The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out (form- ing sludge) and oil and grease to float to the surface (as scum). It also allows partial decomposition of the solid materials.
Should I buy a house with a septic tank?
- Look for the septic tank. The tank should not be entirely buried and at least one port should be visible in the yard. If the tank is entirely buried- move on, do not buy the house because it is a safe bet that the tank has never been pumped and the entire septic system will have to be replaced.
What are the disadvantages of a septic tank?
- Maintenance costs $300-$600 every few years (which can still be cheaper than municipal sewer).
- It can cause groundwater contamination if the system leaks.
- If not maintained, you can have a costly mess on your hands.
- Septic tanks will eventually need to be replaced.
How often should a septic tank be emptied?
How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank? To keep your sewage system running correctly, your septic tank needs to be pumped out or desludged every 1 -2 years. It is extremely important to keep your septic tank maintained.
What should I ask about septic tank?
6 Questions You Need To Ask During A Septic System Inspection
- What Is A Septic System?
- How Often Should You Get A Septic Inspection?
- What Does A Septic Inspection Involve?
- How Much Does A Septic Inspection Cost?
- How Long Do Septic Systems Last?
- When Should You Repair Or Replace Your Septic System?
Are septic tanks hard to maintain?
Septic system maintenance is not complicated, and it does not need to be expensive. Upkeep comes down to four key elements: Inspect and Pump Frequently. Use Water Efficiently.
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.
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 know when my septic tank needs to be emptied?
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.
Will toilet flush if septic tank is full?
Toilets Flush Slowly When your septic tank is excessively full, your toilet may start acting odd. You might find that your toilet doesn’t fully flush or flushes very slowly and odd noises occur when you flush your toilet. These noises usually sound like gurgling or bubbling.
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.
Is a leach field necessary?
Septic System without A Leach Field You can probably guess, now, that a septic system is incomplete without a leach field. With only a septic tank, you can find yourself needing to empty the tank almost monthly! That is because the leach field is responsible for safely getting rid of the wastewater.
How do you evaluate a septic system?
The inspector may use a dye test during this part of their inspection. In a dye test, the inspector will introduce dye into the water that is being drained to see how much of it enters the septic tank. From there, the septic tank will get pumped and the inspector will check for any backflow from the absorption area.
Should seller pump septic tank?
Typically, septic systems only have to be pumped every 3-5 years. Despite this, however, county law mandates the system to be cleared out before the sale of a home. Thus, it’s in the best interest of the seller to wait until there’s a prospective buyer to begin the process.
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 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!
Do septic tanks smell?
A properly-maintained septic tank should be odor-free, so if you notice a bad smell inside your home or outside near the leach field, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. Septic odors are caused by gases in the system, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.
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:
- It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on septic system maintenance because it is not difficult. There are four main components to upkeep:
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:
- 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?
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
The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a fact sheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.
- 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.
The 5 Biggest Questions Home Buyers Have About Septic Systems
Do not park or drive on your drainfield; it is illegal to do so. Construction: Plant trees at a proper distance from your drainfield to prevent roots from growing into your septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your particular situation. Roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems should be kept away from the drainfield area. In excess water, the wastewater treatment process will slow down or halt completely;
1. How do septic systems work?
Water that has been filtered by a septic system is called effluent. There are several components, including a big septic tank, distribution box, baffles, and a drainfield, all of which are buried below ground. Septic fields and leach fields are other names for the drainfield, which is a network of perforated pipes that extends out from the septic tank and allows filtered wastewater to be released back into the environment through the soil. The wastewater from your home, including that from toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances, is channeled out of the house and into the tank through the pipes.
The accumulation of particles over time offers a luxury home for helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the materials and release the grease, oil, and fats that have accumulated on the surface (the scum).
The residual wastewater (also known as effluent) runs via outlet pipes into a disposal bed or drainfield, where it is slowly and securely filtered by the earth, allowing it to be recycled.
2. What are common misconceptions about septic systems?
A lot of people have misconceptions (and even falsehoods) regarding septic systems, and this may make it difficult to decide whether or not to purchase a property that has one. Take a moment to put some popular myths and misconceptions in their proper perspective.
- In the case of septic systems, there are numerous common misconceptions (and even myths) that should be considered by anybody contemplating purchasing a property with one. Take a moment to put some popular myths and misconceptions out of their misery:
3. How do you maintain a septic system?
Septic systems require regular care and maintenance in order to function properly.
