Approximately 20% of homeowners have septic systems on their properties. The other 80% of homes are connected to city sewer systems.
If you recently purchased a home that has a septic tank, you'll need to learn how to maintain it. Learning how to care for a septic tank is essential if you want it to work properly and last as long as possible.
So, how do you maintain a septic tank? That's a great question to ask, and you're in the right place to find the answer to this question.
Here is a guide for you to follow to learn how to use your home's septic system correctly.
Learn How to Use the System Safely and Correctly
Before you do anything else, you must learn how to use your septic system. A home system is different than a city sewer system, so you may have to adjust certain habits you have now that you have your own sewer system.
How It Works
The first thing to understand is what you should and should not place in your drains. Everything that goes down the pipes in your home will land in the septic tank.
Anytime you flush your toilets, the waste ends up in the tank. When you run your dishwasher or washing machine, the wastewater goes to the tank. Every plumbing fixture in your home connects to the main sewer line in your house.
The main sewer extends from your home to the septic system, which is located outside in the ground.
The only things you should place in your drains are waste and wastewater. You should never put anything else in your plumbing fixtures.
What You Should Not Do
Some people like to pour grease down their kitchen drain. Others like to pour chemicals down their drains, or feminine hygiene products. Some like placing cigarettes in their drains.
Doing any of these things will cause problems with your system.
If you can get in the habit of following this tip, you should experience fewer issues with clogs and backups. Your tank may also fill up less quickly.
How a Garbage Disposal Affects Your System
One thing to note is that if you have a garbage disposal, you can use it for food waste. You should not place bones, coffee grounds, eggshells, or large pieces of food in it, though.
After putting food scraps in it, turn on the cold water and run the disposal long enough to make sure it chops up and flushes all the scraps down the drainpipe.
When you use a garbage disposal, you may have a higher risk of clogs forming, and it may fill up your tank faster than if you did not have one.
Understand the Importance of Evening Out Your Water Usage
The second part of maintaining a septic tank is learning about the importance of your water usage. The amount of water you use can and will affect your system, and one of the most essential parts of your water usage is evening it out.
Evening it out means spreading out the usage of water over time instead of using a lot at once.
When wastewater leaves your home and goes into your system, your system filters it. This process results in separating the liquids and solids.
The solids should remain in the tank and fall to the bottom of the tank. The system pushes the liquids out into the drain field, which is an area in your yard near the tank.
Your system cannot process a lot of wastewater, but it tends to work better when water usage is even.
For example, instead of washing three loads of laundry in one day, wash one load every day. Instead of running your dishwasher twice a day, run it only once.
When you spread out the water usage, your system can keep up with filtering the water through it more effectively.
Stick to a Regular Pumping Schedule
The final part of septic maintenance is pumping services. Over time, your tank will become full, and you will need to hire a company to pump it. When they pump it, they empty it, and you then have an empty tank to fill once again.
One question many homeowners have about pumping services is how often they should have this done. The answer is that it varies. Most homeowners should plan to do this every two to three years.
To find out how often you should get your tank pumped, ask a contractor. Contractor factor in a lot of things, including the size of your tank. They also factor in your family size, type of system you have, and your water usage.
You may find out that you should have your system pumped every one to two years, or it could be longer than this.
Additionally, you may want to hire the contractor to inspect your system every few years, too. The purpose is to keep it running well and to avoid problems. Septic problems are not only costly to repair, but they are also messy.
Companies that offer septic tank pumping services offer a variety of other services, too, including vac trailer rental and repair services.
Find Out More About How to Maintain a Septic Tank
Learning how to maintain a septic tank is one of the first things you should do when you move into a home that has a septic system.
If you learn the most effective maintenance habits and routines and follow them, you should be able to prevent most septic problems in the future.
To learn more about septic maintenance, check out our blog.