Top 5 Tips for Septic Tank Maintenance
- Make your property more water efficient.
- Learn what you can and can’t pour down your drains.
- Carry out regular inspections.
- Protect your drain field.
- Have your tank pumped.
How often do you need septic tank maintenance?
- Septic Tanks Should Be Serviced Every 3 to 5 Years. The best way to ensure your septic tank continues to work well is to make sure you stay up-to-date with
- Caring for Septic Tanks.
- Your Septic Tank Isn’t Invincible.
- Your Septic Tank Needs Will Depend on Your Usage.
- Contact Streamline for a Quality Septic Tank Service at a Cost-Effective Price.
How do you maintain a septic tank?
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.
Can I clean my septic tank myself?
Can You Clean a Septic Tank Yourself? Technically, you can clean a septic tank yourself. If done incorrectly, you can damage your tank, improperly dispose of waste, or fail to remove all of the waste from the tank. You should hire a professional to clean your septic tank for many reasons.
How often should a septic tank be serviced?
As a general rule, you should only need to empty your septic tank once every three to five years. That being said, the actual frequency will vary depending on your usage and how many people are living in your home.
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?
How often should you pump your septic tank?
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.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
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 do I remove sludge from my septic tank?
How to Reduce Sludge in a Septic Tank Without Pumping
- Install an aeration system with diffused air in your septic tank.
- Break up any compacted sludge.
- Add a bio-activator or microbe blend.
- Maintain the aeration system.
- Add additional Microbes as required.
How can I increase bacteria in my septic tank naturally?
Homemade Septic Tank Treatment The ingredients required for this natural solution are the following: Water, Sugar, Cornmeal, and Dry Yeast. To concoct this mixture, first start by boiling roughly a half gallon of water. Add in 2 cups of sugar. The sugar will act as the first food your bacteria will eat!
How do I know when my septic tank needs emptying?
Here are some of the signs for which you should look.
- Water puddling above the septic tank. So you noticed a small pool of water but it didn’t rain?
- Drains moving slowly. If the drain is moving slowly when you flush the toilet, it could be due to a clog.
- Bad smells coming from the septic tank.
- The sewer has backed up.
Can a septic tank never be pumped?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
Do septic tank additives really work?
There is little scientific data to suggest that you should add bacteria or enzymes to your septic system. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reported that biological additives do not appear to improve the performance of healthy septic tanks.
How do I check my septic tanks sludge level?
To measure the sludge layer:
- Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
- As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
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 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.
- Inspection of the average residential septic system by a licensed septic service specialist should be performed at least once every three years. Household septic tanks are normally pumped every three to five years, depending on how much usage they receive. 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 good working order. As an alternate system with automated components, a service contract is critical. The frequency of septic pumping is influenced by four primary factors:
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
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 the years. Document any maintenance work done on your septic system in written form for future reference. Your septic tank is equipped with a T-shaped outlet that prevents sludge and scum from exiting the tank and flowing to the drainfield. 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 outlet.
When you receive your system’s service report, the technician should record the repairs that have been made and the tank’s condition.
You should engage a repair person immediately if more work is recommended. An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to locate service specialists in your region.
- 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
Toilets with a high level of efficacy 25 to 30 percent of total home water use is attributed to toilet flushing. 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 every flush or less in some instances. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the quantity of household water that gets into your septic system; aerators for faucets and showerheads with high efficiency Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restrictions.
Water waste may be reduced by selecting the appropriate load size.
Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week as much as possible.
Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than normal ones.
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:
- Cooking grease or oil
- Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
- Photographic solutions
- Feminine hygiene items Condoms
- Medical supplies such as dental floss and disposable diapers, cigarette butts and coffee grounds, cat litter and paper towels, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals such as gasoline and 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?
When dealing with a clogged drain, stay away from chemical drain openers if possible. To prevent clogging, use hot water or a drain snake; Don’t ever flush cooking oil or grease down the toilet. It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge amounts of harmful cleansers down the toilet. We should strive to reduce even latex paint waste. Disposal of rubbish should be eliminated or limited to a minimum. In turn, this will dramatically limit the quantity of fats, grease, and sediments that enter your septic tank and eventually block its drainfield; and
- 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.