The good news is that keeping a septic system in excellent working order is rather straightforward. Here’s how to keep it in proper functioning order.
- Take cautious with the information you submit over the system. Pouring anything down the toilet should be avoided at all costs. This includes things like paint and chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grinds, disposable wipes, diapers, and feminine products. These are all potential clog-makers in the septic system. It is best not to use any additives in the system. Additives may be classified into two categories, according to the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, which are chemical and biological. Despite the fact that these solutions are touted to accomplish anything from speed solids breakdown to enhance the condition of the drainfield, they typically cause havoc on the bacteria that are intended to keep the system running smoothly. Keep vehicles away from drainfields and never park or drive over them, since this might cause damage to the pipes. When planting shrubs or trees near a drainfield, use caution to avoid damaging the plants. The roots of some water-loving plants, such as weeping willows, can find their way into the drainfield, outlet pipes, or even the septic tank system itself. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, a fair rule of thumb is: if a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
- If a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
- Get your septic tank pumped out by a professional septic provider on average every two or three years. An further visual inspection of the component is often performed at the same time by a qualified specialist
- Call a specialist as soon as you see any signs of impending failure (as indicated below)! The sooner you contact, the less expensive a repair may be
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
4. How do you find the best septic system inspector?
Once an offer on a home is made, the deal is nearly always subject on the outcome of a thorough inspection of the property, which includes an examination of the septic system. Important to remember is that what is stated on a seller’s disclosure form is not a substitute for a thorough inspection of the property being offered for sale. The average homeowner does not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to conduct a thorough inspection of the system. If there are concealed issues, it is possible that the homeowner will not be aware of them.
- One of the most common types of house inspection is a general home inspection, which evaluates the structure of the home, systems within it (such as plumbing and electricity), roof condition, and maybe some of the external features.
- As a result, always seek the services of a septic system specialist for an inspection.
- Your neighbors and real estate agent may be able to provide you with a few decent leads.
- To begin, contact each possible inspector and ask them about their approach to the task; for example, some may use cameras to evaluate the distribution box and drainfield, while others may dig to complete their inspection.
- Once the inspection has begun, the expert will search for pumping and maintenance records, examine for signs of leakage or backup, measure the levels of sludge and scum, and determine the age of the tank, among other things.
- Depending on whether or not the property includes extensions that were built after the septic tank was originally installed, an inspector may give recommendations to make the residence more sanitary.
- Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
5. What are the signs that a septic system needs to be replaced?
It is critical to notice the warning symptoms of impending failure before they manifest themselves.
For the most part, failure of a septic system goes unnoticed at first. Keeping an eye out for warning indicators will help you arrange a replacement before something goes wrong.
- Predicting when a failure is on the horizon is critical to avoiding catastrophe. Initially, it is possible that a septic system’s failure would go undiscovered. Keeping an eye out for warning indicators will help you plan a replacement before the system breaks completely.
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
Septic systems, which are used in around 20% of homes in the United States, are designed to remove effluent from a residence. While septic systems may need a bit more maintenance than utilizing a public sewage system, they are not nearly as difficult to maintain as their reputation would have you believe. A well-maintained septic system may survive up to 40 years if it is inspected on a regular basis and kept on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. It is critical for homebuyers contemplating a property with a septic system to have the system inspected by a professional before making an offer.
FAQs About Septic Tanks and Septic Systems
When it comes to septic systems, there is a lot to understand. Even after reviewing the information provided above, you may still have concerns regarding how septic systems operate and how to properly manage them. Answers to some frequently asked questions concerning septic systems are provided here.
Q: How does a septic tank work?
When sewage is discharged into a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it is colonized by helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the solids and liberate the lipids contained within them. The byproducts rise to the surface of the tank and are separated by a series of baffles.
Q: What are the three types of septic systems?
When wastewater enters a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it forms a bed of helpful anaerobic bacteria that work to break down the particles and liberate the lipids contained within them. After rising to the top of the tank and being separated by a set of baffles, the waste products are discharged.
Q: How many years does a septic system last on average?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well managed septic system may survive for 40 years. It is essential that you get the septic system evaluated before to purchasing a property so that you can get an estimate of how long the septic system is projected to operate.
Q: What is the alternative to a septic tank?
An aerobic treatment system, composting waste, and a drip system are all options for replacing a septic tank in a residential setting.
Q: What chemicals are bad for a septic tank?
