Septic tank maintenance: Everything you need to know
If you live in a home with a septic tank, it’s important to know how to properly maintain it. A well-maintained septic tank will last for many years and help to protect your health and the environment.
How septic tanks work
Septic tanks are underground chambers that treat wastewater from homes and businesses. They work by using gravity to separate the solids from the liquids. The solids settle to the bottom of the tank, while the liquids flow out into a drain field.
The drain field is a network of perforated pipes that allow the liquids to seep into the ground and be treated by the soil.
Septic tank maintenance schedule
The frequency with which you need to pump and inspect your septic tank will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your tank, the number of people in your household, and how much wastewater you generate.
Generally speaking, however, you should have your septic tank pumped every 3-5 years and inspected every 1-3 years.
How to prepare for a septic tank pumping
There are a few things you can do to prepare for a septic tank pumping:
- Avoid using your garbage disposal for a few days before the pumping. This will help to reduce the amount of solids that need to be pumped out.
- Flush your toilets less often, and avoid taking baths or showers for a few hours before the pumping. This will help to give the solids time to settle to the bottom of the tank.
- Make sure that the area around your septic tank is accessible to the pumping truck.
What to expect during a septic tank pumping
The septic tank pumping process typically takes about an hour. The pumping truck will have a hose that is inserted into the tank to remove the solids.Once the solids have been removed, the tank will be flushed with water to clean it out.
How to inspect your septic tank
A septic tank inspection should be performed by a qualified professional. The inspector will look for any signs of damage or leaks, and they will also check the levels of the scum and sludge in the tank.
If the scum and sludge layers are too thick, the inspector will recommend that you have your septic tank pumped.
Tips for maintaining your septic tank
Here are a few tips for maintaining your septic tank:
- Avoid putting anything down the drain that can’t be broken down by bacteria, such as grease, oil, and fat.
- Use a garbage disposal sparingly, and only put food scraps down the drain that can be easily ground up.
- Have your septic tank pumped and inspected regularly.
- Plant trees and shrubs away from your drain field. Tree roots can damage the pipes and cause leaks.
Septic tank maintenance costs
The cost of septic tank maintenance will vary depending on the size of your tank, the number of people in your household, and the company you hire to do the work. Generally speaking, however, you can expect to pay between $250 and $500 for a septic tank pumping and inspection.
Septic tank maintenance is important for protecting your health and the environment. By following the tips above, you can help to ensure that your septic tank lasts for many years.
Additional tips for septic tank maintenance
- Use water-efficient appliances and fixtures.
- Fix any leaky faucets or pipes.
- Don’t overload your washing machine or dishwasher.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals in your drains.
- Be careful about what you put down your garbage disposal.
- Educate your family and guests about septic tank maintenance.
Septic tank problems
If your septic tank is not properly maintained, it can cause a number of problems, including:
- Sewage backups in your home
- Contamination of groundwater
- Environmental damage
If you notice any signs of a septic tank problem, such as a sewage backup or a strong odor coming from your drain field, contact a qualified septic tank professional immediately.
Septic tank replacement
If your septic tank is damaged or beyond repair, you may need to replace it. The cost of septic tank replacement will vary depending on the size of your tank and the type of system you choose.
You can expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 for a septic tank replacement.