Septic Tank Maintenance – Essential Tips For Long-Term Performance

A septic system can last for decades with regular septic tank pumping and maintenance. Homeowners should save inspection reports and pumping receipts as they will come in handy if problems or questions arise in the future.

General household waste enters the septic tank, where microorganisms separate solids from wastewater. The wastewater then moves into the drain field, which is buried in the ground. Check out Septic Tank Services Near Me for your septic needs.

septic tank

Keep Your Drains Clean

The first step to a well-functioning septic tank is ensuring that the wastewater entering it is free of harmful bacteria. This means washing with non-toxic cleaning products or avoiding dumping anything down your drains that may kill them. Chemicals that wash down your drains will not only damage the good bacteria in your septic system, but they’ll also seep into the surrounding groundwater and cause contamination that affects local flora, fauna, and bodies of water.

Using a barbed wand or plumber’s snake to clear stubborn clogs is fine, but avoid using chemicals. These products will eventually weaken the microorganisms in your septic tank and deprive them of the oxygen they need to survive. Antibacterial cleaners and soaps are especially detrimental because they contain chemicals that kill bacteria.

Your septic tank has two primary layers: the scum layer on top and the sludge layer below. The scum layer is buoyant and contains anything less dense than water, including fats, oils, and soaps. As the microorganisms in your sewage treatment system break down these substances they sink into the sludge layer below.

If you want to save money on septic tank additives, keep your drains clean by having protective screens installed over all of your kitchen and bathroom drains. This will stop hair and other debris from entering your tank, preventing clogs and overflows. It’s also important to limit your use of garbage disposals and avoid flushing non-biodegradable items like wipes, sanitary products, or grease.

In addition, make sure that you have your septic tank pumped and inspected at least once every 3-5 years. Be sure to save the inspection reports and sludge and scum levels from your service provider. If these levels get too high, the waste will not leave your septic tank and can enter your leach field, creating costly clogs and damage.

Avoid Adding Bacteria Additives

The bacteria in your septic tank are sufficient to break down waste and keep your system healthy. Chemical additives, however, can disrupt this process and harm your septic system. There are three main types of septic tank additives: inorganic compounds; organic solvents; and biological additives. Inorganic compounds are marketed as drain cleaners and contain strong acids or alkalis. These products can kill off the bacteria in your septic tank, inhibiting anaerobic bacterial digestion and allowing raw sewage to enter your drain field. They also corrode concrete tanks and damage baffles, causing leaks. Organic solvents are degreasers that can be effective at breaking down fats, oils, and greases. These chemicals, however, can kill off good bacteria in your septic tank and cause contamination of groundwater.

The best way to protect your septic system is through smart water usage and proper maintenance of your drain field. Keep in mind, though, that no additive can eliminate the need to have your septic tank pumped. Eventually, minerals, synthetic fibers, and plastics will accumulate in your tank and clog your inlet and outlet pipes.

To prevent these issues, avoid flushing non-biodegradable items like facial tissue or sanitary products. Keep in mind, too, that a sudden influx of water can overburden your septic tank, reducing the amount of oxygen available for bacterial breakdown. Additionally, if you have an oversized septic tank or an improperly installed drain field, the resulting puddles could contaminate your drinking water supply. To prevent these problems, have your septic tank regularly inspected and pumped. Ideally, have it inspected and pumped in conjunction with your regular plumbing service. This will ensure that your septic tank is properly sized and that your drain field has had a percolation test performed.

Limit Your Garbage Disposal Use

Imagine if every time you walked to your garbage can, it shot open, and dirty, moldy trash was thrown all over the ground and into your home. This is what your septic system can do when it’s overwhelmed by too much waste at once.

You can prevent this from happening by never flushing anything other than human waste, toilet paper, and water. This means never flushing cat litter, coffee grounds, baby wipes, tampons, diapers, grease, large particles of food, foreign objects, medicines, or chemicals. You should also never flush paints, thinners, pesticides, oils, or excessive household cleaners.

Another way to help your septic system is by installing water-efficient fixtures like low-flow toilets, efficient showerheads, and aerated faucets. These fixtures cut down on water wastage, which eases the strain on your septic tank and prevents overfilling.

It is not uncommon for septic tanks to overflow or back up after heavy rainfall, especially in winter. The reason is that septic tanks can be oversaturated with water, which ruins the helpful bacteria that breaks down solid waste and allows wastewater to drain through the drain field.

It’s possible to reduce the risk of overflowing your septic tank by keeping up with routine professional septic system inspections and pumping. These inspections can catch problems before they worsen, which reduces the frequency of septic tank repairs and extends the lifespan of your septic system. You can also limit your water usage by spacing out baths, showers, and laundry loads so that the septic system doesn’t get overloaded in one day. Keeping clear and concise maintenance records is also an excellent way to protect your septic system from unneeded repair costs and make it more appealing to prospective buyers should you ever decide to sell your home.

Don’t Overfill Your Tank

When wastewater leaves your home it enters the septic tank where natural bacteria break down solid waste into what is called effluent water. The resulting clear liquid flows from the septic tank into the drain field where it is filtered by gravel and soil. A well-functioning septic system requires the proper balance of natural bacteria in the tank and in the wastewater that flows into it. Too much wastewater can cause the bacteria to overwhelm the system and lead to a septic tank leak.

To prevent this from happening it is important to know what goes into your septic tank and how often you should have it pumped. You should also have a professionally installed system with a properly sized tank and a large enough absorption field to handle the volume of wastewater your household produces. Having your septic system inspected annually and getting it pumped every three to five years will help ensure that the septic tank is not full of solid waste that can clog your drain field.

One of the most common causes of septic tank leaks is delayed maintenance. A septic tank needs to be pumped at least once every three to five years, depending on how many people live in the house and how much water is used each day. It is recommended that you schedule your septic tank cleaning services to coincide with your annual inspection, which will allow the septic professionals to inspect the condition of the tank and ensure it is working correctly.

It is also important to be mindful about what you flush down your toilets. Only human waste and toilet paper should go into the septic tank, and you should avoid flushing non-biodegradable materials like wipes, sanitary products, and grease down your drains. In addition, you should make sure that you don’t plant or build anything over your septic tank or the drain field. If you notice slow drains or foul odors in your home, it could be a sign that the septic tank is leaking.

Check For Leaks

Leaks from the septic tank are not only a health and safety hazard, but they also reduce the effectiveness of the system. If the sewage leaches into groundwater or soil, it’s unlikely to be treated properly as it moves down through the water table. This can result in contaminated drinking water, as well as a host of other problems.

Leaking septic tanks can often be fixed with the help of septic tank repair professionals, but it’s important to catch the problem early on to avoid costly repairs and replacement. Signs of a leak include slow-draining sinks and toilets, water pooling in the yard, a septic backup, and foul odors.

A common cause of septic tank leakage is that one or more baffles are not sealing correctly to the inlet and outlet pipes. This is usually due to poor installation or an accidental knocking of the baffle during construction or landscaping. The baffle is responsible for separating the wastewater from the septic tank from the absorption field, so it’s crucial to ensure that it’s in good working order.

Another reason for a septic tank leak is that the lid to the access port or septic tank riser is damaged or not in place. If you smell sewer gases in your home, this is likely a sign of a septic system problem and should be repaired immediately.

The final issue that may lead to a septic tank leak is the corrosion of the tank itself. This can happen over time as the metal is exposed to the elements, but it’s a very serious hazard if you don’t get the tank repaired promptly. This can lead to the tank collapsing, which can be a major health and safety hazard.