Being a Trash Man Isn't So Bad

Caring For Your Home's Septic Tank

by Roberto Garza

People who live in urban and suburban areas typically utilize their city's public water works and sewer systems. But for those who live in extremely old homes or a home located in remote or rural areas, a septic tank may be needed due to the inability to gain access to a sewer line. Septic tanks are essentially a personal treatment containment system for sewage. If not properly maintained, it can cause all kinds of serious problems like overflow, toilets not functioning, and other issues. Here are some things you can do to properly keep your septic system maintained.

Be Conscious of What Goes Down the Drain

Some things that can either be flushed or rinsed down the drain can cause harm to your septic system. While the damage is not usually immediate, it can cause problems over time. Be conscious of the following items when using your home's plumbing:

  • Avoid dumping harsh chemicals down the drain. Bleach and other household chemicals can interrupt the balance of your system. Since it relies on mostly water and natural bacteria to help decompose human waste, these items can interrupt the biological process. Instead, try to contain the chemicals, and take them to a local trash dump to be sure they're disposed of properly.
  • Do not rinse things like coffee grinds, paper towels, cigarette butts, or other materials that are not biodegradable. These items will add up inside of the system and cause a serious backlog in the tank, which can result in overflow. Always throw these items in the trash instead.
  • Don't dump grease down the drain, since this will build up inside of the pipes and cause them to clog.

Get it Professionally Pumped

Overall, most septic systems should work fairly well without a lot of maintenance. You should have the system pumped and thoroughly cleaned by a professional company at least every one to three years to ensure it is running smoothly. If you live in colder areas, the cleaning and pumping may need to be done more often than in warmer climates. This is because bacteria thrives and does much better when it's in warm temperatures.

Other Things to Remember

The frequency with which your septic tank should need service can really depend on several variables including the size of the tank, how often it's used, and how much solid material is inside it. So how can you tell if there is a problem with your septic system? One of the first signs is if you notice water seeping out of the ground near the system or if your drains are suddenly taking a long time to completely drain. Of course, strong odors are also an indication of an issue. With proper care and a bit of monitoring, your septic system should last for many years. 

Companies like Mr Bob can offer more information and septic tank services.