How To Maintain Your Septic System

Posted by Abby Drexler - Contributing Writer & Media Specialist for Septic Solutions on 2nd Aug 2019

Maintaining a septic system isn’t an issue only for people living in rural areas or on a farm. Urban residents need to maintain their septic systems as well. Instead of a connection to the main sewer line, most folks living in rural areas have a septic system, but septic systems are all over in the country. Caring for a septic system isn’t complicated because all a homeowner has to do is to follow a few guidelines.

Avoid Overloading the Septic System

There are a few things homeowners can do regularly to keep their septic systems efficient and running smoothly. Maintaining a septic system is as simple as checking toilets and faucets regularly for leaks and any necessary repairs. Look in the basement or crawl under your house often to check for any signs of leaks. Fit showers with a flow reducer nozzle and use aerators on faucets to lower the consumption of water and reduce the amount of water used for laundry. Another way to reduce water consumption is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. Try dishwashers that use less water or wait until it is full and then run it. Use a displacer to reduce liters of water used for flushing the toilet. Alternatively, replace an old toilet with a modern model that saves on water consumption.

Professional Installation

Have a professional plumber install the septic system to avoid leaks and other plumbing issues down the road. Health officials from the local authority will perform a percolation or soil test after you apply for a building permit to assess whether that the ground can support a septic system or not.

Minimize Heavy Duty Cleaners

Solid objects in a septic tank won’t break down when someone overuses heavy-duty cleaners that can kill any beneficial bacteria present in a septic tank. Use them as less often as you can or avoid them at all. Other chemicals that can ruin a septic system include gasoline, motor oils, paint thinners, and varnish. Some of these chemicals can be hazardous to the groundwater. Instead, store them in tightly secured bins and dispose of them per the waste law.

Proper Disposal of Garbage

Never flush things such as cigarette butts, tampons, disposable diapers, paper towels, facial tissues, sanitary napkins, or any other litter down the toilet. Such objects can clog a septic tank faster than it took to flush a disposable diaper down the drain. Grease can also block a drainage system and make it impossible for soil to absorb wastewater. Pouring too much oil down the drain may cause the need for a new drainage system, which can be costly. Improper disposal of garbage can add to the volumes of solids that go down the drain. Instead of using a garbage disposal, consider putting any waste in a plastic bag and drop it in the trash.

Protect the Septic System

Instead of driving over a septic tank, construct a structure on top of the drain field and cover it with either asphalt or concrete. Also, don’t allow pets to walk over the drain field. Planting grass on a drain field can help minimize soil erosion. Consider planting trees far away from the drain area to discourage damages caused by roots. Trees with aggressive roots should even be planted further from the septic tank. A soggy drain field can’t neutralize or absorb waste water either. As such, plan foundation drains, roof gutters, and landscaping to allow the diversion of excess water from the drain field.

Regular Inspection

The adage that prevention is worth a cure applies to septic systems maintenance. Always remember to pump solids away from the tank. Experts recommend pumping a septic tank with a 1,000 gallons after every five years. However, you can extend or shorten the period between pumping; thus, don’t follow the calendar. The best time to start pumping a septic tank is when the sludge top is within 12 inches or when the bottom of the drainage system starts collecting within three inches.

One sign that your septic system could be clogged is when you start experiencing plumbing backup. However, this doesn’t have to be a complete blockage. It can be in the form of gurgling sounds or slow drainage. Experts recommend homeowners to keep a record of each time there is a plumbing problem and when they have their septic system serviced. The trend will come in handy any time you will need to call a plumber. If plumbing isn’t your area of expertise, never attempt to unclog or open a septic tank.

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