Are you looking for tips on septic tank cleaning?
Here is a guide explaining the details and frequency of this cleaning activity. All septic tanks require maintenance now and then. Such maintenance activity involves the removal of the tank contents when due.
Our entire discussion will be focused on all things related to septic tank cleaning.
What Is Septic Tank Cleaning About?
Most times, people use the terms septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping interchangeably. Although these sound similar, there are clear differences.
For septic tank cleaning, it involves a much detailed process.
Here, it involves the removal of all contents of the septic tank which includes wastewater or effluent as well as sludge. Sludge is usually found at the bottom of septic tanks (some may be found floating) and has accumulated to the level where it needs to be evacuated or pumped out.
Septic tank pumping on the other hand is a less detailed process and involves the pumping of liquids out of a septic tank. This includes the floating sludge. For this type of septic tank maintenance, the sludge is left behind.
Now that you know the differences, let’s turn our focus to septic tank cleaning.
Why Septic Tank Cleaning?
If you’ve been confused about the importance of septic tank cleaning over other forms of septic maintenance, this section will help you find the right answers. The most significant aspect of this maintenance activity is that it is more thorough.
In other words, wastewater and sludge (including those floating and those found at the bottom of your septic tank) are removed or evacuated. Septic tank cleaning is done as a more comprehensive maintenance strategy.
After the process has been successfully carried out, it takes a longer time before it will need to be cleaned again. As such, this process is considered more efficient and cost-saving over the long term. This brings us to the issue of cleaning frequency.
Septic Tank Cleaning Frequency
The cleaning frequency of a septic tank depends on multiple factors. These include the number of people within a household, tank size as well as how the system is used.
We know this may sound quite vague to you, which is why we’ll explain further for better understanding.
The Number of People in a Household
The frequency of septic tank cleaning is largely determined by the number of persons within a household.
In other words, the more people there is that use a septic system, the higher the need for septic tank cleaning will be. The opposite applies to households with fewer persons.
More people within a household translate to more wastewater being generated. As a result, such a septic system (regarding the tank) is put under greater pressure than one with fewer people using it.
Septic Tank Size
Your septic tank size will determine how frequent it needs to be cleaned.
These tanks are available in different sizes and fit different situations or needs. The size of septic tanks is mostly measured in gallons. These range from 500, 750, and 900. Others are 1,000, 1,250, 1,500 and so on.
The bigger a septic tank is, the less frequently it will need to be cleaned. The reverse is the case for smaller tanks.
Now, the vital connection between septic tank size and the number of people within a household will give you a better understanding of how septic tank cleaning frequency is determined.
How It’s Used
The way a septic tank is used goes a long way in determining the level of cleaning frequency. To extend the time between septic tank cleaning, you’ll need to observe and regulate what goes into the septic tank or system as well as the quantity.
One of the most common factors that call for more frequent septic tank cleaning is the overuse of water.
To manage this situation, you can deliberately space out your laundry to prevent excessive use of water which ends up in your tank. You also make provisions for a separate system for laundry water.
Ideal Cleaning Frequency
Having discussed the frequency of cleaning a septic tank as well as the factors affecting it, we’ll focus on the ideal cleaning frequency for a septic tank. For optimal maintenance, a tank should be cleaned once every 3 to 5 years.
By following this cleaning frequency, you’ll be preventing a situation where sludge gets too hard becomes more difficult to remove or clean. In other words, the thicker the sludge becomes, the harder it is for the septic tank to be cleaned.
Sludge or solids which are difficult to remove will increase your septic cleaning costs as these will need to be broken up. One way this is done is by pumping water at high pressure to disintegrate the sludge before cleaning it out.
In other cases, a more frequent re-pumping of the tank will be necessary.
Septic tank re-pumping varies from 6 to 12 months such frequency is intended to soften the sludge for eventual cleaning.
Common Septic Tank Cleaning Problems
Problems may be encountered when cleaning a septic tank. This may unfold when the tank is about to be cleaned.
