The Do’s and Don’ts of Septic Tank Maintenance

If a septic tank is not properly cared for via routine maintenance, you increase the likelihood of expensive and incredibly inconvenient septic backups. As it is for most other things, routine care of your septic tank is much cheaper than the expense of a repair. Fortunately, you won’t need a professional for most of the maintenance tips that we have listed here. All it takes is a bit of thoughtfulness and occasional time spent to keep your septic tank operating as it should.

How to Care for Your Septic Tank

Most septic tank care boils down to your day-to-day actions with minimal active effort involved. However, far too many homeowners neglect the following tips – until their septic system starts to give them problems.

Use Less Water and Address Leaks

You should always be on the lookout for leaks in your home. Address them and have them repaired as they emerge to minimize the amount of water that is being wasted this way. This includes looking at the pipes that you can see inside and outside of your home – even basement pipes and pipes that may run along the area beneath your house.

Another way to ensure that your home isn’t using too much water is to opt for more energy-efficient fixtures. These fixtures, like low-flow toilets and showerheads as well as economical sink faucets, reduce water usage significantly. This works to your favor in two ways:

  1. Your utility bills will be lower.
  2. You’re putting less strain on your septic system.

Only Flush What’s Meant to be Flushed

Never, under any circumstances, should you flush anything down the toilet that isn’t toilet paper or waste. Cat litter, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes and even diapers have been the reason for numerous emergency plumbing appointments for countless contractors. It will take no time at all for these items to clog up your septic tank.

Take Care of the Drainfield

The drainfield of your septic system needs to be able to properly absorb liquid. There are several ways that you can easily ensure that your drainfield is functioning as it should:

  1. Never, ever pour grease down the drain. Grease can clog the drainfield and prevent it from adequately absorbing.
  2. Make sure that rainwater doesn’t accumulate in excess on the drainfield. If the area has already become too saturated, it will not be able to continue absorbing what you want it to.
  3. Never drive or build on top of the drainfield, as this can cause damage.
  4. Plant grass on the drainfield to ensure the best possible absorption.

Minimize the Use of Your Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal could more than double the amounts of solids going into your septic tank, so consider whether you really need to use it. If the garbage disposal is something that you insist you need to use, consider upgrading to a more modern garbage disposal, one that chops food down into even smaller particles than older models.

Pump Your Septic Tank

For a family of four, a 1,000-gallon septic tank should be pumped of solids every four years or so. However, the calendar can be inaccurate so you’re better off taking a visual look at the tank. If the top layer of sludge is within 12 inches of the outlet, it’s time to pump your septic tank. This is not a step that can be skipped.

Never Open the Septic Tank Yourself

As a final note, make sure to never open the septic tank on your own. The gasses and bacteria present inside of the tank can be hazardous to your health and shouldn’t be handled by anyone except a professional.

Hire a Plumber to Help Care for Your Tank

Repairing leaks and addressing the plumbing fixtures that feed into your septic tank is best left to the professionals. Ridgeway Mechanical has a team of expert plumbers to help you keep your water lines and other fixtures in great working order so that your septic tank doesn’t have to suffer.

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