If you've never lived in a home with a septic system before, you may not know how to care for it properly. It's important to learn a few pointers because if you neglect the tank the system could be damaged and septic system repairs are very expensive. Here are a few tips for maintaining your septic system that you should know about.
Empty The Tank On Schedule
The most important thing you can do for your septic tank is to pump it out before it gets full and overflows into the drainfield. The purpose of the tank is to hold waste from your house long enough for the solids to fall to the bottom. Then, the liquid on top drains into the field. If the tank gets too full of solids, they drain out of the tank too. This can clog the screen and floats in the tank. It can also hurt the drainfield. It also poses a health risk since solid sewer waste fills your yard.
If you don't know where to start with pumping your tank, call a contractor to inspect your system. He or she will measure the depth of the solids in your tank and calculate when it should be pumped based on the size of the tank and the number of people living in your house. Just keep in mind that this is an estimate. If you use an excess amount of water or put a lot of food through a garbage disposal, your tank needs to be serviced more often. For that reason, you want to be alert to the warning signs of a full tank, such as drains and toilets that are slow to empty. Don't wait for your toilet to back up before you call for septic system maintenance or your system might sustain damage.
Be Careful About What Goes In Your System
The next thing you need to do to maintain your system properly is to keep harmful substances out of the drains. In order for the tank to work properly, there has to be the right balance of bacteria in there. If you put a lot of chemicals down your drain such as bleach, drain cleaner, or paint from washing paint brushes, then the balance of bacteria could be altered. Try to keep harmful chemicals out of your drains. Also, don't put cigarette butts in your toilet.
The only thing that should go down your toilet besides waste is paper that dissolves quickly in water. Test the toilet paper you buy by placing some in a glass of water. If it absorbs the water and sits a long time without breaking apart, it may not be a good choice for a home with a septic tank. Instead, you want paper that immediately begins to break apart and dissolve when put in water.
When it comes to the actual cleaning of the tank and replacing screens, floats, and other parts, you'll need to leave that to a professional. Working around septic tanks is very dangerous due to the toxic waste inside and the fumes they emit. Falling into a septic tank could be fatal, so leave the cleaning and maintenance to a contractor.