The use of chemicals such as oil-based paint, paint thinners, lubricants, gasoline, weed killers, foaming cleansers, and chlorine-based cleaners can cause damage to your septic tank. They have the potential to pollute the surrounding environment as well as destroy the bacteria that are necessary for waste breakdown inside the septic tank, making it difficult or impossible for matter to degrade. Septic systems are well-understood by professionals. Link up with reputable professionals in your region and obtain free, no-obligation quotations for your project.+
Buying a Home With a Septic Tank? What You Need to Know
Published in February of this year A septic tank is one of those property features that might make prospective purchasers feel uneasy. A septic tank is a component of a home’s wastewater system that is often found in homes that are not served by municipal sewers. Instead, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, these stand-alone systems are meant to dispose of and treat the wastewater generated by a residence on their own (EPA).
For anyone contemplating purchasing a property with a septic system, here are some often asked questions and answers to consider:
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How Does a Septic System Work?
A pipe gathers all of the wastewater from the residence and transports it to an underground septic tank that is completely waterproof. As explained by the Environmental Protection Agency, solids settle to the bottom of the pond while floatable items (known as “scum”) float to the top. Both are confined within the tank, which is emptied on a regular basis by a professional pumper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the middle layer includes liquid wastewater (also known as “effluent”) that exits the tank into a buried drainfield in the yard, where the wastewater disperses into the soil.
Is the Septic System Related to the Drinking Water System?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well to provide water. The septic system, on the other hand, is completely separate from the well. Rather of treating wastewater so that it may be consumed, its objective is to safely distribute it in a manner that prevents pollution.
What Differentiates One Septic System from Another?
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the size of the drainfield and the quality of the soil are the primary factors that distinguish one septic system from another. In addition, the drainfield must be large enough to accommodate the volume of liquid generated by a family. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, do not use a home’s toilet, sink, or disposal as a wastebasket for dental floss, coffee grinds, kitty litter, paint, or chemicals to avoid the chance of blocking the system.
How Often Should You Get Your Septic Tank Emptied?
To remove the sludge and scum from the septic tank, it is necessary to hire a professional to pump it. The frequency is decided by the size of the tank and the degree of activity in the home (how much wastewater is generated). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most septic tanks should be emptied every three to five years. However, certain systems may require more frequent pumping – perhaps once a year if necessary.
What Are the Signs of a Failing Septic Tank?
Aside from routine pumping, the tank should be examined for leaks or obstructions on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, signs of a clogged system include foul odors that appear from time to time and fixtures that drain slowly or gurgle.
What About Maintenance Costs?
The size of the tank and drainfield, the accessibility of the tank, and the distance that waste must be taken for disposal all influence the cost of septic system upkeep. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pumping a tank might cost between $250 and $500.
What Should I Do Before Buying a Home With a Septic System?
Learn about the laws in your state. Some states demand a septic system examination prior to transferring ownership. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one anyhow. As a rule, conventional house inspections do not involve an examination of the septic system. Zillow reports that an inspection may provide a detailed assessment of the system’s integrity, identify whether it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (to minimize contamination), and check the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which could cause damage to the system.
If you do need to replace your system, the cost might vary significantly.
Owning a property with a septic tank does not have to be a frightening experience. You will be able to enjoy your home for many years to come if you do regular maintenance and upkeep.
Despite the fact that a septic system is an excellent technique to clear your property of sewage, it may be temperamental if you don’t take precautions. A septic system is capable of providing for itself. It includes all of the bacteria that are required to break down solids in the environment. Solids, fluids, scum, and sludge are all separated into distinct strata based on their weight, and each layer is separated further. Afterwards, the filtered water and liquid are discharged into a drain field.
In order to guarantee that your septic system is operating effectively, you should be aware of the following information.
What to Flush
The bacteria in your septic system are responsible for breaking down the particles that enter the system through the pipes. The flushing of materials that are not biodegradable or that upset the equilibrium of the microorganisms in your system may have an adverse effect on your system. No feminine products, cleansers, cat litter, or diapers should ever be flushed down the toilet or into the septic tank. Not only will they have a detrimental impact on the bacteria, but they also have the potential to produce a significant obstruction.
