Maintaining a septic system doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. However, if it isn’t properly maintained, the system can fail. Digging up and replacing a septic system can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Learn how to maintain your septic system to avoid serious problems.
How Does a Septic System Work?
If your home has a septic tank, all waste flows into it. Septic systems contain bacteria, which break down organic material. Solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank and liquid waste flows to the drain field. The bacteria in the surrounding gravel and soil treats the water before it flows into the aquifer.
Have Regular Inspections to Maintain Your Septic System
Homeowners with a septic system should schedule routine inspections with a certified septic inspector. Problems with the septic system are often hidden since they are underground. Everything may seem to be operating normally until a serious problem comes up. Sludge could overflow into the drain field or clog up pipes, or tree roots can run into the system and cause damage. Regular inspections will help catch these issues before they cause a disaster.
Pump Out the System Every Few Years
Most households don’t need to pump the septic system every year. Waiting 2 or 3 years between pumping should be sufficient to maintain your septic system. Once your tank is one-third filled with sludge, it should be pumped. You can purchase a device called the Sludge Judge to gauge the levels. Your inspector will also report on when it needs to be pumped.
Don’t Dump Certain Materials Down the Drain
Watch what goes down the drain. Cooking fats, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, heavy-duty paper towels, and disposable diapers won’t decompose and will clog the system. Excessive household chemicals like antibacterial soaps will kill the bacteria that break down waste in the septic tank.
Make an Effort to Use Less Water
Too much water down the drain at one time is not good for the septic tank. It will flush it too quickly. If your house operates on a septic system, it is important to use water-saving techniques. Install low-flow appliances and fixtures to support the health of your septic system. Refrain from leaving the water running unnecessarily.