Do’s and Don’ts when maintaining your septic system
- Regularly inspect and maintain your septic system.
- Pump your septic tank as needed.
- Keep your septic tank lids closed and secured.
- Be water-wise.
- Direct water from land and roof drains away from the drainfield.
- Landscape with love.
- Keep septic tank lids easily accessible.
How often should I Clean my septic tank?
- The average septic tank will need to be cleaned every three to five years. This number can vary widely depending on the size of the tank and the number of people using the system. With three people in the home, a 1,000 gallon tank would need to be emptied approximately every 3.7 years.
What is the best thing to put in your septic system?
Biological Additives. Biological additives, like bacteria and extracellular enzymes, are the only acceptable septic tank treatment for promoting a healthy, natural bacterial ecosystem, maintaining an effective drain field, and protecting the health of the local groundwater.
Should you add anything to your septic tank?
You don’t need to add more, feed them or support them at all. If you add more bacteria without more waste, the bacteria will only eat each other. The bacteria are anaerobic, so they don’t even need air. All your tank needs to stay in shape is regular inspection and pumping to remove the solid sludge layer.
How often should a septic tank be pumped out?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
What are the do’s and don’ts of a septic tank?
DON’T flush material that will not easily decompose, such as hair, diapers, cigarette butts, matches, or feminine hygiene products. DO conserve water to avoid overloading the system. They kill the bacteria needed to decompose wastes in the septic tank and drain field. DO use substitutes for household hazardous waste.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
Is beer good for septic tanks?
Do not flush meat, buttermilk, yeast, vegetables, beer etc. down your drain to “Feed” your septic system. This will kill the good bacteria in your septic system.
Is Ridex good for your septic system?
How additives, like Rid-x, interfere with your septic system’s eco-system. According to the EPA and the Ohio Department of Health, not only are additives like Rid-X not recommended, but they actually have a detrimental and potentially hazardous effect on your septic system’s waste treatment process.
What to do after septic is pumped?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
Does shower water go into septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
How full should my septic tank be?
A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).
Are long showers bad for septic systems?
Washing frequent, small loads of laundry or taking exceptionally long showers every day is all it takes to overload your septic system with too much water. The primary treatment tank needs time to break up solids before partly-treated water can enter the drain field.
What will ruin a septic system?
Any paper products like tissues, paper towels, tampons, or sanitary products, even some heavier toilet paper, will clog your system if you flush enough of it. Wet wipes are another product that you should never flush into a septic system.
Is toilet paper bad for septic tanks?
The best thing to do for your septic system is to be sure not to flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper, preferably single-ply toilet paper. It is not good for your septic system to flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper because it does not break down in the septic system correctly.
How to Care for Your Septic System
Septic system maintenance is neither difficult or expensive, and it does not have to be done frequently. The maintenance of a vehicle is comprised of four major components:
- Inspect and pump your drainfield on a regular basis
- Conserve water
- Dispose of waste properly
- And keep your drainfield in good condition.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
Inspection of the ordinary residential septic system should be performed by a septic service specialist at least once every three years. Household septic tanks are normally pumped every three to five years, depending on how often they are used. Alternative systems that use electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently, typically once a year, to ensure that they are in proper working order. Because alternative systems contain mechanical components, it is essential to have a service contract.
- The size of the household
- The total amount of wastewater produced
- The amount of solids present in wastewater
- The size of the septic tank
Service provider coming? Here is what you need to know.
When you contact a septic service provider, he or she will inspect your septic tank for leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers that have built up over time. Maintain detailed records of any maintenance work conducted on your septic system. Because of the T-shaped outlet on the side of your tank, sludge and scum will not be able to escape from the tank and travel to the drainfield region. A pumping is required when the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet.
In the service report for your system, the service provider should mention the completion of repairs as well as the condition of the tank.
An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to identify service specialists in your region.
Use Water Efficiently
In a normal single-family house, the average indoor water consumption is about 70 gallons per person, per day, on average. A single leaking or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, depending on the situation. The septic system is responsible for disposing of all of the water that a residence sends down its pipes. The more water that is conserved in a household, the less water that enters the sewage system. A septic system that is operated efficiently will operate more efficiently and will have a lower chance of failure.
- Toilets with a high level of efficiency. The usage of toilets accounts for 25 to 30% of total home water use. Many older homes have toilets with reservoirs that hold 3.5 to 5 gallons of water, but contemporary, high-efficiency toilets consume 1.6 gallons or less of water for each flush. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the amount of household water that gets into your septic system. Aerators for faucets and high-efficiency showerheads are also available. Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restriction devices. Machines for washing clothes. Water and energy are wasted when little loads of laundry are washed on the large-load cycle of your washing machine. By selecting the appropriate load size, you may limit the amount of water wasted. If you are unable to specify a load size, only complete loads of washing should be performed. Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week if at all possible. Doing all of your household laundry in one day may appear to be a time-saving strategy
- Nevertheless, it can cause damage to your septic system by denying your septic tank adequate time to handle waste and may even cause your drainfield to overflow. Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than ordinary ones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy and water bills.
Properly Dispose of Waste
Everything that goes down your drains, whether it’s flushed down the toilet, ground up in the trash disposal, or poured down the sink, shower, or bath, ends up in your septic system, which is where it belongs. What you flush down the toilet has an impact on how effectively your septic system functions.
Toilets aren’t trash cans!
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system.