In order to break down the particles that pass through the pipes, your septic system is reliant on beneficial bacteria. Your system might be compromised if you flush objects that are not biodegradable or that upset the delicate balance of microorganisms in your toilet. No feminine items, cleansers, cat litter, or diapers should ever be flushed down your toilet or down your drain. Besides having a harmful impact on bacteria, they may also produce a significant blockage in the system. [pagebreak]
Inspect the Drain Field
A drain field is required for every septic tank. After it has been filtered, this is the location where the surplus water is dumped. It is an essential component of the system. In reality, the state of your drain field may provide a great deal of information regarding the health of your septic tank and its operation. Take a walk around your drain field every few weeks to keep it clean. As you walk, pay close attention to how your shoes feel on your feet. If you notice that the ground is muddy or sludgy and it hasn’t rained in a while, it’s possible that your septic tank is overflowing.
An adequate drain field is required for every septic tank. After it has been filtered, this is where the surplus water is dumped. It functions as a critical component of the overall system. It is true that the state of your drain field can provide valuable information regarding the health of your septic tank. Take a walk around your drain field once or twice a month. Pay close attention to the way your shoes feel when you walk in them.
You might have a septic tank overflowing if you notice the ground is muddy or sludgy despite the fact that there hasn’t been any rain. The presence of liquid at the surface of a well functioning drain field should be avoided at all cost.
Even if your septic system filters out surplus liquid as needed, it is still necessary to have your complete system pumped out every three to five years to ensure that everything is working properly. This clears away any solids that have accumulated and ensures that everything continues to function correctly. The greater the amount of time you spend using your septic system, the more frequently it will need to be pumped. Knowing everything there is to know about your septic system is the best approach to guarantee that it remains in good working order.
Your septic tank will continue to work correctly for many years if you do regular inspections and take good care of it.
What You Need to Know About Septic Systems
Throughout the house buying and selling process, both buyers and sellers will come across new concepts and terminology. Some homeowners, believe it or not, are completely ignorant about septic systems, despite the fact that they have one. Additionally, purchasers who are unfamiliar with septic systems and their care may find up making an offer on a house that has a septic tank. If a homeowner hasn’t been in their house for a long period of time, it’s hard to blame them for not being familiar with a system that has always worked well for them.
What’s a septic system?
Those who live in homes that are not served by a centralized public sewer system must have a way of disposing of their wastewater. A septic system is responsible for disposing of and treating wastewater from toilets, showers, sinks, laundry, and other sources. A conventional septic tank will retain and biologically treat solid waste using both technological and biological processes, while the wastewater will be treated by being slowly leached through underground perforated pipes and then transferred into the soil.
Septic systems are installed in around 20% of American households.
How does a septic system work?
Every time you flush the toilet or wash the dishes, the wastewater leaves your home through a single main pipe and drains into an underground septic tank, which is typically located some distance away from your home. The septic tank itself is nothing more than a waterproof container, which is often constructed of concrete or fiberglass. It naturally separates wastewater and waste materials, with solids sinking to the bottom to create “sludge” and greases float to the top to form “scum.” It retains wastewater and waste materials in natural separation.
The water filters via pipelines and porous earth layers, where it is further treated before it is absorbed into the groundwater. Bacteria and viruses are removed from the environment by the soil layers, which function as organic filters.
How do you know if you have a septic system?
Most homeowners aren’t even aware of the existence of their septic system until they have difficulties or decide to sell their property. In addition, because septic systems require frequent maintenance, now is a good time to find out whether or not you have one on your property. The following are some indicators that you may have a septic system:
- You do not get sewage invoices, or the amount charged on your water account for “wastewater” is zero dollars. You have a well and no water meter, therefore you don’t have to pay for water
- You reside in a rural location with few houses in the immediate vicinity
- Septic systems are installed in your neighbors’ yards. There is a septic system on your property, according to the paperwork.
How do I find the septic tank?
Your septic tank is approximately 10 to 25 feet away from your home and is connected to your home by a sewer line that runs through your yard. Septic tanks are connected to the sewer line, which is normally a 4-inch pipe that protrudes from your home (often from a basement area) and runs underground to the tank. Because you can’t see the line, it might be difficult to find your septic tank in this situation. There are tools known as “soil probes” that may be used to trace the pipe by sticking them into the ground every foot or so.
Your property’s as-built blueprints may even be available for download online, depending on where you reside.
What is septic tank maintenance?
Your septic tank system, like any other system, will survive longer if you maintain it properly. Remember that you should never flush anything other than toilet paper down a toilet, as you probably already know. This is especially important when it comes to septic systems. Periodontal products like tampons and baby wipes; paper towels; grease; dental floss; cigarette butts; chemicals; and drugs may all cause damage to your septic system by clogging pipes and interfering with the purifying operations of the system.
