with heavy debris, which could inhibit the flow of new material into the system. When this happens, you might start to notice exceptionally slow drains. Dirty water might linger in your sinks or shower basins, creating a frustrating and dirty environment for you and your family.

To keep things running smoothly, experts generally recommend getting your septic tank pumped every year if you have a garbage disposal, and every three years if you don't. When professionals pump your tank, they will remove solid debris from the area, so that your septic system can function properly.

2: Strange Smells Coming from Your Plumbing Fixtures

Have you noticed foul odors emanating from your toilet, sinks, and bathtubs? Unfortunately, slow drains aren't the only problem that can occur once your septic tank fills to the brim with solids. When systems don't drain as they should, it could cause stinky sewer gases to back up into your house.

Although it might seem like a small detail, the fact of the matter is that if your tank isn't pumped regularly, it could eventually send sewage back up through those pipes. Instead of dealing with a few bad smells, you might end up dealing with big sewage floods, which can cause permanent damage to your home. 

If you detect sewage odors, call a septic tank repair expert right away. They will be able to check your septic tank levels and pump the contents if they need to.

Being able to recognize septic system problems early might help you to keep your drains working properly and your house smelling great.