Such problems include the size of the septic tank’s opening, encroaching roots, and dividing walls. These obstacles pose challenges during cleaning.
Let’s briefly discuss each of these challenges;
Size of Septic Tank Opening
Access openings to septic tanks have lids wide enough for cleaning. This starts from the time of construction of the septic tank. When the access opening to the septic tank is small, it becomes difficult for a vacuum truck hose to reach the sides of the tank comfortably.
That means a thorough job won’t be possible. A wider septic tank lid will have to be replaced to allow for greater access to all sides of the septic tank. When this is done, a better and more thorough cleaning is assured.
This is a common problem for septic tanks found close to trees or shrubs. When such roots penetrate the tank, they make sludge removal even more difficult. Encroaching roots get fastened or entangled to sludge.
This can make cleaning the tank almost impossible. Unless of course such roots are removed or cut back.
Recent designs of septic tanks have seen a shift from a single chamber to a double chamber divided by a wall. This has created a situation where homeowners have been exploited. How? Through sharp practices adopted by some septic care companies.
When cleaning or pumping is carried out, only one chamber is cleaned. This leaves sludge and behind in the other chamber. You will have to find out your type of septic tank (that is, whether it has a single chamber of double).
Some inquiries will help get the answers you seek.
What to Look for When Choosing a Reliable Service Provider
Getting a reliable and reputable septic tank cleaning company can be challenging.
However, this is made much easier when you put into consideration certain factors. Such factors help you narrow down your focus to specific requirements which are crucial to efficient service delivery.
The following should form the basis for hiring a septic tank cleaning service;
Experience is crucial in the provision of satisfactory septic cleaning services. A company’s experience is essential, but more important is the experience of the technician sent to get the job done.
As a key indicator of credibility, you want to find out what jobs have been handled by the company and the technician.
Not only is experience restricted to the ability to perform a satisfactory job, but it also includes on-the-job training provided to enhance skills and keep up industry best practices. Asking for some proof won’t be out of place.
After all, a septic evacuation company will need to show its capacity to get the job done.
· Insurance And Licensing
Licensing is the foundation of all reliable septic tank cleaning services. That is because a company without one is considered illegal hence incapable of doing a proper cleaning job. There are good reasons to be wary of companies without licensing.
In a bid to pay the least fee for septic tank cleaning, lots of clients have fallen prey to incompetent service providers with no licensing of any sort. Such companies are also likely to hire quacks. The best way to avoid such is by asking for proof of licensing.
Insurance also plays a big role in the capacity of a service provider to provide septic tank cleaning or pumping. The type of insurance policy such a company has will determine if it adequately covers risks of damage or not.
During cleaning or pumping, the damage is likely to result in your property of a septic tank.
During septic tank cleaning, you want to avoid a situation where you end up footing the cost for damages caused by the company. Rather, the insurance should cover for such damages.
Also, check for employee insurance. Septic tank cleaning can be quite risky and might result in injury to the technician.
Ensuring the company has insurance cover for its employees saves you from footing the expenses resulting from accidents when cleaning your septic tank.
This is a major currency of business. Companies invest massive amounts of money and resources to build their reputation. The same applies to septic tank cleaning service providers. There are lots of ways to find out if the service provider is reputable or not.
The easiest way is by checking on customer reviews. A little online research will churn out tons of reviews about its capacity to deliver.
Word of mouth recommendations from friends and family is another way to find the best service provider. These are people who have used or hired the services of such companies. Their satisfaction or otherwise should help you proceed accordingly.
· Professionalism and Quality Service
This is much similar to reputation and focuses on how efficient and reliable a septic cleaning service provider is. This starts from the moment of contact. How they relate with clients and their actions will convince you of their level of professionalism.
Efficient septic tank cleaning includes all the information provided here. We have also differentiated septic tank cleaning from pumping. However, one thing that is common to both is that it involves the removal of the tank’s contents.