Septic Tank Maintenance Tips
Follow these guidelines to keep your septic tank system in good working order and save money on repairs.
- Inspections should be performed every one to two years, and cleaning (pump out) should be performed every three to five years or more regularly, depending on the tank size and number of people that use the system. It is never a good idea to flush cat litter, coffee grinds, diapers, towelettes (including the ‘flushable’ variety), cigarette butts, condoms, grease, dental floss, baby wipes, paints, thinners, pesticides, oils, pharmaceuticals, or excessive amounts of household chemicals. Understand where your system is located. You should construct a diagram or map indicating the placement of the tank in relation to permanent objects such as the corners of your home, steps, or fence posts after you have had the tank pumped. Instruct the pumper to assist you in locating the drainfield. Place it in the appropriate area on your diagram, alongside the location of your drinking water source. Keep this sketch with your septic tank records for future reference. To make it easier to discover the tank lid, place something that can be moved easily over it, like as a birdbath or ornamental rock. Maintain the drainfield’s integrity.
- Increase the height of the barrier to prevent vehicles from driving over the drainfield, which might cause the tank lid and pipes to break and compress the soil, reducing oxygen flow. (Bacteria in the drainfield require oxygen to survive.) Downspouts and other surface water – notably irrigation sprinklers – should be diverted away from the drainfield to prevent clogging. It can be harmed by too much water. Keep anything other than grass growing over the drainfield
- Do not dig or build anything over the drainfield.
- Water should be conserved. Minimize your system’s reliance on wastewater treatment and disposal. Examples of ways to do this include:
- One or two loads of clothes should be washed everyday at the most. Each load of laundry can cause up to 53 gallons of water to overflow into your septic system, so it’s better to spread washing out over the course of the week. Make repairs to leaking faucets and toilets
- Over time, they can cause hundreds of additional gallons of water to enter your septic system. When feasible, use low-flow fixtures and appliances to save water. Low-flush toilets consume between 1.1 and 1.6 gallons of water every flush, which can cut your water cost by up to one-third compared to traditional toilets. Sink faucets with low-flow aerators are available. Showerheads with low flow rates and low-flow washing machines will also help you save water.
- Do not dispose of rubbish using a garbage disposal. It can increase the amount of particles in your septic tank by up to 50%, increasing the frequency with which you must pump out your tank. Caustic drain openers should not be used to unclog clogged drains. Instead, use hot water or a drain snake to unclog the drain. Please check to be that your water softener is not hooked to wash back into your septic tank. Conserve your documents, which should include a copy of your septic tank permit. Avoid the use of septic tank additives, commercial septic tank cleaners, yeast, sugar, and other similar substances. There is no need for these goods, and some of them may be dangerous to your health. Commercial bathroom cleansers and laundry detergents should only be used in small amounts. Make use of a light detergent or baking soda to clean your toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs.
Be exceedingly careful around open or uncovered sewage tanks. Falling into a sewage tank can cause death via suffocationor drowning. Even leaning over a septic tank might lead you to collapse.
Septic Tank Alerts Septic Tank Alerts
Your Guide to Septic Tank Maintenance
Notifications about Septic Tanks
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
It is more probable that you may cause damage to your septic system if you dispose of a lot of rubbish down the garbage disposal. Cooking oil, coffee grinds, and fats should not be disposed of down the garbage disposal to avoid blocking it. Instead, place these objects in the garbage to be disposed of properly.
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
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 shower. This will keep your septic system from being damaged.
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.
8 Essential Tasks to Do Regularly for Septic Tank Maintenance
In the United States, more than 20% of homes do not utilize a municipal wastewater system, instead choosing for an individual septic system or a small community cluster system to treat their waste water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Recognizing that, if you own or operate a septic system, it is critical that you understand how septic systems operate and are familiar with the maintenance chores you can perform to assist extend the life of your system by preventing leaks and clogging.
The two components are connected by a network of pipes that go from a home’s wastewater drainage line through the tank and out to the leach field.
It is critical to stay on top of these vital maintenance duties to ensure that your septic system remains healthy and operating for the longest period of time feasible.
What Is a Leach Field?
