For people who live in the country or have a vacation house off the grid, chances are that the property is not hooked up to a municipal sewer system. For these properties, it’s often too expensive to run pipes all the way out to the municipal sewers, if it’s possible at all.
The alternative is to have your septic tank. This is exactly what it sounds like a large tank sunk into your property that your plumbing system empties into. When installed and maintained properly, they’re completely invisible and odorless.
But how can you keep it that way? Follow these tips for effective maintenance of your septic system.
Be Careful of What You Put in It
We all need to be careful of what we flush down the toilet or rinse down the drain, but for septic tank owners, this is even more important. Overloading the system or putting inappropriate things into it can cause big problems. These are some items you should avoid putting into your septic system:
- Excessive Household Chemicals: Things like laundry detergents, bleaches, and household cleaners are generally all right in normal quantities, although it might be a good idea to use an eco-friendly alternative. Anything else, such as paint, nail polish remover, paint thinner, or other chemicals should not be poured into a septic system. These substances will damage the biological processes inside the tank that break down solid waste.
- Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG): These substances can congeal in your pipes and lead to clogs. If they do make it into the septic tank, they’ll form a clump of grease at the top of the tank and get in the way of other substances coming into it.
- Garbage: While garbage disposal in your sink can be convenient, it’s a big strain on your septic tank. Additionally, be careful of what you flush down the toilet. Feminine hygiene products, paper towels, and other non-biodegradable items will not break down in the septic tank and will cause clogs.
Clean and Maintain Your Septic Tank Regularly
Even with perfect daily use, every septic system needs to be cleaned out regularly. How often you need to do this depends on the volume of the tank, how much it is used, and even your geographical location. Septic systems in northern climates need to be cleaned out more frequently than ones in warmer locations, due to the difference in bacterial activity and decomposition rate. In general, you should call out a professional to clean out your system about every two to three years.
Signs That Your System Is in Trouble
Even for the most careful of septic tank owners, sometimes the system fails and needs to be repaired. Be on the lookout for the following signs that something has gone wrong in your septic system:
- Bad odors
- Slow drains
- Backed-up drains and toilets
- Wet patches or puddles in the leach field faster accumulation of solids in the tank
The Plumbing Nerds Can Rescue An Ailing Septic Tank
If you’re seeing some warning signs from your septic system or if it’s time for routine maintenance, don’t try to tackle the problem yourself! This is the kind of job that should be saved for the experts here at Plumbing Nerds. All you need to do is call (239) 893-9443 or schedule an appointment on our website.