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My Aerobic System Alarm Went Off! What Do I Do? [Video]

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Silence aerobic system alarm

There’s no need to panic if your system alarm activates. Here’s a short video explaining why your alarm might go off, how to silence it, and what to do next.

Alarms are required on any type of septic system that has a pump on it to let homeowners know when there is a problem with a system. There are two types of alarms:

  • Visual – A red light that illuminates when the alarm triggers
  • Audio – A constant, high-pitched buzz or beep that sounds when the alarm triggers

Some systems have just visual or just audio; some systems have both in case the visual alarm is not located where the owner would easily notice its being activated, or in the event that one of the alarms is inoperable.

What to do when your alarm turns on

If your alarm turns on, don’t panic — it is usually not an emergency. The sound may be loud, but you can silence the audio alarm by pressing the silence button; depending on your system, the alarm and/or silence button may be located on the a wall mounted control box or on the cover of the aerator box.

Pressing the silence button stops the alarm’s sound, but doesn’t actually turn the alarm off — if your alarm has a visual component, you’ll see that the light will stay illuminated even when the sound is off. The light will stay on until the issue that triggered the alarm is solved.

Why did my alarm turn on?

There are an unlimited number of reasons why an alarm may activate — it is comparable to the “Check engine” light for your vehicle. It could be something small, or something major, but you really don’t know until the system is checked out.

The most common reasons an alarm may turn on for an aerobic system are:

  • If the system is on a timer, it just may need to spray down when the timer turns on
  • A clogged chlorinator
  • Inoperable submergible pump
  • Inoperable aerator/low air pressure
  • Electrical/wiring
  • Clogged diffuser
  • Malfunctioning float switch

How can I find out what the problem is?

Here is something you can check yourself: If you have a tablet chlorinator, see if it is clogged. If it looks clogged, try to clear the blockage and see if the alarm turns off (see our video on how to unclog your chlorinator). Note: Adding chlorine to your system will not make the alarm turn off.

Next, check your home’s circuit breaker. If the breaker connected to your aerobic system has been tripped, set it back in place and see if the alarm turns off.

What do I do next?

If your chlorinator is not clogged and no breakers are tripped, call your maintenance provider and do not attempt any further troubleshooting on your own.

Your provider may service your system immediately, or may request that you wait to see if the alarm stays on for 24 hours. If your system is on a timer, it may just be that it needs to spray or pump down after the timer turns on the pump; if this is the case, the alarm will turn off after it sprays or pumps down.

Anytime your alarm is on for 24 hours or more, call your maintenance provider.

If you have pressed your silence button, you may need to reset it by re-pressing it to turn it off of the silent mode for the next time the alarm comes on.

Have more questions or need help? Visit our FAQ or contact us for assistance.


4 thoughts on “My Aerobic System Alarm Went Off! What Do I Do? [Video]

  1. I have brand new less 2 yrs old septic Friday nite my buzzer and light came on I turned buzzer off red light still on I haven’t used water ect few times flush toliet since. Then late sat nite I realized. Hall toliet was running. And had been for a day so stopped that haven’t used any water beside couple flushes. nothing in breaker box looked tripped I reset Main and light is still on House is 3 bedroom and it’s only me and a baby here so I don’t think I’m ready for septic cleaning. I’m not working and don’t have any income I don’t want to call someone and them try to say it needs something it don’t please help if can anything I can do is it ok to use

    • If the red light is still on, then something needs attention. Sometimes its minor, sometimes its not. If you have already checked the breakers, then there’s not much else you can diagnose yourself in most cases. If you have a tablet chlorinator (with tabs not liquid bleach), then sometimes the chlorinator can get clogged up and you can clear it out with the end of a broom stick. The amount of water you use usually doesn’t have an effect on the alarm. If your system is still spraying out, then you can still use water in the house without backup, but the alarm still signals that there is something else going on. One common thing is if there is a problem with the air pump, which is needed to help the aerobic bacteria to live and treat your wastewater. I know you are trying to avoid repairs, but putting it off may have a domino effect and may cost you even more down the road. Best wishes!

  2. I moved into new house withn
    New aerobic system. A few months in alarm is constantly going on..float swtich error. Then some pump error. They come out replace pump under warranty. Say we need to rewire adding breaker for alarm. They installed the system!. So few months later its doing exact same thing. The alarm is plugged directly into outlet under the house the way they did it. Also if you slam the back door…alarm goes off. Its next to it…you move around while your on toilet in my bathroom it goes off…alarm is on other side of wall behind toilet. Im at my wits end.. Ive resorted to turning breakers on alarm off and then early morning back on…pump kicks on but it smells and i don’t know where or how to add chlorine. If i leave box on alarm goes off periodically.

    • This sounds abnormal. I would suggest calling another company to see if you can get an inspection of the system, in writing. Was the system permitted? Plugging in alarms directly into outlets is not a common practice here but I don’t know what is allowed where you live. You could also just call the permitting authority to see what they suggest. They might come do an inspection for you and if the system was not permitted, then the installer may face some penalties, and gives you more ground to make sure the installer corrects whatever the issue(s) may be. Good luck!

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