A simple rule of thumb is to never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Grease or oil used in the kitchen
- Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
- Optical solutions
- Photographic solutions Products for feminine hygiene
- Floss for the teeth
- Butts of cigarette smoke
- Grinds from a cup of coffee Litter for cats
- Towels made of paper
- Chemicals commonly found in the home, such as gasoline, oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners
Toilet Paper Needs to Be Flushed! Check out this video, which demonstrates why the only item you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper rolls.
Think at the sink!
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whether you’re at the kitchen sink, the bathtub, or the utility sink, remember the following:
- If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
- Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or toilet. It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Fats, grease, and particles will be considerably reduced in your septic tank, reducing the likelihood of your drainfield being clogged.
Own a recreational vehicle (RV), boat or mobile home?
If you have ever spent any time in an RV or boat, you are undoubtedly familiar with the issue of aromas emanating from sewage holding tanks.
- The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a factsheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.
Maintain Your Drainfield
It is critical that you maintain the integrity of your drainfield, which is a component of your septic system that filters impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank once it has been installed. Here are some things you should do to keep it in good condition:
- Parking: Do not park or drive on your drainfield at any time. Plan your tree plantings so that their roots do not grow into your drainfield or septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your specific situation. Locating Your Drainfield: Keep any roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems away from the drainfield area. Excess water causes the wastewater treatment process to slow down or halt completely.
7 Tips to Take Care of Your Septic System
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Maintaining a home’s septic system may seem like a daunting and stinky task, but it’s really not. Being mindful of what you’re doing inside the home will keep the system healthy.
Preventing and treating problems with your septic system is not difficult and does not have to be expensive. Failure to maintain your septic system, on the other hand, might result in significant financial loss, since digging up and rebuilding a septic system can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
What Is a Septic System?
Because it handles all of the wastewater that comes from your home, including the water from the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room, if your home is not connected to a municipal water and sewer system, your septic system is essential. Septic systems are generally comprised of a tank, into which wastewater is channeled for treatment and the particles are separated from the liquid. Microorganisms break down the organic stuff in wastewater, allowing it to be recycled. A perforated pipe system transports wastewater from there to a drain or leach field, which collects the effluent.
Get Familiar With Your Septic System
Understanding how your septic tank works, what sort of system it is, and where it is placed are all important first steps in proper maintenance. The county or town should keep a record of the permit, as well as a chart showing the tank’s layout and placement, because state rules demand a permit for septic system installation. Visual clues, such as sewage covers, or the direction in which the sewer pipe, which is located in the basement, runs out of the home, may be able to assist you in your search.
Have It Pumped Routinely
Every three to five years, the ordinary residential septic system should be pumped (that is, the sediments should be removed). According on the size of the tank, the typical price of pumping a residential septic tank is between $300 and $600. When you contact a septic service company, they will also inspect your septic tank for leaks and evaluate the sludge layers in your tank for any problems.
Remember to save a copy of any maintenance paperwork pertaining to work performed on your septic tank. They will come in helpful if there are any difficulties with the house or if you decide to sell it.
Spread Your Washing Machine/Dishwasher Usage Throughout the Week
You may believe that scheduling a “laundry day,” during which you wash all of your clothing and possibly even run your dishwasher, would save you time. However, it puts a great deal of strain on your septic system. If you don’t allow your septic system enough time to process the wastewater, you risk overloading the system and flooding your drainfield with wastewater. Replace this with doing a full load of laundry (to ensure that you are not wasting water) a couple of times a week.
Don’t Treat Your Toilet Like a Trash Can
The only item that should be flushed down the toilet that does not come out of your body is toilet paper. Everything else should be discarded. This implies that there will be no tissues, diapers, feminine items, hair, dental floss, or anything else. Toilet paper is supposed to decompose in the septic tank after it has been used. Any additional materials are not permitted; they will clog and cause harm to your septic tank. Make sure you use toilet paper that is safe for use with your septic system.
Think About What You Dump Down the Kitchen Sink Drain
We flush a variety of items down the kitchen sink that might cause serious damage to a septic system. Never flush objects down the sink drain, including coffee grounds, eggshells, medicine, produce stickers, flour, and other such items. All of these things can clog pipes and cause screens to get obstructed. Do not dispose of any oil, including cooking oils and paint, grease, and fat since these substances will block your sewer line and cause it to back up into your home. Even dairy products such as milk, cream, and butter are harmful if they are flushed down the toilet.
When you use a garbage disposal in conjunction with a septic tank, the ground-up food particles contribute to the layer of solids that accumulates at the bottom of the tank’s bottom.
Be Careful With Cleaning Chemicals
Cleaning agents that homeowners use can be harmful to the beneficial microorganisms in their septic systems. When washing textiles, avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach. If you absolutely must, use only a little quantity of the product. Use of drain cleaners is discouraged since, in addition to destroying beneficial bacteria, they can cause harm to the tank itself. Alternatively, if a plunger does not work, a toilet drain snake, which is also effective on clogged kitchen and bathroom sinks, may be used.
Quaternary ammonia is also present in antibacterial soaps and disinfectants, which should be avoided.
Protect Your Drainfield
As previously said, proper management of your drainfield begins with careful monitoring of water consumption and the materials that enter your septic system. Never drive or park a vehicle on top of your drainage system.
Make certain that gutters and sump pumps discharge water far enough away from the drainfield to prevent flooding. Avoid growing trees and bushes in close proximity to the drainfield since the roots of these plants might interfere with the pipes.