Solid waste from wastewater travels into the septic tank, where it is separated from the liquid waste. The liquid waste then runs through an output baffle and into a series of perforated pipes, which enable the liquid to gradually seep into the ground and be naturally filtered by the soil. A leach field, also known as a drainfield, is comprised of a network of perforated pipes as well as the surrounding region where the liquid waste is discharged into the environment.
Pump the Septic Tank Regularly
Having your septic tank pumped is one of the most crucial activities that you will need to schedule around once every two to five years, depending on how large your home is. In order for you to know whether you need to have your septic system pumped once every two years or once every five years, you must first determine the size of your tank, the number of people who live in the home, and the sort of waste that is deposited into it. While having a trash disposal in your house is convenient when you are linked to a municipal wastewater system, these appliances may considerably increase the volume of solid waste that flows into a septic system, increasing the frequency with which it must be pumped.
Inspect the System for Leaks
Taking a stroll around the septic system on a regular basis can help you notice any locations where the grass is notably more lush or dense than in other parts of the yard. Plant life benefits greatly from a leaky tank, which also has the additional benefit of emitting strong sewage odours. It will, however, be impossible to detect any leaks in the tank while it is still being utilized in the majority of situations because the tank is buried underground. During the pumping process, it is most efficient to check for leaking septic tanks.
It’s also a good idea to check the baffles at this stage to make sure that they aren’t missing, broken, or otherwise damaged.
What Are Baffles?
Baffles are used to restrict and divert the flow of incoming and exiting wastewater within a septic tank’s internal chamber. They keep scum from blocking the inlet and output pipes by removing it from the system. Damaged or missing baffles in a septic tank increase the likelihood of backups and clogging in the tank.
Clearly Mark off and Maintain the Leach Field
In a septic tank, baffles are used to control and divert the flow of wastewater from the inlet and outlet. Scum is prevented from clogging the inlet and exit pipes as a result of their installation. Damaged or missing baffles in a septic tank increase the likelihood of backups and clogging in the system.
Limit Water Usage and Household Waste
In a septic tank, baffles are used to restrict and redirect the flow of wastewater from the inlet and outlet.
They keep scum from blocking up the inlet and outflow pipes at the same time. Having a clogged or missing baffle in your septic tank increases your chances of having a back-up.
Use a Bacteria Additive
The trash that is generated in the home does not simply sit in the septic tank and gather until it is time to have the tank drained. By weight, it filters the waste, enabling the particles to settle to the bottom of the tank and the liquid waste to be discharged to the leach field, where it can be filtered by the soil. The waste that remains in the tank is progressively broken down by bacteria, which helps to maintain the health and functionality of the septic system. Strong cleaning solutions, antibacterial soaps, and drain cleaners can all harm the bacteria in your system, so in order to protect the naturally occurring bacteria in your septic system, you can introduce new bacteria that break down unnatural substances like detergents and soaps through the use of certain organic additives—just make sure you do your research to ensure that these additives are truly beneficial.
Install an Effluent Filter
It’s a good idea to have an effluent filter installed the next time your septic tank is drained in order to assist extend the life of the leach field and prevent obstructions that might cause floods or septic backups in the future. As a result, particles are kept out of the leach field dispersal system by installing this filter on the outflow of the septic tank and grease trap, which acts as an effective barrier. Once installed, the effluent filter will continue to work for about three to five years before it will require cleaning.
If you have an older septic tank that isn’t compatible with a typical effluent filter, you may retrofit it with an effluent filter that is designed specifically for that tank.
Check the Leach Field for Clogs
Even if you limit the amount of water and solid waste that enters the residence and perform regular inspections and pumping of the septic tank, the leach field might get clogged at some point. In particular, during periods of wet and rainy weather, additional water can overwhelm the system, increasing the quantity of solid waste that travels through and onto the leach field. The melting of a considerable quantity of snow over a period of many days might result in flooding. It is recommended to stroll across the leach field during rainy or wet weather to check for sewage smells or unusually fast and lush growing grass, which could signal that the drain field is plugged.
Keep Accurate Maintenance Records
It is critical to keep accurate records of any system maintenance that is conducted, regardless of the type of maintenance that is performed. It is possible to use this information to help you determine the amount and frequency with which you should add bacteria additions to your system. Any inspection results that are inconsistent with the standard expectations for your system based on past data can also be used to identify potential problems before they become too difficult to manage. One further strong reason to keep clear, concise, and complete maintenance records is to ensure that you have them available for any prospective purchasers if you ever decide to sell your house.
