Septic systems: Five tips for keeping your septic system in peak condition

The beauty of a properly installed septic system is that it largely does what it does on its own, requiring little real maintenance.  But fail to maintain it and know that you will be faced with hefty repair bills. You could end up having to replace part or all of the system.

So here are five handy tips to make sure you don’t get stuck with those bills.

  • Have your septic tank inspected periodically for sludge buildup and have it cleaned regularly, perhaps every couple of years. Yes, you could go longer, but in the long run you will come out ahead, saving money. That’s because a freshly cleaned tank works more efficiently than a tank that has accumulated layers of sludge. It’s also less likely to malfunction.

An efficiently running septic system is also better for the environment.  You know when the waste is fully treated and percolated in the seepage field that it will free of harmful microbes such as coliform bacteria. You don’t want waste from your system polluting nearby bodies of water or making your neighbors ill.

  • Use water wisely. The more water your household uses, the more water that flows into the septic system and needs to be treated. Check for faucet drips and leaky toilet bowls.

Also, consider installing high efficiency shower heads and toilets. They can save many many gallons of water. Also, when washing clothes, choose the right load size.

  • Watch what you flush down your drains. Your system is designed to treat household waste, but that does not include sanitary pads, paper towels, dental floss and other non-degradable items.

All that junk end up in the tank’s sludge, and the more that lands there the more often you’ll need to have the tank pumped out.

Also, avoid using garbage disposals, which can overload a tank with food products that may not fully break down, ending up in the sludge. Compost food scraps instead.

Also on your ban list: household chemicals such as paint thinners and pesticides. They can mess with the anaerobic digestion that takes place in the tank and breaks down fecal matter and the like. Look for labels warning that a substance is hazardous.

  • Care for and protect you septic field. You want nothing to disturb the network of piping below the surface. So you want to keep heavy object off of it. Don’t park cars on it.

Also stick to growing grass over it, with maybe some flowers. Avoid trees and other plants that send sturdy roots deep into the ground. They can obstruct and even uproot the piping.

  • Keep an eye out for any signs of flooding of the field or muddy areas around the septic tank. Also keep an eye out for backed up toilets and flooded basements. Another sure sign of trouble: odors.

Any of these signs tells you you have a problem and need to call your septic service provider ASAP.





Facebook Iconfacebook like button