Septic System Maintenance: Care for Tanks and Pumps

What does septic system maintenance entail? Here is how to care for septic tanks, pumps, pipes, and lines.

The optimal functioning of your septic system depends on how well it’s maintained. The different methods of maintenance discussed will focus on providing you with everything needed to get started.

Whether you’re seeking tips on residential or commercial septic care, we’ve got you covered.

Is Septic Tank Maintenance Difficult?

This is a legitimate question for many people. Fortunately, taking care of your septic system isn’t difficult at all. It only involves simple tasks that won’t take a whole lot of time to implement.

Most times, septic system maintenance has to do with the prevention of certain practices. In other words, you will have to avoid flushing certain things down your toilet. These and more will be expanded shortly.

Sticking to maintenance guidelines helps prevent frequent problems resulting from septic system failure. Often, maintenance consists of dos and don’ts.

Read on to find more information on these.

Septic System Maintenance Contracts

If you have very limited time to spare for septic system maintenance, there’s good news!

Septic maintenance companies are just a call away. Such professionals provide maintenance services, repairs, as well as waste removal and pumping.

Septic system maintenance contracts are entered into to ensure consistent inspection and supervision. This ensures that repairs are carried out when the need arises.

However, despite the expert services provided by such companies, you still have an important role to play for the best results.

Best Ways to Maintain Your Septic System

Effective septic system maintenance is hinged on four basic elements. These are; the efficient use of water, frequent inspection and pumping, drain field maintenance and the proper disposal of waste.

These four elements when carefully implemented ensure your septic system functions effectively.

A brief mention of these four elements isn’t enough. We’ll be discussing each of them to ensure you fully grasp the information included.

Without delay, let’s begin this discussion;

  • The Efficient Use Of Water

When you take into account the amount of water used by an individual a day, you’ll have an idea of what will happen if there’s a leakage or other forms of disruption to the normal operation of a septic system.

To put it into perspective, an individual uses about 70 gallons of water in a typical single-family home.

For two or more individuals, multiply the amount of water consumed. Now, a serious problem arises when there’s a leak as lots of water is wasted. This, in addition to untreated sewage leaks, is likely to find its way into the water body posing significant health risks.

There are ways to maximize the efficient use of water in a sewer system. Such tips increase the efficiency of the system, hence limiting wastage.

i. Washing Machine

How does this apply to septic system maintenance? In a lot of ways!

Washing machines use water and such water is flushed down the septic system. Hence, your laundry activities play a role in the condition of the system.

Consider spreading out your laundry and not doing all of it in a single day.

Accumulating your laundry for a single day can get your drain field flooded. Also, the septic tank doesn’t get sufficient time to treat such waste. Spreading out such laundry across several days makes it less likely to flood, thus allowing adequate time for waste to get treated.

The systematic use of your cloth washer also counts. A lot of times, people waste water by running small loads of laundry on full or large load-cycles. Not programming your washing machine to use less water for fewer laundry results in water wastage.

Do you find it difficult to select an appropriate load size? Running only full loads of laundry will do.

ii. Change To High-Efficiency Toilets

What do high-efficiency toilets do? You guessed right! They reduce the amount of water consumed per flush. This is important as the proper maintenance of your septic system depends on how well water is conserved.

Newer versions of such toilets require fewer gallons of water as compared to older versions.

This is important because the water coming from toilet-use accounts for approximately 30% of total household water use. Water-efficient toilets cut this down significantly.

iii. Flow Restrictors And Water Efficient Shower Heads

Another septic system maintenance related to efficient use of water involves the installation of flow restrictors and water-efficient showerheads. The effect is the reduction in water use.

Remember, excess water in the septic system does more harm than good.

  • Frequent Inspection And Pumping

This is another strategy that ensures proper septic system maintenance.

Septic inspections help identify whether the system needs fixing or not. Now, the frequency of inspection counts. On average, septic system inspection should be done every 3 years.

There are exceptions though. Such exceptions relate to alternate septic systems. Sounds confusing right?

Well, alternate systems are septic installations that have some form of mechanical components. Such include pumps or electric flow switches among others. For these (alternate systems), more frequent inspection will be necessary. This should be done once every year.

This takes us to another equally important aspect of septic system maintenance which is pumping. Pumping is provided by a septic removal or evacuation service. It removes the liquid or wastewater as well as some sludge.

Without an inspection, it will be difficult to know if a septic tank is due for pumping. However, a septic tank should be pumped once every 3 to 5 years. This helps maintain the entire system and limits the likelihood of blockages.

You’ll need to keep records of all services such as pumping, repairs, and inspections.

This enables you to keep track of the next due date for cleaning and pumping your septic tank. Service providers will also find such information highly informative and helpful, thus enabling them to provide better services.

  • Drainfield Maintenance

The drain field is an essential part of the septic system responsible for the wastewater treatment process. Such a vital role played by this component of the septic system requires adequate maintenance.

Maintaining the drain field isn’t a difficult process.

Care should be taken to avoid planting trees too close to the drain field. Doing so leads to roots penetrating or growing into the septic tank. You don’t want to experience such problems as it adds to making your septic system less effective.

All forms of external drainage such as rainwater from roofs among others should be redirected away from the drain field. This is important because it helps avoid excess water. Excess water is something you want to avoid as it either slows down or stops the treatment process for wastewater.

  • Proper Disposal Of Waste

Indiscriminate waste disposal down your drains ultimately ends up in your septic tank. This creates problems in no time. However, this situation can be avoided by doing the right thing. In other words, extra caution should be exercised concerning what goes down your drain.

Kitchen sinks, toilet bowls, baths, and showers must not be used as trash cans. Only liquids should go in. However, not all types of liquids should be emptied down the drain.

Liquids such as cooking grease or oils shouldn’t be poured into the drain, as they prevent easy absorption and efficient wastewater treatment.

i. Never Allow These Enter Your Septic System

There are items and substances which should never find their way into your septic system. These materials affect the normal functioning of the system and may lead to blockages among other things.

Such items include ground food or food scraps, latex materials like gloves or condoms, whiskey, liquor, excessive laundry detergents, and motor oil.

Others include paper towels, panty liners, photo chemicals, pesticides, swimming pool chemicals, plastic bags, sanitary napkins, excess water, washing machine lint, and trash, including scraps and toys.

There are more.

Also, include tampons, toilet seat covers, chemicals such as ammonia, bleach, concentrated drain cleaners, and Epsom salts.

Cat or kitty litter shouldn’t be allowed in, so also should cigarettes (including butts and filters), clothes dryer sheets, cotton swabs, dental floss, cooking oil and coffee grounds. Diapers, baby wipes (and all other types of wipes such as disposable & wet wipes), prescription medicines, antibiotics and all forms of drugs.

Fats, oils, and grease must be avoided too.

This is quite a long list of items that must not end up in your drainage. These items make it difficult for easy passage of wastewater among other things.

By ensuring such items are excluded, the condition of your septic system is better enhanced.

Septic Care: Changing Your Approach To Waste Disposal

A lot of people are guilty of emptying or pouring down any of the items mentioned above down their drainage. While that is true, you can avoid compounding septic problems by excluding or stopping such immediately.

We’ve seen different ways septic system maintenance can be carried out.

READ: Do Septic Tank Additives Work?

Whether you prefer the services of professionals to help you with these or not, you will always be involved in one way or the other. Your actions and those of your household determine what gets into the septic system or what does not.

A septic system that is free of these items and is regularly maintained will continue to function optimally for a long time.