Caring for Your Septic System
It is important not to flush any sort of wipe down the toilet, regardless of whether the box specifically states that they are “flushable.” These objects have the potential to block your home’s plumbing, as well as the pipes in the street and the important machinery at the wastewater treatment facility. The water in which personal care wipes, dental floss, paper towels, and tissues are flushed does not dissolve them rapidly – or at all – therefore they are not safe to flush down the toilet. Personal care items, cleaning supplies, and other home garbage should be disposed of appropriately, either in the trash, the recycling bin, or at your local domestic hazardous waste disposal facility.
- The term “septic system” refers to an individual wastewater treatment system (conventional septic systems, innovative/alternative (I/A) systems, or cesspools) that uses the soil to treat tiny wastewater flows, which are typically generated by a single residence.
- Septic systems are available in a variety of configurations today.
- In a normal septic system, there are three main components: the septic tank, a distribution box, and a drainfield, which are all connected by pipes known as conveyance lines.
- Primary treatment is the term used to describe this separation procedure.
- Flowing from the tank into a distribution box, which distributes the wastewater uniformly into a network of drainfield trenches, is how partially treated effluent is removed from the environment.
- Once in the subsurface soil, this effluent is further cleaned and filtered before being released back into the environment (secondary treatment).
Additional Resources for What is a Septic System?
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, a properly maintained septic system should be pumped out at least once every three years! Regular maintenance is the most crucial factor in ensuring that your septic system is in good working order. Pumping on a regular basis helps to keep particles from leaking into the drainfield and blocking the soil pores. While the frequency of pumping depends on the amount of consumption, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection advises that systems be pumped at least once every three years for households without a trash disposal.
- The frequency with which you pump should be determined by the amount of water that has accumulated and the amount of water that has been pumped in the past.
- It is astounding how many system owners assume that if they have not experienced any difficulties with their systems, they do not need to pump out their tanks.
- Solid materials sink to the bottom of the tank when your system is utilized, resulting in the formation of a sludge layer.
- In most cases, correctly engineered tanks have adequate room to safely store sludge for up to three to five years at a time.
- As the amount of sludge in the system rises, more solid wastes are allowed to escape into the soil absorption system (SAS).
When hiring a pumper, be certain that they are licensed by the local Board of Health, and always insist on receiving a paid receipt from the pumper that clearly outlines the terms of the transaction and the amount you paid (how many gallons were pumped out of the tank, the date, the charges, and any other pertinent results).
Keep a copy of this receipt as proof of purchase. In addition, a copy of this report is forwarded to the local Board of Health by the pumper.
Additional Resources for How often should I pump out my septic system?
- Once every 3 to 5 years, have the system examined and pumped out. If the tank becomes overburdened with sediments, the wastewater will not have enough time to settle before it overflows down the drain. After that, the extra solids will be carried to the leach field, where they will block the drain pipes and the soil. Always know where your septic system and drain field are in relation to your house and keep a detailed record of all inspections, pumpings, repairs, contract or engineering work for future reference. Keep a sketch of it on hand for when you go to the service center. The drain field should be planted above the septic system with grass or small plants (not trees or bushes) to help keep the system in place. Controlling runoff through imaginative landscaping may be an effective method of reducing water consumption. Install water-saving devices in faucets, showerheads, and toilets to limit the amount of water that drains into the septic system and into the environment. Replace any dripping faucets or leaking toilets, and only use washing machines and dishwashers when they are completely full. Avoid taking long showers. Roof drains as well as surface water from roads and slopes should be diverted away from the septic system. Maintain a safe distance between the system and sump pumps and home footing drains as well. Take any remaining hazardous substances to a hazardous waste collection station that has been approved by the local government. Use bleach, disinfectants, drain and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in line with the directions on the product labels. Only utilize septic system additives that have been approved for use in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). In Massachusetts, it has been found that the additives approved for use have no detrimental effect on the particular system or its components, or on the environment in general.
- Non-biodegradables (cigarette butts, diapers, feminine items, and so on) and grease should not be disposed of down the toilet or sink. The use of non-biodegradable materials can clog the pipes, and grease can thicken and block the pipes as well. Cooking oils, fats, and grease should be stored in a container and disposed of in the garbage
- Paint thinner, polyurethane, antifreeze, insecticides, certain dyes, disinfectants, water softeners, and other harsh chemicals should all be added to the system to ensure that it works properly. Septic tank malfunctions can be caused by the death of the biological component of your septic system and the contamination of groundwater. Typical home cleaners, drain cleaners, and detergents, for example, will be diluted in the tank and should not do any damage to the system
- And Make use of a garbage grinder or disposal that drains into the septic tank to eliminate waste. If you do have one in your home, you should use it only in extremely limited circumstances. The addition of food wastes or other solids lowers the capacity of your system and increases the frequency with which you must pump your septic tank. If you utilize a grinder, you will have to pump the system more frequently. Trees should be planted within 30 feet of your system, and vehicles should not be parked or driven over any section of the system Tree roots may block your pipes, and heavy cars may cause your drainfield to collapse
- However, you can prevent this from happening. You should not allow anybody to work on your system or pump it without first ensuring that they are licensed system specialists
- Wash an excessive number of loads of clothing in your washing machine. Doing load after load deprives your septic tank of the time it needs to properly process wastes and causes the entire system to become overwhelmed with surplus wastewater. As a result, you might be overflowing your drain field without giving yourself enough time to recover from the inundation. To calculate the gallon capacity and the number of loads per day that may be safely pumped into the system, you should speak with a tank specialist. Cleaning the plumbing or septic system using chemical solvents is recommended. Microorganisms that devour toxic wastes will be killed by “miracle” chemicals that have been developed. These items have the potential to pollute groundwater as well.