Even though septic systems might be intimidating to some, your house will be more enticing to buyers if it comes with a complete set of thorough maintenance records, as opposed to a similar property with an unknown septic system history.
Septic systems operation and maintenance overview
Here’s a quick outline of what you’ll need to do to ensure that your system operates and maintains at peak efficiency and for the longest possible life.
- Tank should be pumped on a regular basis. Check and pump the tank with the help of a professional. Conserve water and distribute its use over a longer period of time
- Solids should be managed. Keep dangerous products out of the house
- Allow the system to operate in its native state
- Compaction of the drainfield should be avoided. Excessive water should not be introduced into the drainfield. The drainfield’s structural integrity must be maintained.
Pump tank regularly
- Scum and sludge can accumulate in the drainfield and be swept away by the current. They will clog the drainfield, causing it to fail and necessitate the repair of the drainfield. The accumulation of scum and sludge in the tank lowers the amount of space available for wastewater storage.
- Many experts advocate pumping a tank every 2-3 years
- However, this is dependent on the amount and quality of wastewater produced. It’s also possible to create your own pumping intervals. Immediately after having your tank pumped, you should have a septic specialist examine it on a yearly basis until the scum and sludge layers have accumulated to a point when pumping is required. This will be your pumping interval until your waste generation rates change (either because someone has left or because a garbage disposal, additional people in the home, or children reaching adolescence has been installed). Depending on how and when your waste generation rates change, you will have to adjust the pumping interval accordingly.
Have a professional inspect and pump the tank
As an informed consumer, you should insist that the expert follow Nebraska state-mandated processes, which include the following:
- Pump the tank out of the manhole with a hand pump. If you pump via the inspection ports, you run the risk of damaging the baffles or tees, and it is difficult to thoroughly empty the tank. After pumping the tank and flushing back materials under pressure to dislodge any residual scum and sludge, pump the tank one more to completely empty it. Check for cracks in the tank and ensure that baffles or tees are properly installed. Ensure that the septage (materials from the tank, including liquids, scum, and sludge) is disposed of in a safe and legal way, often at a municipal wastewater treatment facility.
Conserve water and spread usage over a period of time.
Why? The tank is constantly filled, with the exception of the time immediately following pumping.
- The tank holds one gallon of wastewater, and for every gallon that enters, one gallon of effluent exits, entering the drain field. In order for the solids to separate in the tank, roughly 24 hours of retention time must be provided. It is possible that excessive water usage over a short period of time will prevent settling from taking place. Solids may be flushed out of the tank with the effluent
- This is possible. In a tank, rapid water flow may cause a wave motion to form, scouring the bottom and resurrecting muck, which can then be flushed out of the tank with the effluent.
- The effluent from the tank is equal to one gallon of wastewater that enters the tank and flows to the drain field. In order for the solids to separate in the tank, roughly 24 hours of retention time is required. It is possible that excessive water usage over a short period of time will prevent settling. A large amount of solids may be flushed out of a tank together with the effluent
- In a tank, rapid water flow may cause a wave motion to form, scouring the bottom and resurrecting sludge, which may then be carried out of the tank with the effluent.
- Solids in wastewater are referred to as scum or sludge. As a result, increased solids in the wastewater result in more frequent pumping owing to the accumulation of scum and sludge.
- If you have a waste disposal, use it only when absolutely necessary. The usage of a garbage disposal on a regular basis creates additional solids. Depending on the circumstances, a tank may need to be pumped up to twice as often as a tank in a family that uses a trash disposal very sometimes or not at all. Instead, use compostable materials. Install an effluent filter on your septic tank with the help of a professional. It filters the effluent as it exits the tank, collecting suspended particulates in the process. The effluent filter is less expensive and less difficult to maintain than a blocked drainfield. Grease and oil should not be flushed down the toilet. It has the potential to block the pipes and cause scum development. Throw away cigarette butts, face tissue, diapers, paper toweling, and feminine items in the garbage together with other solid waste. Install a lint filter in the washing machine to keep the machine clean. Consider the fact that lint is removed from your clothing in the washer in the same way that it is removed from your clothes in the dryer. Lint may accumulate in the septic tank and produce scum or sludge, or it may remain floating in the tank and flow out with the effluent to the drain field. When at all possible, use liquid detergents. Powdered materials include additives that solidify as sludge. Make use of toilet tissue that decomposes quickly. Shaking your toilet paper in a covered jar filled with water will reveal its quality. After less than one minute of shaking, the paper should begin to show symptoms of collapse.
