Keeping your septic system well-maintained is relatively easy, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines and perform some preventative maintenance.
Get Your System Serviced by a Professional
Getting your septic system cleaned and pumped by a professional is an important part of septic tank maintenance. The frequency of professional service varies on a case-by-case basis, but it’s typically recommended that you get your septic system checked out once a year.
Your septic professional will determine your ideal maintenance schedule. Keep records of your inspections so you can determine your baseline usage and can spot issues as they arise.
Monitor Water Usage
Most individuals use around 70 gallons of water per day, and all of that water ends up in the septic system. To keep your septic system working properly, limit the amount of water you use to reduce the stress on the system.
You can do this by installing a tankless water heater, low-flow faucets, and water-efficient toilets.
Investing in high-efficiency appliances is recommended, especially in the bathroom, as up to 30% of your household’s water ends up flushed down the drain.
Swapping out old toilets for new, efficient models is an easy way to reduce your water consumption and limit the wear and tear on your septic system.
Upgrading to these types of models is the ideal method of reducing water use as it doesn’t require you to change how you use your system, only what you use it with.
Keep Garbage Out of the Water Line
Improper waste disposal can decimate an otherwise well-maintained septic system. In the kitchen, your in-sink garbage disposal is convenient, but it can wreak havoc on your septic system if you’re not careful with what you’re washing down the drain.
You don’t want things like coffee grounds and fatty compounds like cooking grease in your septic tank. Just because it can go in a garbage disposal, doesn’t mean it should, and in general you should opt for throwing things in the garbage can whenever possible.
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This rule of thumb extends to the bathroom, where wipes and feminine hygiene products are the main culprits. Remember that even “flushable” products should not end up in your septic system, as they don’t degrade fast enough the way toilet paper is structured to.
Flushing even “flushable” products down your drain can quickly lead to clogs and backed up pipes, which is even harder to deal with when those clogs get all the way to your septic tank.
Avoid Stringent Cleaners
Your usual household cleaners won’t cause much harm to your septic system, but overusing heavy chemicals like drain cleaners can kill the microorganisms living in your septic tank. Your septic tank works much like your own digestive system, where it relies heavily on a healthy ecosystem of microorganisms and bacteria to break things down in a safe and economical manner.
You rely on these microorganisms to break down solid waste that could otherwise clog your system, and they are extremely difficult to effectively replenish once killed. Stringent cleaners can also cause damage to your pipes, resulting in leaks and eroded pipelines.
Overall, septic tank maintenance is a straightforward process. If you can keep debris out of the water line and perform regular maintenance, your septic system will serve you for many years.
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