A septic system is a necessary addition to homes that are not connected to municipal sewage lines or homes located in areas where such lines do not exist. Knowing how to take care of such a system is critical to maintaining well-functioning plumbing, which will allow you to minimize unpleasant surprises. In this guide, we will provide some useful tips on how to keep your septic system in excellent shape.
First off, it is important to understand what a basic septic system consists of. The primary components are (1) a septic tank and (2) a drainfield. The septic tank is used to hold the household wastewater, and the drainfield helps remove impurities from the liquid. While the wastewater is in the tank, heavy solids settle down to the bottom, forming a layer of sludge, while light solids float to the top of the septic tank forming a layer of scum.
The separated wastewater flows into the drainfield after it is pushed by a new portion of wastewater that comes from the house. Since problems with the septic tank can spread further down the system, it’s important to know how to take care of it.
Pump your septic tank periodically
Heavy solids and light solids are accumulated in the septic tank where bacteria break them down. Unfortunately for homeowners, bacteria cannot break down solids entirely. This is why the septic tank has to be pumped every one to three years. The timeline depends on such factors as the size of the septic tank, the amount of generated wastewater, and the volume of solids in the wastewater.
Conserve water to avoid drainfield clogging
If too much wastewater flows into a septic tank, it will flow to the drainfields before solids separate. Solids damage the drainfield by clogging small holes in the drainfield pipes. This causes an excess of water to remain in the drainfield, breeding harmful bacteria. To control the usage of water, you can do many things, from installing a higher-efficiency toilet to avoiding leaving the water running while brushing teeth.
Keep chemicals and trash out of your septic system
As a rule of thumb, do not flush anything that can be thrown into the trash bin. This includes: kitty litter, chemicals like antifreeze, paints, pesticides, cooking oils, coffee grounds, diapers, hair, feminine hygiene products, etc. Plastic, for example, makes the septic tank fill up quicker. Chemicals can harm the bacteria that break down solids, and will harm the environment.
Schedule septic tank checks annually
It is always easier to deal with a problem when it is small. Inspections can identify problems at an early stage, which is why a timely one can save you a lot of money. Call a specialized and reputable company to do this for you on a yearly basis (a good one will also remind you of your annual checkup to make things easier).
Faulty septic tanks can be the cause in sewer smell in the house or in your backyard. They may also be harmful to your family’s health (faulty tanks have been correlated with the emergence of a range of intestinal diseases in households). Check your tank regularly, save water, dispose of garbage correctly, and stay healthy.