How to Take Care of Your Septic System

Septic systems

Your septic tank is one of the most important things you own. Septic tanks make our lives easier in general by allowing us to have indoor plumbing, and protecting and taking care of them also protects our water supply. Septic systems need to be protected, maintained, and get septic tank repair when necessary to extend system life and keep costs as low as possible. Go without necessary septic tank repair, and things can quickly turn from an inconvenience to a health hazard for your home and the whole neighborhood! So what should you do?

  • Understand what your system does. Regular septic cleaning and septic service are important because of the amount of work your system goes through every day. A home with a single, average family in it will be using 70 gallons of water every day: per person! If you have a garbage disposal, this alone increases the amount of solid material going into your wastewater by 50%. The tank itself is underground and catches all the wastewater generated by your home. Heavy solids go to the bottom and lighter solids, like grease, stay on top. Ideally, most of the solids decompose, but some will not. Those must be pumped out every three to five years at a minimum so they do not overflow and cause damage.
  • Take good care of your septic system every day. If you want to avoid unnecessary septic tank repair, there are some everyday things you can do to protect the whole system. First, never put fats, motor oil, coffee grounds, cigarettes, feminine sanitary products, chemicals, paper towels, rags, or diapers in the system. Make sure the tank is covered by grass, never concrete or asphalt, so oxygen can get in. Don’t use a garbage disposal, and never add the water from something like a hot tub to your system. Finally, make sure that rain and snow runoff go away from your tank.
  • Keep an eye on your system on a regular basis. Every year, you need to check the pump chamber, the pump, all electrical parts and conduits, and the filter or pump screen. If you don’t have a filter, it’s a good idea to consider installing one. A filter will protect the system from damage by keeping out solids that the system can’t deal with. It’s also important to get your septic tank pumping on a regular basis to avoid system overload and breakdown. Most tanks need to be pumped at three to five years; the number of people in your home, the amount of water you generate, the solids in your water, and the size of your tank will determine how often you need to have it pumped.
  • What if I need septic tank repair? You’ll know something is wrong if the alarm buzzer goes off, of course, but also be on the lookout for backups in your home plumbing, particularly in the toilets. A warning sign is gurgling in the system, especially from the toilets when water is being used elsewhere. If your drains are slow, this is another sign you might need septic tank repair. Also look for problems in your drainage field, such as odor, wet spots, lots of vegetative growth on top, or even sewage on the surface.

Keep your system protected and maintained to preserve its life, save you money, and protect your own home and the environment. If you notice any warning signs of problems in the system, don’t hesitate to call a professional septic tank service near you.