It’s critical to remember to get your septic system evaluated every few years to see whether or not it has to be drained out completely.
How often should you get a septic inspection?
Septic tanks should be drained at least once every three to five years. Some homeowners are more comfortable with a one-time payment of a few hundred dollars each year rather of a recurring payment. However, a checkup every three years will most likely be sufficient to ensure your safety. If you haven’t had your septic system tested in more than five years, don’t make the mistake of waiting any longer. The frequency with which your septic tank should be pumped may also be determined by the size of your tank, the number of people living in your home, the appliances you use, and the behaviors of the individuals who live there.
Fees of $250 to $500 every three to five years are a better value than rebuilding a septic system that costs 10 times as much.
What is a septic system inspection?
It is always best to have a trained expert perform your septic system inspections. There is an online tool provided by the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) that allows you to search for qualified inspectors in your local region. A normal septic examination will include the following steps:
- Identifying the system’s location
- Remove the manhole cover from the manhole
- Performing routine checks on toilets, sinks, and appliances to ensure that water is flowing through the system Taking measurements of the scum and sludge layers to assess whether or not pumping is required
- Examining the tank and the drain field for structural integrity
Does a home inspection include a septic system inspection?
When compared to a conventional home inspection, a septic system examination by a qualified wastewater specialist is an additional cost. A visual examination is typically all that a home inspector will do when inspecting a house for sale. A home inspector may examine the flow and pressure of water coming from faucets, toilets, and other appliances. The inspector will also investigate the drain field for symptoms of septic system problems, such as pooled water, and will report his findings.
A house inspector, on the other hand, will not dig up a septic tank, measure its contents, or check any of its components. This is something that only a qualified septic system specialist can do.
Signs of a failing septic system
Despite the fact that you cannot see your septic tank, you may be able to determine if it is not functioning properly. If your septic system isn’t capable of processing your water waste, it will emit various warning indications to alert you. The following are signs of a malfunctioning septic system:
- Sinks, toilets, and drains that are blocked up or draining extremely slowly
- Strange gurgling noises coming from the plumbing system
- Water accumulating in locations close to the home, septic tank, or drain field
- Noxious scents
- In specific spots surrounding your home, there is lush, vibrant green grass sprouting
If you have a septic system and see any of these indicators, it’s important to take precautions and get it inspected.
How long do septic systems last?
While it is widely understood that a septic system has a lifespan of 25-30 years, the length of time a system will endure is closely connected to how effectively it is maintained. With annual inspections, a traditional septic system may survive as long as a home if cared for properly.
Tips for home sellers with a septic system
Keep meticulous records: Keep track of any inspections, pumps, repairs, and other pertinent information in conjunction with your septic system’s diagram (property as-built). Not only will you be able to remain on top of the health of your septic system, but it will also be that much simpler for your agent to demonstrate this to the agents representing the purchasers. Pump at the appropriate time: The buyer will almost certainly want an inspection of the septic system. Your septic system will need to be examined and flushed prior to the buyer’s visit.
If the inspection reveals issues, you must report them to the buyer before the sale may proceed.
Tips for home buyers with a septic system
If you’re really contemplating purchasing a home with a septic system, the only way to ensure that the system is in good working order is to have the system examined. In addition to your usual home inspection, a septic system examination will be performed. An experienced agent has a trusted network of industry specialists and will know the correct questions to ask about the status of a septic system, such as the system’s age, size, type, and inspection and repair history, among other information.
Make certain that you use the most qualified realtor to handle your transaction.
There are two major types of septic systems: the conventional and the alternative system.
What is the operation of a septic system?
Solids settle to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.
Buying A House With A Septic Tank: Pros And Cons
Septic system inspection is the only method to know for sure whether or not a home has a healthy system before you make a serious decision to buy it. In addition to your usual home inspection, a septic system check will be carried out. An experienced agent has a trusted network of industry specialists and will know the essential questions to ask about the status of a septic system, such as the system’s age, size, type, and history of inspections and maintenance. No matter whether you’re buying or selling a property, a system as critical to one’s health — and as expensive to replace — as a home’s septic system should be dealt with with care and consideration.
- In terms of septic systems, how many distinct types are there.
- In most cases, the sort of system that should be installed is determined by the site and soil characteristics.
- Solids, effluent, and scum are separated into three levels in a septic tank, which allows waste to be separated into three layers (see illustration above).
