Septic Tank Cleaning and Pumping: Options and Safety

Looking for tips on septic cleaning and pumping? Here is a guide explaining the details and frequency of these septic care activities.

Septic tanks need maintenance now and then. Such maintenance includes cleaning and pumping when necessary. This is what we’ll be focusing on.

Here, you’ll find all the information you need on how septic tanks should be cleaned and pumped.

As you read through, you should have no difficulties. If you are interested in the cost involved, here is a price list.

Septic Cleaning And Pumping; What’s The Difference?

A lot of times when septic tank maintenance is being discussed, cleaning and pumping are often used interchangeably. Do the two words (cleaning & pumping) mean the same thing? Not really. There are clear differences.

Septic tank cleaning involves a much detailed process. This process includes both the removal of water as well as sludge which has accumulated over time. This is found at the bottom of the tank. However, some parts of this sludge might be found floating at the top. Cleaning ensures the septic tank is free of both.

Septic tank pumping, on the other hand, involves the removal of liquid plus floating sludge from the tank. This type of maintenance leaves the sludge behind.

Pumping is best when the sludge at the bottom isn’t as much and won’t be necessary to clear or remove.

  • Which Is Better; Cleaning Or Pumping?

The thoroughness of a septic tank maintenance job depends on what method is applied. Having explained both concepts of cleaning and pumping, it helps highlight what is involved.

Septic tank cleaning, is the most thorough option is considered better. It not only clears out the liquid but also the solids or sludge at the bottom of the tank.

Unlike what obtains during pumping, the entire tank is cleared or evacuated. However, that doesn’t mean pumping has no use. Quite the opposite. Temporary relief is provided by pumping. This only postpones cleaning to a later time.

In any case, septic tank cleaning will eventually have to be done as a more comprehensive maintenance strategy.

You Might Want To State The Type Of Maintenance You Need

Being able to differentiate between septic tank cleaning and pumping gives you an edge. Why? Because you know exactly the type of service you need. So, when a septic tank evacuation company is called to clear out your tank, you can specify the exact service you need.

Most times, professional septic tank removal evacuation services will provide you with options. Such options are only provided after an inspection must have been carried out. Septic tank inspection allows these professionals to identify what needs to be done. You then choose what fits your situation and needs.

Having explained the differences between cleaning and pumping, we will be using these words interchangeably for the sake of convenience.

How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Cleaned Or Pumped?

This is an important question whose answer determines how well a septic tank is maintained. For best results, a septic tank should be cleaned every 3 to 5 years. This helps a great deal to prevent sludge from getting too hard and unable to be pumped out.

In other words, the thicker sludge becomes, the harder it is for the septic tank to be cleaned.

  • What Happens When The Sludge Get Too Thick?

Septic tank pumping becomes even more difficult when sludge gets too thick. Now, there are reasons why this happens. Sludge gets thick when a septic tank isn’t cleaned frequently enough. Regular cleaning of a septic tank (usually every 3 to 5 years) will prevent sludge from becoming too thick.

What happens when sludge gets too thick? While such a situation can make it quite difficult to pump a septic tank, the situation isn’t hopeless at all. In other words, this problem can still be remedied.

Extra water is added to the septic tank to make it less thick and easy to pump out.

Solids are broken down by using water at high pressure. This is focused on the affected areas until such sludge disintegrates. If solids are too thick to be broken down using water, a more frequent re-pumping of the septic tank is necessary.

A re-pumping frequency of 6 to 12 months should help soften the sludge for eventual cleaning.

Common Septic Cleaning Problems

When a septic tank is cleaned or pumped, problems are likely to unfold. These are due to multiple problems. Such problems include the size of the septic tank’s access opening, encroaching roots and dividing walls. These create difficulties when cleaning or pumping such tanks.

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.

  • Encroaching Roots

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.

  • Dividing Walls

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

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.

  • Reputation

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 and pumping 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.