Key Actions for Septic System Do’s and Don’ts
Septic systems that have been properly maintained can assist in preventing the spread of disease and other illnesses. System failures can have serious consequences.
- Your failure to maintain your water system could pose a serious health hazard to your family and neighbors, degrade the environment, particularly lakes, streams and groundwater, reduce the value of your property while also being extremely expensive to repair
- And put thousands of water supply users at risk if you live in a public water supply watershed and fail to maintain your system.
Keep an eye out for the following warning signals of a malfunctioning system:
- Surface sewage over the drainfield (particularly after storms)
- Sewage backups in the home
- Lush, green vegetation over the drainfield sewage smells
- Toilets or drains that are difficult to empty
If your system fails, the first thing you should do is call your local board of health, which must authorize all modifications and the majority of repairs before they can be carried out or installed. The board of health will inform you of the steps that must be taken. In the event that your system fails, call your local Board of Health immediately!
Key Actions for Failing Septic Systems Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
If your system consists solely of a septic tank and drainfield, which is referred to as a gravity system, you must examine it at least once every three years, if not more frequently. All other sorts of systems are expected to be examined at least once a year, if not more frequently than that. It’s possible that your local health department has more strict inspection requirements. A septic specialist can perform the examination for you, or if your local health department permits it, you can perform the inspection on your own.
Keeping the solids, also known as sludge, from piling up and getting close to the outflow baffles of the system is critical because particles can stop the pipe leading to the drainfield or, even worse, completely choke the drainfield.
- A maintenance service provider
- Learning how to perform your own examination
- And other options. Inquiring with your local health agency to see if they can examine your system for a lesser fee
Pump Your Tank
When it’s time to pump out your septic tank, do so. Don’t wait until you have an issue before seeking help. Septic tanks should be pumped out every three to five years in a normal residence, according to industry standards. Pumping on a regular basis will help you avoid costly failures such as a clogged drainfield or sewage backing up into your house. Use of the garbage disposal will increase the quantity of solids entering the septic tank, increasing the frequency with which it must be pumped.
- The number of people in the household. In general, the greater the number of people living in the house, the more frequently you must pump
- The total amount of wastewater produced. Putting a lot of water down the drain (from inefficient or leaky toilets, washers, showerheads, and sink faucets, for example) causes the tank to be unable to settle entirely, and you may have to pump more frequently. The amount of solids present in wastewater. When garbage disposal and food waste flow down the drain, as well as RV and boat waste put into your system, solids will quickly fill your tank. The size of a septic tank. The larger the tank, the more the capacity it has to handle sediments and water, which may allow for longer periods of time between pumping sessions. Older septic tanks may not be the proper size for your property, especially if your home has been modified and is now significantly larger than before.
Learn how to hire a septic pumper by reading this article.
Use Water Efficiently
Water conservation should be practiced. The greater the amount of wastewater produced, the greater the amount of wastewater that must be treated and disposed of by the soil. By minimizing and balancing your water use, you may extend the life of your drainfield, reduce the likelihood of system failure, and eliminate the need for costly repairs. To lower your water consumption, do the following:
- Invest in efficient water-saving equipment such as faucet aerators, high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, dishwashers, and washing machines
- And Fix dripping faucets and dripping plumbing fixtures. It is possible to lose hundreds of gallons each day due to a leaky toilet. Shower for shorter periods of time
- Bathe in a tub that is only partly filled
- Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes. If your washing machine offers load settings, make sure you choose the appropriate size for the load you’re washing. It is not necessary to use the large-load cycle if you are only washing one or two loads of clothing.
Learn more about water conservation and water recycling by visiting this website.
Toilets Aren’t Trash Cans
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. Apart from human feces and urine, toilet paper, and soap used for washing, there shouldn’t be much else flushed down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Baby wipes, cleaning wipes, or any other wet towelettes are OK. Tampons and pads, as well as condoms, are examples of feminine hygiene items. Paper towels, rags, or newspaper are all acceptable options. Floss for the teeth
- Cotton balls and cotton swabs are also acceptable. Diapers, hair, and cigarette butts are all things that come to mind. Band-aids
- Grease and cooking oils
- Coffee grounds
- Cat litter
- Chemicals found in the home, such as fuel, oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint. For local hazardous trash drop-off locations, call the Ecology hotline at 1-800-RECYCLE. Prescription medications are available. Check to see if there is a medicine disposal program in your region.
Take Care at the Drain
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household.
Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whatever the sink (kitchen, bathtub, or utility sink), remember to keep your hands clean.
- If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
- Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or into the toilet. Allow it to cool and harden before throwing it away in the garbage
- It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Septic tanks can become overflowing with food waste from trash disposals, which can clog the drainfield.
It is not required to use septic tank additives found in stores to maintain your septic tank operating correctly, and they do not lessen or remove the need for regular pumping.
Maintain the Area Around Your System
- Water runoff should be kept away from your system. Drainage systems should be installed to move water away from septic tanks and drainfields. The soil above your system should be somewhat mounding to aid in the discharge of surface water. If heavy rains cause water to pool around your septic system, avoid flushing it down the toilet
- This will prevent damage to your system. Stay away from your septic tank, drainfield, and drainfield replacement area. Heavy equipment and livestock should not be allowed on your property. The pressure can compress the earth and cause damage to the pipelines and other infrastructure. Before you plant a garden, landscape your yard, build a structure, or install a pool, be sure you know where your septic system is and where it will be replaced. Make sure your system is appropriately landscaped. Grass is the most effective cover. Placement of concrete or plastic over your septic system is not recommended. It is best to plant trees and plants away from your septic tank and drainfield in order to prevent root intrusion into your drainage system. Depending on your needs, an aseptic service specialist might suggest landscaping choices for surrounding your septic system
Keep meticulous records on the operation of your septic system. Understand the location of the system and have a schematic of its layout on hand. Your local health agency may be able to provide you with information on its size and location. It is also a good idea to keep track of the maintenance performed on the system. These records will be useful if there are any problems with your home, and they will also be beneficial to the next owner of your property.
