Septic tank maintenance begins inside your home and the health of the system depends on the care and use by your family members. If you have a home with a septic system, learn these tips for good septic tank maintenance.
Everything that goes through your pipes will end up in your septic tank. A household septic system is not intended to handle food waste. Kitchen garbage disposals increase the need for septic tank maintenance and service. This makes them a very expensive convenience that most households can live without.
The best practice is to not have a garbage disposal in a house with a septic system. A second option is to install a garbage disposal that thoroughly breaks down any food matter and only use it sparingly.
Every Drop of Water Counts
Even when you’re washing your hands, the water goes through the septic system. Your soaps or cleaning products will be flushed down the drain with the water and will have to be processed by the system.
Some best practices to reduce the need for septic tank maintenance include:
- Install EnergyStar appliances because they use less water.
- Promptly tend to any plumbing problems (leaks, or a constantly running toilet).
- Develop low water usage habits.
Call a Professional for Septic Tank Maintenance
Although your system probably only needs to be pumped once every three to five years, It’s a good idea to have it checked annually. A yearly inspection should be a routine part of septic tank maintenance.
Your Toilet is Not a Garbage Disposal
Your toilet should not be used as a catch-all for various forms of garbage. Put garbage in the garbage can. Never flush napkins, paper towels, cat litter, old medications, or chemicals down the toilet. Find appropriate ways to dispose of trash.
Pouring them down the sink or toilet is never an appropriate means to dispose of chemicals, but this is especially true for a home with a septic system. It simply can’t process the chemicals, which can kill the bacteria and disrupt the function of the system.
Use Bacterial Additives for Better Septic Tank Maintenance
Chemicals can destroy the bacteria in your tank, but you can replace some of those bacteria. Such additives are available online or at your local hardware store and are a fairly inexpensive way to help keep your septic system working properly.
Be Mindful of Where Water Goes Outside
Find out where your leach field is located and don’t overload that area with excess water. This can mean moving gutter downspouts to direct water elsewhere. It may also mean changing your landscaping and watering habits. Yard care and other outdoor activities can impact the septic system.