Understanding your septic system is key to ensuring your system will work properly now and in the future. Whether you’re a new septic tank owner or a veteran, the following guidelines will help you maximize the use of your septic system and avoid unnecessary expenses and repairs.
Regularly Schedule Pumping and Cleaning
Another key element to understanding your septic system is recognizing the importance of regular pumping and cleaning. While they are not the same thing, they are equally as important. Depending on your location, the government requires your septic tank to be pumped every 2-5 years. Skipping a pumping and cleaning could cause the tank to overflow or backup—failures which are highly messy and costly. Preventative maintenance is always more cost-efficient!
Routinely Schedule Inspections
As it is with most systems, detecting minor problems before they develop into major ones will save you time and money. According to EPA, the average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. If other systems with electrical pumps or mechanical components are present, they should generally be inspected once a year.
Immediately Repair Any Damages
Cracks or other damages that go unrepaired will compound over time, and the system will become unstable or even fail. If your septic system becomes unusable, the consequences are severe and expensive—your property will be polluted, its value will be lowered drastically, and you’ll have a costly mess to clean up. Be sure to take immediate action to prevent bigger headaches down the road.
Properly Protect your Drainfield
Your drainfield is the component of your septic system that removes contaminants from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank. It is important that the drainfield be kept free from trees to prevent their roots from growing into and damaging your septic system. Be sure that roof drains, and other rainwater drainage systems are directed away from the drainfield area to avoid excess water inhibiting the treatment process. Lastly, never park on your drainfield. Doing so can result in compacted soil and damaged pipes or other septic system components.
Practices to Avoid
Avoid Putting Trash Down the Drain
When it comes to understanding your septic system, one of the more important elements is knowing what not to put down your drain. Whether you flush it, pour it down your sink, shower, or bath, or grind it in the garbage disposal, it will eventually make its way to your septic system. This being the case, it’s best not to flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper. Food, hygiene products (including wipes), dental floss, hair, paint, grease, cat litter, and other kitchen and bathroom items can clog and potentially damage your septic system. Here is a more extensive list of what should and shouldn’t go down the drain.
Avoid Putting Chemicals Down the Drain
Since the efficiency of your septic system relies heavily on bacteria growth, avoid pouring any chemicals down the drain. Even septic additives can fall into this category. Most common household cleaning products are quite toxic to bacteria. This also applies to paint — rinsing paintbrushes or pouring leftover paint down the drain can result in septic system failure. Taking on a DYI paint project in your house? Be sure to dispose of any leftover paint and brushes in a nearby hazardous waste facility.
Avoid Overloading the System
If too much water flows into the septic tank, it may force excess water into the drainfield prematurely. The wastewater that leaves due to the hydraulic overload may not have been adequately treated before leaving the tank. Therefore, it may be best to avoid filling your bathtub with water while doing multiple large loads of laundry at close intervals.
Avoid Using a Garbage Disposal
Using a garbage disposal with a septic system will result in rapid scum and sludge buildup. It can also lead to clogged systems due to the excessive disposal of organic and inorganic waste.
Avoid Putting Extra Weight on the Septic Tank
Another key to understanding your septic system is knowing that the septic tank is not indestructible. Avoid driving, constructing, or moving heavy machinery or other objects over the septic tank. If the septic tank builds up too much pressure, it may break the pipes and crack the tank. This damage could cause the untreated effluent to leak into and pollute the surrounding environment along with other problems.
How Can Norway Septic Help?
Norway Septic Inc. is a service-oriented company dedicated to providing excellent septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area. We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. If you need a new effluent filter or if you would like to schedule a septic tank cleaning by one of our professionals, call us today.