Don’t Ignore Problems
Minor septic system faults can quickly escalate into major, expensive concerns. When compared to the expense of repairing or replacing a malfunctioning system, which can run into the thousands of dollars, addressing minor faults and paying maintenance costs of a few hundred dollars every few years is a bargain. Don’t ignore the warning signals of a failing septic system.
- Septic System 101 Video
- Do-It-Yourself Septic System Inspection Video
- Septic System 101 Video
- Septic System 101 Video Using the Services of a Septic System Professional
- Safety of the Septic Tank Lid
- Symptoms of a Failing Septic System
Taking Care of Your Septic System
This system, buried deep below in your yard, is the most underappreciated and underrated asset a homeowner can own. It works tirelessly for you and your family on a daily basis, yet most people don’t give it a second thought, let alone acknowledge or appreciate everything that it accomplishes. What exactly is it? Your sewage treatment system. Normally, your septic system is relegated to the back of your mind’s attention. Is it really necessary to think about your septic system when you have so many other important things on your mind?
- Your septic system is essential for maintaining a healthy and safe home since sewage treatment is required.
- The good news is that septic system maintenance is quite simple and inexpensive, and it costs far less money than having your septic system fixed or replaced.
- Please read on for more information.
- Both must be kept in good working condition in order for your septic system to function correctly and thrive.
Inspections and Pumping
You should have your septic system tested by a septic service specialist, such as those at Myers, at least once every three years! For both commercial and residential properties, our professionals are qualified and educated to conduct comprehensive and honest septic tank inspections. Examination of all pipelines, measurement of scum and sludge levels, and evaluation of drainfield quality are all part of a comprehensive inspection of the septic tank. In the case of an alternative system with electrical float switches, pumps, or other mechanical components, your septic system should be examined at least once a year.
- a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank restricts the exiting of waste materials from the tank and the subsequent movement of waste materials to the drainfield.
- It’s also necessary to pump your tank out if the sludge layer reaches the top of the tank’s outlet within 12 inches of the outlet opening.
- You will receive a service report following the completion of the inspection and pumping.
- Notate everything that was done, as well as the sludge and scum levels that were discovered by the service expert, as well as the overall condition of your septic system.
- Early detection and repair of your septic system will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Myers’s service technicians will assess the condition of your septic system and provide recommendations for any necessary repairs or replacements. We are a full-service septic system supplier, so if you have any septic system requirements, we can meet those needs as well!
Use Water Efficiently
Water efficiency is not only important for the environment, but it is also important for your septic system and your budget as well. The septic system receives and treats all of the water that a residence delivers through its pipes. Dishwashing, showering, toileting, and washing are all included in this category. As reported by the Environmental Protection Agency, “the average indoor water use in a typical single-family home is over 70 gallons per person, per day.” The greater the amount of water that enters the septic system, the faster the septic tank fills up with waste.
- Saving water and conserving energy are two of the most straightforward and cost-effective strategies to help protect and extend the life of your septic tank.
- A leaky faucet or a constantly running toilet is not only inconvenient, but it may also waste up to 200 gallons of water every day.
- Not only are you squandering perfectly excellent water, but you are also filling up your septic tank more quickly, putting additional strain on your system.
- For example, you may replace your old toilet with a more energy-efficient one.
- Changing your toilet to a more efficient toilet is a simple approach to ensure that the integrity of your septic system is maintained.
- Washers with the ENERGY STAR certification have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and they use 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water.
- Make an effort to wash your clothing in the appropriate load size.
- If you are unable to select a load size, only full loads of laundry should be washed.
- Washing all of your laundry in one day is not recommended.
- Some homes utilize hot tubs as an additional source of water consumption.
- When you empty the water from a hot tub into your septic system, it might overflow the system and agitate the sediments into the drainfield, leading it to collapse ultimately.
However, rather than dumping all of that water into your septic system, you should direct the cooled water onto the turf or manicured parts of your property in accordance with local regulations.
Properly Dispose of Waste
It doesn’t matter if you flush anything down the toilet, grind it up in the trash disposal, or pour it down the shower drain; everything that goes down the drain ends up in your septic system, and I mean everything. It doesn’t matter what you flush down the toilet; everything from food scraps to grease to cat litter gets up in your septic system. Other than human waste and toilet paper, do not flush anything down the toilet, including but not limited to:
- Cleaning materials such as cooking grease or oil, nonflushable wipes, photographic solutions, feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, diapers, cigarette butts, and coffee grounds Product categories include: cat litter, paper towels, pharmaceuticals and medications, and more. Chemicals often found in the home, such as fuel, oil, insecticides, antifreeze, paint, and paint thinners
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. These organisms are necessary for the proper functioning of the septic system; however, pouring chemicals or other materials down the drain may kill these organisms and cause your septic system to malfunction and fail. Your sludge and scum levels will rise, requiring you to have your septic tank drained on a more frequent basis. Chemicals that are harsh can also corrode the pipes that lead to the septic tank, resulting in leaks.
