How to Maintain Your Septic Tank System
Septic systems are pretty low-maintenance. To keep your system odor-free and working properly, all you need to do is follow a few simple recommendations and get a periodic septic tank cleaning.
How Does a Septic System Work?
Septic systems do the work of a sewage treatment facility. They’re used when access to a public sewer system isn’t practical, such as in rural areas. There are two basic parts to a septic system: The septic tank and the leach or drain field. All the waste water from your home goes into the tank. Solid waste sinks to the bottom and scum floats on the top. The extra liquid flows out to the drain field. Bacteria in the tank will break down the solid waste, but it needs to be pumped out every few years.
Basic Septic System Maintenance:
Avoid Damaging the Septic Tank, Pipes, and Drain Field
- Don’t drive or park over your septic system. The weight from a vehicle can break pipes or damage the tank.
- Landscape Carefully. Tree and shrub roots can damage the tank and break underground pipes, so it’s best to only plant grass around your tank and leach field. Also, make sure your tank lid and inspection holes are accessible.
- Divert rainwater from the drain field. The extra water could overload your leach field.
Your septic tank can only hold so much liquid. Overloading the system can cause backups or failure. These tips will save you money in addition to maintaining your septic system.
- Fix leaks quickly.
- Install low-flow faucets and toilets.
- Wash full loads of laundry.
- Don’t wash all your laundry on one day.
- Don’t run the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time.
Know What Should (and Shouldn’t) Go Into Your Septic System
- Don’t dump lots of chemicals down the drain. Regular amounts of household cleaners, detergents, drain cleaners, etc., are okay. But don’t clean your paintbrushes over the sink. That water needs to stay out of your septic system.
- Don’t put anything into the toilet except toilet paper. Flushing anything that doesn’t decompose, like cigarette butts, facial tissues and feminine hygiene products, will clog up your system.
- Use high-quality toilet paper that breaks down quickly.
- Don’t use a garbage disposal. The food particles and grease can disrupt the bacteria in the tank and clog the system. Also, don’t dump coffee grounds down the drain. If you do use a garbage disposal, you’ll have to have your tank pumped more often.
- Don’t put water from pools or hot tubs into the system.
- Septic tank additives aren’t necessary. In fact, they can actually clog your system by adding too many solids. They could also be hazardous to the ground water.
Get Your Septic Tank Pumped
To keep your septic system working properly and avoid failure or odor, your septic tank needs to be inspected, pumped, and cleaned by a professional. Your tank may need to be pumped every one to three years, depending on how big it is, how much wastewater you put into your system, how much solid waste goes into the tank, and what type of climate you live in. If you notice backed up or slow drains, or a constant bad smell, it’s time to call a pro.
Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.