Keep Hazardous Materials Out
- Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), medications, paints, paint thinners, solvents, and excess cleaning products are among the items that septic systems are not designed to handle. Septic systems are also not designed to handle pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), medication, paints, paint thinners, solvents, and excess cleaning products. As a result of slowing down or killing beneficial soil microorganisms, and/or going to the groundwater table and contaminating it, these materials may contribute to system failure.
- Don’t misuse or dispose of surplus materials such as pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), pharmaceuticals, paints, paint thinners, solvents, and cleaning goods down the drain
- Instead, recycle or compost the items. A system is capable of handling standard volumes of home cleaning agents, including antibacterial soaps, without requiring special attention. Use that is excessive may be damaging to the system. Excess quantities should be disposed of at a residential hazardous waste collection facility. It is best not to use automated toilet cleaning dispensers that include bleach. These put a continual antibacterial agent into the tank, which might interfere with the initial treatment process.
Let the system work naturally
- It is normal for good bacteria, which are required for early treatment, to be introduced into the septic tank by toilet usage and other wastewater creation
- Pumping does not eradicate beneficial bacteria from the tank. With the initial flush after pumping, more germs are reintroduced into the system.
- Use of septic starters, additives, or feeders is not recommended. Some are ineffective and, as a result, are a waste of money. It’s possible that others will truly harm your system.
Avoid Drainfield Compaction
- Use of septic starters, additives, or feeders is not recommended! Some are ineffective and, as a result, represent a financial waste. It’s possible that others will do damage to your system.
- It is not permitted to drive or park automobiles or agricultural machinery on the drainfield. Keep dog kennels and animal confinement facilities away from drainfields
- Do not build patios, decks, driveways, garages, or any other structures over the drainfield.
Avoid Introducing Excess Water to the Drainfield
- Excess water in the drainfield will fill soil pore spaces with water that does not require treatment, taking up valuable space that could be used for oxygen and/or wastewater.
- Roof drains, downspouts, and basement drainage should be diverted. Water should be tiled outside the septic system and away from the drainfield. Irrigate only when absolutely necessary in the drainfield area. Always avoid flooding the drainfield region with huge volumes of water.
Maintain structural integrity of the drainfield.
- Do not add dirt to the area except to fill in minor depressions to prevent water from accumulating
- Keep rats and burrowing animals away from your home. Establish and maintain a grassy buffer zone around the drainage field. It is not permissible to put trees on or near the drainfield. It will be harmed by the roots.
For NEW systems, maintain a replacement drainfield area.
- It is required by regulations that newly constructed systems include a reserve area for replacement in the event that the first drainfield fails
- This reserve area must be handled in the same manner as the first drainfield.
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.
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.
8 Well and Septic Tank Maintenance Tips
Well, septic tank, and well care is a complicated issue to tackle. Get quotations from as many as three professionals! Enter your zip code below to get matched with top-rated professionals in your area. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about one in every five Americans relies on a septic system and a private well instead of municipal water. One possibility is that you reside in a rural location or a private neighborhood and are thus one of these people. That implies it is your responsibility—or the responsibility of your homeowners association—to keep it in good condition.
Pre-treated water then travels through the drainfield on its way back to the earth, where it was collected.
Deferred maintenance might potentially result in sewage backing up into the residence or contaminating groundwater in the surrounding region.
However, don’t let this deter you from purchasing the picturesque rural property of your dreams. Keep these clean water ideas in mind to ensure that everything continues to flow.
1. Ask Questions
It’s critical to have a well and septic system evaluated and to ask plenty of questions before purchasing a piece of land with one. You could be fortunate enough to discover that the previous owners kept documents of how the well and septic systems were constructed and who was responsible for their upkeep. Make certain that you:
- Understand the location of the septic tank and drainfield
- Recognize the location of the wellhead. Uphill and away from the septic system are ideal locations for this. Make sure you know what tests your state demands.