Avoid or minimize the usage of the trash disposal if it is causing a problem.
Food waste should be disposed of appropriately rather than through the garbage disposal.
Maintain Your Drain Field
Your drain field is a critical component of your septic system’s overall performance. The septic tank is responsible for separating sludge and scum from treated water. The treated water drains into the drain field, where it eliminates impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank and flushes it down the toilet. The wastewater from your tank is discharged onto your drain field, where it trickles via a series of perforated pipes, past a layer of gravel, and down into the soil until it reaches the groundwater.
- Increased particles in the septic tank might block the pipes in the drain field, preventing water from draining from the system properly.
- Parking on your drain field is prohibited, as is the use of heavy equipment or machinery on your drain field.
- Planting trees away from your drain field will prevent roots from creeping into your septic system and causing damage.
- Drain fields are best covered with grass, which is the most appropriate type of cover.
Inspect and ensure that your roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage devices are diverting rainwater away from the drain field. Excess water can cause the wastewater treatment process to slow down or stop completely, as well as overflow the drain field.
Why It’s Important to Take Care of Your Septic System
There are a variety of reasons why maintaining your septic system is crucial. When a septic system fails, improperly treated waste can seep into the groundwater, contaminating nearby wells, streams, lakes, and ponds, among other things. Family, friends, neighbors, and other members of the community are thus exposed to toxins and the risk of contracting waterborne illnesses such as dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid fever, which are caused by bacteria and viruses originating from human waste. Waterborne nitrates and phosphates in home wastewater can create excessive algae development in lakes and streams, causing aquatic life to become disrupted and producing aesthetic concerns for your town.
- If your community’s septic system is not properly maintained, it may suffer a loss in tourism revenue.
- In addition, repairing or replacing a septic system is quite expensive.
- You may save thousands of dollars in the long run by investing a little amount of money upfront to have your septic system tested and pumped.
- It is possible that building permits may not be obtained for certain properties, resulting in a decrease in the total value of your property and the surrounding neighborhood.
- Every year, you should get it examined to ensure that it is in proper working order.
- Your septic system should be handled in the same manner as your plumbing system.
- It will save you a significant amount of money while also ensuring the safety of your family and the environment.
- Our service technicians will make certain that your septic system is well-maintained and will endure for many years in the future.
How to Care for Your Septic Tank
Septic systems are built in around one-fourth of all residences in the United States, and they are particularly common in rural regions that are not served by municipal sewer systems. In contrast to conventional sewage systems, which pump solid and liquid waste from the home into sewer mains and then to a centralized sewage treatment plant, septic systems pump waste from the house out into a drain field and an underground septic tank.
How Septic System Works
The water and wastes carried by the water in a standard septic system go down the home’s drain system and through a single main sewer pipe to the septic tank, where they are treated. It is possible for wastewater to flow only by gravity or with the aid of an electric pump. However, this is not always the case. The septic tank is designed to store waste material for an extended period of time, allowing solids to sink to the bottom while oil, grease, and liquids – later known as scum — float to the top.
As bacterial activity breaks down the pathogens, the liquids slowly trickle down through the soil and into the groundwater.
Between times, the solids in the tank degrade under the influence of anaerobic bacteria and form an oily substance that settles at the bottom of the tank.
Anaerobic bacteria are responsible for this decomposition. If the bacterial action is efficient, the volume of these solid wastes is significantly decreased as they decompose. Margot Cavin’s The Spruce is a novel about a woman who grows up on a spruce grove.
Anatomy of a Septic Tank
The septic tank is a water-tight container constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that is placed in the ground in a location close to the house to collect waste. It is comprised of an entrance pipe through which all waste from the home’s sewage line is directed into the tank and an output pipe through which liquids are directed to the drain field. Unless you look closely, the top of the tank is buried just below the level of the earth and is completely inaccessible except for one or two inspection tubes and a manhole cover, which is used to pump sludge from the tank when it becomes required.
When to Have Your Septic Tank Pumped
An inspection of a septic tank should be performed every two to three years, with mechanical pumping necessary every three to five years to empty the tank, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pumping may be required on a yearly basis for systems that are inadequate or that receive a lot of demand. System components such as electrical float switches, pumps, and mechanical components must be examined more frequently, generally once a year, in certain cases. When you pump your septic tank, you’re getting rid of sludge from the bottom of the tank, and you need to do it as soon as possible since sludge can build up to the point where it stops the outflow pipe, which allows liquids to flow into the drain field.
- Typical for larger houses, waste generation increases, causing the septic tank to fill up more quickly
- Size of the household The amount of wastewater produced is as follows: If there is an excessive amount of wastewater going into the septic tank, it might have an impact on how quickly the tank fills. The amount of particles included in the wastewater is as follows: Households with a large number of toilets or who often use garbage disposals have a tendency to fill their septic tanks more quickly. Septic tank capacity: Larger tanks can retain more solid sludge and, as a result, will need to be pumped less frequently.
There are a few methods that might assist you in estimating when you should have your tank pumped. For example, a typical four-bedroom house may have a 1,200 to 1,500 gallon tank, and if you have a family of four, you may expect to have the tank pumped every 3 to 5 years under normal circumstances.
How a Septic Tank Is Pumped
The expert who inspects and services your septic tank will notify you when it is necessary to pump out the sludge from the tank, if you have a septic service professional who does so on a regular basis. This occurs when the floating scum layer that exists between the sludge and the floating water is within approximately 6 inches of the outflow pipe leading to the drain field. Septic service specialists arrive in a huge tanker truck with vacuum equipment, and when the lid has been removed from the septic tank, they introduce a large hose into the tank through the manhole they have created.
