Septic Tank Maintenance Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Whether you’re a city kid gone country or just built a new home just beyond the city limits, if you’re new to septic tank ownership, there are a handful of things that could catch you by surprise. Your septic tank is underground, which means it’s out of sight and, often, out of mind. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong, it’s nearly impossible to overlook. Don’t be taken by surprise with septic tank problems. Avoid these common septic tank maintenance mistakes instead.
Here’s a septic tank maintenance fail that you don’t want to learn the hard way. There are a lot of items you should avoid flushing. Even though those on city sewer systems may frequently flush diapers, feminine hygiene products, and wet naps down the toilet, septic tank owners should exercise caution in what they flush.
Everything you flush down your toilet lands in your septic tank. Solids wind up in the bottom of your tank where they build up, creating a layer of sludge. Septic tanks are designed so that natural bacteria decomposes some of the sludge, but not all of it. The faster sludge builds up, the more often you’ll need to have your septic tank pumped. So it’s in your best interest to use toilet paper that can be quickly dissolved. Biodegradable toilet paper typically dissolves quickly, as does most recycled toilet paper. You can also find specialty toilet paper designed specifically for use with septic systems.
Using toilet paper designed to dissolve quickly may help you limit how often you need to have a septic service make a house call.
Basically anything that goes down any drain in your home will end up in your septic tank. Homeowners using a septic system should exercise caution when using their garbage disposals. The foods that people send through their garbage disposals are solids that must be broken down by natural bacteria in your septic tank. Most septic experts recommend using your garbage disposal sparingly if you have a septic system. Grease and other food particles can alter the bacterial balance in your septic system, rendering it less efficient and requiring more frequent pumping. Instead of putting vegetable peelings and coffee grounds in your septic system, consider creating a compost pile. It will help your garden grow, and spare you more frequent visits from a septic system service company. If gardening and composting aren’t your thing, much of what is sent down a garbage disposal can be redirected into a trash can. If you use a septic system, find ways to use your garbage disposal sparingly.
Liquid that leaves your septic tank, called effluent, travels through a series of hole-y pipes in a gravel-filled trench. The effluent ends up in your drain field. Like the septic tank itself, your drain field requires a little bit of care. Your drain field doesn’t look like much to the naked eye; it is typically a grassy area. Experts recommend leaving it bare. The space shouldn’t be used for parking vehicles or lawn mowers or for roaming livestock. They caution against planting a garden there or even constructing a barn or garage nearby.
Maintaining your septic tank can take some getting used to. However, following these simple tips and having your tank regularly serviced can help ensure the long-term health of your septic system. For more information, get in touch with Apump Away Environmental today!