Request that the well water be analyzed for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels by a reputable laboratory. To locate a qualified water testing lab, contact your local health department or the Environmental Protection Agency.
2. Test the System Every Year
Well pump and equipment checks are a low-cost approach to ensure that everything is operating as it should be, even if they are not necessary. The pressure in your expansion tank may be checked by a septic system provider in your area. Your well pump will stop and start more frequently than necessary if there is insufficient pressure in the well or if the well pump pressure switch fails, which might result in the pump failing sooner than expected. Having a well maintenance firm in your area can ensure that the equipment is in excellent working order, do repairs, and test the water for contaminants.
- It is possible that there is a bacterial issue. Noticing a change in the pressure or velocity of well water
- You may have noticed a change in the flavor, color, or smell of your water. In your neighborhood, have you seen an uptick in building or manufacturing activity?
3. Be Careful About What Goes Down the Drain
Every item that is rinsed or flushed down your drains will end up in your septic system if you live in a home with a septic tank. Drains should be kept clear of remaining paint, vehicle fluids, and cleaning products. As a result of using these items, a buildup will develop that will ultimately require removal. Additionally, they can have an effect on the good bacteria that dwell in the septic system and help it to function properly and efficiently. When enzyme cleansers are required, use them to assist in the breakdown of organic debris without damaging the microorganisms already at work in the tanks.
4. Avoid Using the Garbage Disposal
Image courtesy of Mariakray / Adobe Stock The relationship between garbage disposals and septic systems is strained. Garbage disposals have the potential to introduce an excessive amount of solid materials into the system. Pumping is only made more difficult as a result of this. Plates and chopping boards should be scraped into a compost bucket instead. A composting system in the backyard is a terrific alternative to using a waste disposal. It keeps oil from your kitchen, vegetable scraps from your garden, and bits of meat out of your septic system, and it may deliver valuable nutrients to your vegetable garden.
5. Keep the Lid on the System
Image courtesy of senssnow / Adobe Stock Because it is necessary to keep the septic system lid closed at all times, there is a chance of people slipping into the system, and it is not the cool underworld that you may imagine from cartoons—it is quite dangerous. Check the condition of the lid on a regular basis to ensure that it is secure and has not cracked or degraded in any way.
Check the wellhead to make sure that the well cap and seals are in good working order. Any vents should be equipped with screens to keep animals out, and the concrete slab around the well should be in good condition to prevent groundwater from accumulating around the structure.
6. Conserve Water
Image courtesy of Mihail / Adobe Stock The use of less water is not only a wise conservation technique, but it will also help to extend the life of your irrigation system. Overloading septic systems is very common, so give them a rest and spacing out your water usage. Keep your clothes from piling up on one Saturday, and avoid draining the hot tub on the same weekend if you can help it. The amount of water present in the earth will have an impact on the performance of your well. When there is a drought, the water table (or the level of water beneath the surface of the earth) drops.
As a result, save groundwater by doing the following:
- Showering for shorter periods of time
- Only complete loads of dishes or laundry should be done. When the machine isn’t completely filled, use the modest load setting. Using low-flow toilets and installing them
- Finding and fixing any hidden leaks in your bathroom
7. Protect the Drainfield
It is the portion of the yard where pre-treated water runs through the soil and sediment on its way back to the groundwater that is referred to as the drainfield. The drainfield of a septic system is a delicate area that requires special attention.
- There should be no pool draining in the drainfield, and there should be no automobile parking in the vicinity. Rainwater or snowmelt should be diverted away from the drainfield. Maintain a 100-foot buffer between trees and the drainfield. Roots from trees infiltrating the septic system can cause blockages and other problems.
You can decorate the space with flowers or grass that are shallow-rooted in nature. However, avoid covering the area with plastic weed guards, gravel, or concrete patios to prevent weeds from growing.
8. Protect the Well
Groundwater should not come into touch with the wellhead if it is placed uphill from the septic drainfield, which is the ideal situation. Keep animal manure, garden fertilizer, and any other possible pollutants that you wouldn’t want to end up in your drinking water at least 100 feet away from your water well.