This helps to break up the particles and mix them with the liquid material, which helps the pumping process run more efficiently.
Tips for Maintaining Septic System
There are various proactive actions you can take to ensure that your septic system runs properly and that the frequency with which it must be pumped is reduced. These include the following:
- Reduce your water use. Utilizing toilets and faucets with high water efficiency and water conservation may significantly reduce the quantity of water that enters the septic system and causes it to backup. Water leaks and drips should be repaired as soon as possible in order to avoid misuse of water, which can lead to the septic tank filling up faster. Reduce the amount of solid trash produced: Another technique to ensure that the septic system is operating correctly is to keep track of the solid waste that enters it. Trash that is either washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet can cause the septic system to become overburdened. Other than toilet paper, don’t flush anything down the toilet. Also, avoid utilizing a trash disposer that dumps organic food wastes into the septic system, which might cause problems. Even though it takes just a small amount of work, throwing things in the trash makes a significant impact in how well the septic system is managed. Rainwater should be directed away from the drain field. Rain gutters and landscaping grading that direct water into the septic system’s drain field can impair the field’s capacity to distribute water from the septic system.
- Hot tubs should not be drained into the sewer system. Water from hot tubs or swimming pools should be discharged onto the yard rather than into the drain field, since this might impose an unnecessary strain on a septic system. It is best not to flush chemicals down the toilet. Avoid flushing chemicals down the toilet because they can interfere with the bacterial process that breaks down solid wastes. There are also several other commercial septic tank additives, which are often more harmful than beneficial. Use of septic tank chemicals is not recommended unless it has been prescribed by a trustworthy specialist.
Your Guide to Septic Tank Maintenance
Did you know that it might cost anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000 to rebuild an average septic tank in the United States? With this in mind, appropriate septic system maintenance is extremely necessary to ensure that your septic system continues to function properly. Routine septic system maintenance can not only save you from having to spend a lot of money on expensive repairs, but it will also help to make your home a healthier and more secure place to live in. Septic system maintenance, on the other hand, isn’t difficult to learn.
As a result, it’s critical to pay close attention to what you’re flushing down the toilet as well as the efficiency of your household equipment. More information on how to maintain your septic system may be found in the instructions provided below.
Septic System Basics
A septic tank and a drainfield are both components of your septic system. Solids and scum that have built in your wastewater are collected in a container that is placed below and is responsible for storing them. More than one in every five houses in the United States, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), “rely on an individual onsite system or a small community cluster system to treat their wastewater.” Rural locations with limited access to public municipal sewers are common among households who rely on septic tank systems for waste disposal.
What is a drainfield?
Once wastewater has been discharged from the septic tank, it is sent to the drainfield. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a drainfield is a “shallow, covered excavation” in the soil that serves as part of a septic system. It is also referred to as a “leachfield” in some circles. It is possible for the drainfield to flood if it becomes swamped by wastewater and/or outside fluids. This has the potential to cause a sewage backlog.
Why is septic system maintenance so important?
Given the high cost of replacing a septic system, regular maintenance is essential to maintaining your septic system (and your money) in good working order. When it comes to caring for and maintaining your septic system, the more proactive you are, the longer your septic system will endure. In order to keep your septic tank in good working order, it is important to avoid the accumulation of sediments as well as any groundwater pollution.
How often should I have my septic system pumped?
If your home is large enough, the overall volume of wastewater created, the number of particles present, and the size of your tank will all influence how frequently your septic system will need to be pumped. As reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while the average septic system is pumped every three years, systems that have “electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently.” In general, we recommend that you get your septic system examined and pumped once a year to ensure that it is operating safely.
4 Steps to Septic System Maintenance
- To avoid the buildup of solids in a septic system, each residence should adhere to a regular septic service plan. Step 1: Responsible Pumping The frequency of service varies from home to household, so be sure to contact your professional for their recommendation on how often your septic system should be pumped. Step 2 – High-Pressure Water Jetting — Regardless of how well a septic system is maintained, sediments and other debris will build up in the drain pipes over time. The presence of these materials causes the lines that link the septic tank to the drainfield to become clogged and ineffective. Because of this, we recommend that you get your system cleaned with high-pressure water jetting every five years to remove and clear any debris that might hinder your system from functioning correctly. The third step is to use a bacteria additive. Septic system owners should use a live organic bacteria additive that breaks down the presence of artificial compounds and solids, such as detergents and soap, that might occasionally enter your septic system. Step 4 – Use a Bacteria Additive Upon entering your septic system, these common home chemicals destroy the naturally occurring bacteria that are necessary for the system to work correctly. Bacteria additives are a low-cost insurance policy that helps to keep your pipes clean, clear, and odor-free, as well as your system operating effectively. 4) Install an Effluent Filter – Your filter, which keeps particles from entering your drainfield, has to be cleaned or changed at least once a year, or more frequently if your system is in need of repair. Some older systems might not have a filter installed in them. Please notify your technician if your septic system does not have a filter.
Septic System Dos
We recommend that you get your septic system inspected by a service specialist once a year to ensure that it is operating effectively. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, residential septic systems should be drained every three to five years. Septic system pumping frequency should be determined by a professional. Pumping a septic system when it is necessary will help to keep it from failing completely.
Do maintain your drainfield
Avoid growing gardens or trees near your drainfield if you want to keep it in good condition.
Growing roots and brushing up against your septic system will be prevented in this manner. You should also avoid parking vehicles directly on top of your drainfield.
