Well and septic maintenance are two of the most important services that homeowners should do, yet they are also the ones most often neglected. Neglect can lead to serious problems, however, so it is important that regular septic system maintenance is done.
Why Is Septic Tank Care and Maintenance Important?
The US Environmental Protection Agency highlights several reasons for maintaining a septic tank, saying that doing so:
Protects Your Wallet
Paying for regular septic system maintenance fees every one to three years can save money in the long run. Septic system repairs or replacement can be costly, so regular maintenance to prolong the life of your system is money well spent.
Protects Your Property Value
If your septic system is not functioning properly, your property value can be affected. Additionally, an unusable septic system can be a legal liability.
Protects You and Your Neighbors
Septic systems are designed to remove bacteria, viruses, and high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater. A malfunctioning system can lead to contamination of groundwater, which can cause illness and disease in people and animals.
Many homes with septic systems also have wells for drinking water. A malfunctioning septic system can lead to contaminants in drinking water.
Contaminated groundwater can also get into surface waters, causing infections in swimmers and others who use the water.
Protects the Environment
Septic systems that are not functioning properly can release pollutants into the ground, which eventually enters waterways. The result is that native plants and fish can be killed.
Tips to Maintain a Septic System
Maintaining a septic system is relatively straightforward, assuming that you know these septic tank maintenance tips.
Limit the amount of water that flows into the system
If you need to do large amounts of laundry on a regular basis, try to spread it out over the course of the week. That way, the septic tank is not overwhelmed with the sheer volume of water flowing into it all at once.
You can buy an Energy Star clothes washer, which can use 50 percent less water than standard models. Consider installing faucet aerators on bathroom and kitchen faucets, and add high efficiency showerheads to help reduce overall water usage. High efficiency toilets use less than half the amount per flush compared with older toilets – important given that toilets account for 25 – 30 percent of household water use.
Be careful about the chemicals that get into the system
The health of your septic tank is dependent on the living organisms in it that help break down waste. Chemicals can kill or harm the bacteria, resulting in a disruption in the tank’s ability to process the wastewater. Here is a partial list of things you should avoid pouring down the sink:
- Chemical drain openers
- Oil-based paints or solvents, and limit latex paint
- Paint thinner
- Excessive amounts of household cleaners, including bleach
- Photographic solutions
- Gasoline, oil, or antifreeze
You should also avoid using antibacterial soaps and strong cleaners too frequently.
Beware of common things from the kitchen that can cause clogs
Avoid pouring cooking grease or oil down the drain, and minimize or eliminate the use of a garbage disposal. Do not put coffee grounds down the drain.
Be careful about what you flush
Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Baby wipes, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, diapers, and cat litter all need to be disposed of in another way. Any of these items can cause a clog in your septic system.
Inspect and pump the septic system regularly
Every one to three years, you should have your entire septic system inspected. Regular septic tank pumping should also be done on a regular basis to ensure that the system continues to function effectively.
Maintain the drainfield
As with the rest of the septic system, regular inspections should be done of the drainfield. Additionally, be sure that trees and other large plants are an appropriate distance from the drainfield, and never park vehicles on the drainfield.
Know your septic system’s limitations
Septic systems are designed for the size of the home, under the assumption that larger homes will have more residents, and, thus, more waste. Having too many people using a too-small septic system can result in problems because the bacteria in the tank will not be able to break down the wastewater quickly enough.
When Your Septic Tank Needs to Be Pumped
With regular maintenance, including septic tank pumping, most septic systems will function as intended. Septic tanks need to be pumped every three to five years, but even with regular maintenance, a septic system can develop problems.
Here are some signs that you need septic tank pumping:
- There is a strong odor in the yard
- Toilets or drains in the house back up
- Standing water is present outside
- The septic alarm is going off
If you experience any of these signs, call a professional septic company to address the problem before it gets worse.
Septic System Maintenance in Lakeland
For all your septic system and drainfield needs in Lakeland and throughout the rest of Central Florida, contact Septic and Drainfield Depot. In addition to septic system maintenance, we provide septic cleaning and pumping, bacteria replacement and additives, repairs and replacements, new installations, site marking and tank search, comprehensive inspections, and real estate inspections and reports.
The proper functioning of your septic system is crucial, and our team of septic experts can quickly evaluate and address the situation when there are problems or provide a thorough inspection and septic tank pumping if that is what is needed. Each of our professionals has had extensive training, and our goal is to diagnose the problem and fix it correctly the first time.
The Septic and Drainfield Depot team has years of experience in septic systems, construction, and other service industries. We are dedicated to transparent pricing, and we strive to always exceed your expectations. Contact Septic and Drainfield Depot today for all your septic system needs.