Have a Septic Tank? Here’s How to Maintain It

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If your home happens to be one of many that are connected to a septic system and not to the city sewer system, then there are things that you’ll have to do to ensure that your septic tank doesn’t fail. As the place where waste is stored, this can be a huge issue. Thankfully, upkeep of your septic tank system doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.

If anything were to go wrong with your septic tank, it can cost thousands of dollars to replace. Maintaining it is far less than this, and an investment worth getting into. Below are some of the ways to take care of your septic system.

Get it Inspected and Pumped Regularly

On average, you should be having your tank inspected by a septic professional every 3 years. You should be having it pumped every 3 to 5 years. The alternative systems, which include electrical float switches, mechanical components, and pumps, should be inspected more often, closer to once a year. This will ensure that all the parts are working correctly and that it hasn’t developed any leaks or other issues. 

When it comes to pumping the septic system, how often this needs to occur depends on several different factors. These include the size of your household, how much wastewater is generated, the volume of solids that are in the wastewater, and the size of your septic tank. All of these are items that can fluctuate throughout the year if you have guests that stay at your home or if you leave for extended amounts of time for a vacation. Having a professional check the levels will ensure that the tank is getting pumped when it needs to get pumped.

Effectively Use Water

Using water efficiently in the home is another way to maintain the septic system. The less water that goes down the pipes, the less will be in the tank, which means it won’t fill up as fast. On average, a single-family home can use 329 litres of water per individual. If you have a leaky toilet in your home, this can up water usage to 757 litres of water per day.

If you are using water efficiently in your home, this will improve septic system operation and reduce failure risk. Some ways to accomplish this task include installing low-flow, high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency showerheads, and using the right amount of water setting on your washing machine.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Pretty much anything that gets flushed down the toilet or goes down the drain will find its way into your septic system. Putting the right materials down the pipes will ensure that your system works the way it should. This includes not putting the following items into the system:

  • Cooking oil or grease
  • Diapers
  • Paper towels
  • Cat litter
  • Baby wipes or other wet wipes that aren’t flushable
  • Cigarette butts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Household chemicals

Your septic system works because there are living organisms (usually bacteria) that break down the waste. If you put anything into the system that can kill these organisms, then your septic tank won’t work the way that is should. Fixing a clogged sink will require using a snake or boiling water. Putting chemical drain cleaners could kill helpful bacteria.

Keep the Drainfield Maintained

As part of the septic system, the drainfield needs to be kept in good working order so that the system functions effectively. To ensure that this happens, you’ll never want to park on your drain field. If you plant trees in the area, you’ll want to make sure they are the proper distance from the septic system so that roots don’t cause problems. You’ll also need to make sure that roof drains, sump pumps and other rain drainage systems don’t empty into the drain field. If there’s too much water in the area, it will slow down or stop the wastewater treatment process.

For houses that have septic systems, keeping them in good working order is imperative to ensure that the waste from their home is being taken care of properly. Maintaining it can be easy and cheap. If you experience any issues or need to get the system inspected or pumped, contact the professionals at Hayes Plumbing.

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