Do limit the amount of stuff you put down your garbage disposal
The greater the amount of rubbish you put down the garbage disposal, the greater the likelihood that your septic system will be damaged. If you want to prevent clogging your system, avoid flushing cooking oil, coffee grinds, and lipids down the garbage disposal. Instead, place these objects in the garbage to be disposed of.
Do buy high-efficiency appliances
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, proper water use can help your septic system run more efficiently. In other words, the more water you waste (via clogged toilets, excessive use of your washing machine, and so on), the more water will enter your septic system. This has the ability to inflict harm as well as drainfield floods. The most straightforward method of preventing water waste is to use high-efficiency equipment. Look for Energy Starappliances, which utilize half the amount of water that conventional appliances consume.
Do save inspection reportsmaintenance records
When having their septic system repaired, homeowners should make a point of saving any and all maintenance records and inspection reports. A full report on prospective or actual leaks, as well as scum levels and potential damage, should be included in inspections of this nature. If there has been damage recorded, you should contact an expert repairman as soon as possible to get it repaired.
Septic System Don’ts
Avoid flushing anything down the toilet that isn’t toilet paper in order to avoid causing damage to your system. Other products, such as toilet paper, are not meant to break down and dissolve in septic tanks, unlike toilet paper. The majority of goods that are labeled as “flushable” should not be flushed down the toilet. Items that should not be flushed down the toilet, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, include cooking fat or oil, flushable wipes, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, diapers, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, paper towels, and cat litter, to name a few.
Don’t hire a septic system repairman who isn’t qualified
Do you require the services of a local repairman? Search the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s network of service providers to discover a specialist that is knowledgeable and qualified in their field.
Don’t pour chemicals down the drain
It’s important to avoid pouring chemical drain openers, oil, grease, and other harmful substances down the drain whether you’re in the kitchen or the bathroom. This will help to keep your septic system in good working order.
Don’t waste water
Conserving water is the most straightforward method of keeping a septic system operating efficiently. Some simple ways to save water include purchasing Energy Star appliances, replacing leaking faucets, and repairing toilets that are running.
Don’t put rainwater drainage systems near your drainfield
Your first aim should be to keep any objects off of and away from the drainfield area. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, surplus precipitation from a drainage system, such as a roof drain, might cause extra water to pool near your drainfield. As a result, the treatment process in your septic system will be significantly slowed.
Household Features That Affect Your Septic System
It is surprising how many people are unaware that the use of common appliances can have a detrimental impact on the condition of their septic system.
Hot tubs, trash disposals, washing machines, toilets, and showerheads are all examples of household fixtures that might reduce the effectiveness of your septic system if they are used frequently.
- A hot tub owner should be aware that removing the water from their hot tub all at once might cause harm to their septic system. As stated by Pipeline, “hot tub water should instead be cooled and then drained onto grass or landscaped sections of your property well away from the septic tank, drainfield, or residence in compliance with local rules.” The use of a trash disposal is not recommended for homes with freestanding septic systems since they might cause damage to the system. The elimination of the usage of a trash disposal will significantly reduce the amount of particles and scum that accumulates in your septic tank. In the event that you do use a trash disposal, you will almost certainly need to pump your septic system more frequently than people who do not utilize this house amenity. machine to wash clothes (washing machine) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average single-family house uses roughly 70 gallons per person every day. That is a significant amount of water. Unfortunately, the greater the amount of water consumed by your household, the more overburdened your septic system will be. It raises the likelihood of failure of a septic system when it is overburdened. Those who have a septic system should restrict the quantity of laundry they wash in a single day in order to avoid this from happening. They should also use Energy Starwashing machines, which use 45 percent less water than ordinary washers
- And a toilet – Do you hear your toilet flushing? If so, you should call your plumber. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a toilet that is always running or leaking can waste up to 200 gallons of water every day. Yikes. Your power bill will rise as a result, and the amount of water in your septic system will increase as well. It is simple to prevent this from happening by replacing outdated toilets with high-efficiency toilets. Changing your showerhead — It may be time to replace your old showerhead with a modern, higher-efficiency one. These showerheads aid in reducing the quantity of water that seeps into your septic system by restricting the flow of water.
Other Septic Tank Maintenance Tips
At least once every one to three years, have a professional septic system specialist visit to your home to evaluate your tank and do any necessary repairs. When the technician comes, he or she will take note of the amount of scum in the tank. These levels should provide you with an indication of when and how frequently you will need to pump your septic system. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “if the top of the scum layer is within 12 inches of the outflow, your tank should be pumped.”
How do I know if my septic system is failing?
Is the odor coming from your septic system bothersome? According to Allstate Insurance Company, this might be a warning that something is wrong with the system. Septic systems that are congested with particles are more prone to failing than those that are not. Maintenance performed on a yearly basis might help to avoid this. Another factor that might contribute to septic system failure is the system’s design and placement. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if a septic system is placed near “unsuitable soils, severe slopes, or high ground water tables,” it may become overwhelmed with water from outside sources.
What do I do if my septic system backs up?
A sewage backup into your home is the last thing you want (or anyone wants, for that matter). The failure to maintain your septic system properly, on the other hand, might result in this. Assuming this occurs, you and your family should avoid coming into touch with the sewage. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sewage that has backed up into your house may include hazardous diseases and nasty bacteria. Call your local health department instead of attempting to clean it up yourself to notify them of the collapse of your septic system.
If you have any possessions that have come into touch with sewage, be sure to clean them off and disinfect them.