Septic Tank Pumping: How Your Septic System Works and Maintenance Tips

September 1, 2019 0 Comments

Generally, your septic system consists of a septic tank and drain field and in some cases a pump tank for those who cannot gravity feed the drain field. Septic systems can last for decades, if properly maintained along with some helpful tips and knowledge that every homeowner should know.

Typically, a 3-bedroom home with 2,250 square feet of life or less has a 900-gallon septic tank. The septic tank receives all the wastewater from a home. This includes showers, toilets, washing machine, dishwasher, and sinks. According to the American Waterworks Association, the average person uses about 70 gallons per day on average. Family of 4 would add up to 280 gallons per day. So imagine how quickly your septic tank will fill up and how much water must flow through the tank to reach the drain field.

What most people don’t realize is that all the solids or debris in the house also collects in this tank. The solids that remain in the septic tank consist of things like toilet paper, human waste, food from the disposal, lint and hair from the washing machine or shower, and also unexpected things that children or guests can flush down the toilet. These elements will accumulate and become a layer of sludge at the bottom of the tank. This layer can rise in the tank and travel to the drain field lines, which begins to cause the drain field to fail and causes the wastewater to flow back into your home or garden.

Many times, homeowners will see ads for bacteria additives that claim they break up the layer of sludge and make it disappear. But don’t be fooled. The only way to remove waste from your septic tank is to pump it out. Why risk ruining your drain field? It is the most expensive component in your system. Protect it by pumping your septic tank every three to five years, depending on the number of people living in the home.

Here are some other tips homeowners should know to protect their system:

  • Homeowners should check for leaky faucets and toilets.
  • Homeowners who do a lot of laundry, such as those with young children, should try to space their laundry during the week.
  • Avoid the laundry marathon all day on Saturdays. Excessive water consumption can lead to drain field failure.
  • Know the location of the septic tank system to avoid passing a vehicle over the system.
  • Avoid planting trees and shrubs in or near the septic system. Homeowners often mistakenly plant trees near a drain field. The roots will infiltrate the drainage field system due to the easy source of water and will grow in the pipes.
  • Another helpful tip is to avoid placing an irrigation system near your drain field or pump tank. Irrigation system water can over-saturate your drain field. Also, if you have a dosing tank, the water can erode the circuit board of your high water alarm.

By constantly pumping septic tanks and following these important tips, you can help avoid costly backups and also increase the life of your system.

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