How To Reset Septic Tank Alarm

Septic tank alarms play an important role in monitoring your system’s function. The alarm warns you if water levels get too high or low in the septic tank, signaling a potential issue. Knowing how to properly reset the alarm can help restore normal operation when it activates.

This article provides a step-by-step guide to resetting septic alarms. We will cover:

  • How septic tank alarms work
  • Why alarms go off
  • Locating the alarm control panel
  • Resetting alarm lights and switches
  • Testing the system after resetting
  • When to call a septic professional

Learning the basics of resetting your septic alarm can help quickly resolve nuisance alarms and ensure your system continues working properly.

How Do Septic Tank Alarms Work?

Septic alarms contain float switches inside the tank that trigger when water rises above or drops below preset levels. This signals the alarm control panel.

The control panel has indicator lights and an audible alarm. It provides power to the floats and alarm. Resetting the panel turns off the alarm and light once the high water condition is resolved.

An alarm going off does not mean the tank will immediately overflow. It provides advance notice to reduce water use and allow the system time to catch up. But frequent alarms indicate a problem needing attention.

Why Does My Septic Tank Alarm Keep Going Off?

Some common reasons your septic alarm activates include:

  • Excess water use – Too much flow between pump cycles overwhelms the system.

  • Rain infiltration – High groundwater gets into the tank.

  • Component failure – Faulty pump, switch, or alarm triggers false alarm.

  • Clogged pipe/filter – Blockage slows drainage out of the tank.

  • Sludge buildup – Excess solids prevent effluent outlet.

  • Mechanical issues – Pump, compressor, or switches malfunction.

  • Loss of power – No electricity prevents pump from cycling.

  • Drain field clog – No place for effluent to go from the tank.

Resetting the alarm itself won’t fix these underlying problems.

Locating the Septic Tank Alarm Control Panel

The first step in resetting the alarm is locating the main control panel. This metal box is typically found on the exterior of the home or outbuilding nearest where the septic tank is buried. Look for:

  • Alarm lights/speaker – Red or yellow light and/or alarm horn.

  • Reset button – Manually silences audible alarm.

  • Circuit breaker – May have dedicated breaker for septic power.

  • Electrical conduit – Runs underground to septic tank floats.

  • Manufacturer label – Indicates panel purpose.

Finding the panel quickly silences nuisance alarms and allows full system diagnosis.

How to Reset Septic Alarm Lights and Switches

Once you’ve located the alarm panel, follow these steps to reset the lights and switches:

  1. Press reset button – Turns off audible alarm speaker if sounding.

  2. Check circuit breaker – Ensure panel has electrical power.

  3. Flip float switch – Some panels have a manual override toggle.

  4. Let system cycle – Give tank time (up to 24 hours) to lower water level.

  5. Verify light turns off – Red or yellow alarm light should deactivate once water drops.

  6. Note any other lights – Green or amber lights indicate float power or status.

  7. Call for service if alarm persists – Light staying on indicates a larger problem.

Silencing the alarm gives time to address high water conditions. But call a professional if tanks don’t empty.

Testing the Septic System After Resetting the Alarm

Take these steps to test normal operation after resetting the alarm:

  • Reduce water use – Don’t run laundry, showers, dishwashers, etc.

  • Check for surface wetness – Inspect for signs of water pooling around tank and drain field.

  • Listen for pump operation – Verify periodic pump cycling sounds to move effluent.

  • Monitor water drainage – Ensure sinks and toilets empty at normal speed.

  • Wait and recheck alarm – Give system 24 hours to stabilize before checking lights again.

  • Call septic professional – If alarm persists or other malfunctions are evident.

Notify a septic contractor immediately if alarms continue despite troubleshooting.

When Should a Septic Professional Handle Alarm Issues?

While you can reset nuisance alarms yourself, some situations require a septic pro:

Frequent or recurring alarms – Indicates inadequate capacity or component failures.

Alarms without excess water use – Points to component or drain field malfunction.

Soaking around tank or drain field – Signals possible infiltration or clogged pipes.

Sewage odors or slow drains – Means sewage is backing up due to outlet blockage.

Loss of system power – No lights on panel may require electrical repairs.

Unsure of panel location/function – Technician can find and diagnose alarm system.

Unable to reset panel – If improper panel wiring or malfunctions prevent reset.

Don’t hesitate to call in experts if DIY troubleshooting doesn’t solve recurrent septic alarms. Swift repairs prevent costly damage.


Resetting your septic tank alarm promptly can minimize nuisance alerts and help diagnose underlying causes. Follow the step-by-step process to locate the control panel, silence alarms, and test normal function. Persistent septic alarms, however, still require professional attention to fix larger problems. Knowing when to call the experts prevents sewage backups and expensive repairs down the road.

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