- In the drainage field, the intermediate layer of effluent leaves the tank and is carried away by subterranean perforated pipes.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-Us. By understanding how a septic tank works—and what may go wrong with it—you will be able to save a lot of money on septic system maintenance in the future.
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
When gravel is used to surround pipes, water can run into the soil and oxygen can reach germs. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt. 9. Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata. The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
Garbage from your home is deposited in three layers: Septic filters are designed to prevent blockages in the drain field pipes.
Solution for a clogged septic system
If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to work properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.
- Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
- Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
- Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
- A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
- A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
- Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
For additional information on what should and should not be flushed down the toilet, contact your local health authority. More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.
Get an inspection
Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.
A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.
Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.
As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
Alternatives to a new drain field
If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
Protect your drain septic field from lint
When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.
Don’t overload the septic system
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
What You Need to Know About Your Septic System’s Drainfield
In the absence of a municipal sewer system, the likelihood is that you are utilizing an aseptic system for all of your wastewater disposal. It is your septic tank that is emptied every time you flush the toilet or when water drains down the drain from sinks or the laundry.
Residential septic systems are available in a variety of configurations, but they invariably include an aseptic tank, into which wastewater is channeled for treatment, and a drainfield, into which effluent evaporates or drains into the ground.
What Is a Septic System Drainfield?
In order for a septic system to work correctly, drainfields, also known as leach fields or absorption fields, must be installed. Drainfields collect and manage wastewater that has been pumped from the septic tank and are thus essential. They are comprised of perforated pipes that are buried two to four feet underground and lead away from the tank. Septic tanks would overflow if a drainfield was not there, resulting in runoff and a foul stench in your yard. Whenever everything is operating properly, the soil in the drainfield filters the wastewater, and naturally occurring bacteria and microorganisms decompose the solid waste.
What Are the Signs There Is a Problem With Your Drainfield?
- Waste smells, particularly outside in the vicinity of the septic tank and drainfield
- Predominant presence of dark green, luxuriant flora covering the drainfield It may be visually appealing, but it indicates a severely overburdened septic system. It’s possible to have wet, soggy, or spongy regions over your septic tank or drainfield even in dry weather. It’s possible that you’ll discover puddles of standing water. Kitchen and bathroom drains that are too slow
- Toilets that are overflowing or sewage backups
What Are the Causes of These Problems?
A drainfield can live for 50 years or longer if it is properly cared for and maintained. However, several of the indications listed above might indicate that a drainfield is beginning to fail. The system just does not have the capability to take any additional garbage. Sewage backups, a foul stench outdoors, and sluggish drainage within your house are all possible consequences of this.
When erected over a drainfield, heavy objects such as a shed, animals, or automobiles can cause the pipes below to get damaged or destroyed. Compaction of the soil can also be caused by an excessive amount of weight on the drainfield. Wastewater cannot be adequately absorbed in compacted soil, resulting in the occurrence of many of the symptoms described above.
Pipes are blocked
A possible source of obstruction is the infiltration of tree and plant roots into sewer lines, which prevents wastewater from draining correctly. The accumulation of sludge and the flushing of objects that should not be flushed down the toilet can also cause clogging of pipes.
The septic system is overloaded
Doing multiple loads of laundry on the same day as running the dishwasher might cause the septic system to become overburdened. A leaky faucet or a gurgling toilet might also be problematic. Time is required by all septic systems in order for the effluent to pass through the treatment procedures. It is otherwise necessary to compel wastewater to flow into the drainage field at a quicker pace than the drainage field is capable of handling. This can result in standing water or the mushy, spongy conditions described above.
Gutter downspouts draining over the drainfield
Having gutters that drain across the septic system drainfield makes it more difficult for the drainfield to absorb wastewater and perform its function. This might result in a squishy region that is constantly wet or standing water.
What to Do to Maintain a Healthy Drainfield
- Heavy machinery, automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats, grazing animals, and structures should be kept away from the area above your drainfield. Planting trees or other plants over your drainfield might cause harm to the pipes since the roots will grow into them. Make certain that all gutter downspouts are directed away from the drainfield. Every two to three years, have your septic tank pumped. Solids are conveyed into the drainfield by the absence of frequent pumping, resulting in blockage of the pipes. Apart from the waste that comes out of your body, the only item that should be flushed down the toilet is toilet paper. Other solids should not be flushed. Additionally, refrain from dumping any fats, oils, or grease down your drains. You should space out your laundry and dishwashing days so that you don’t overburden your septic system.