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What Homeowners Need to Know About Septic Systems

UPDATED 7/11/22

Every homeowner with a septic system should know all about septic systems because that’s the easiest way to know when something is going wrong. In the United States, about 45% of homes are on a septic system. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not maintain their systems the way they should and have very little knowledge about how the system works.

A household septic tank is one of the most important systems in your home. It is charged with containing and removing wastewater from your home. When it fails, not only are you left with a mess, but it can be a health risk to you and your family.
If you have a septic system, you likely have many questions about that system, like are septic tanks supposed to be full of water? (For the record, yes septic tanks are full of water). Learning all that you can about your system will answer a lot of your questions.

One of the key things you can do to prevent septic tank failure and find the answer to “are septic systems good” is to connect with a septic system company. They are the professionals that can help you maintain your system. Continue reading to learn more about septic systems.

One thing that you never want to have go bad on you is your septic tank. If you find yourself needing septic tank repair, you probably already know by now what a horrific, smelly mess it can be and what a pain it is to fix. There are certainly ways to keep yourself from ever needing septic tank repair, but it’s good to know a septic tank service to call in case of emergencies or for regular maintenance. So how does your septic tank work? Why do you even have a septic tank? How can you keep it from needing repair? What should you know about your septic tank? Being informed is the best way to go when it comes for caring for your house and yard and we have the information you need.

What’s a Septic Tank and How Does It Work?
A septic tank is a watertight means of storage that sewage goes through to be treated. Bacteria decompose the collected sewage, which is then drained by way of a leaching field. Septic tanks are generally made of concrete, PVC, fiberglass, or plastic and can hold between 1,000-2,000 gallons. It’s recommended that a septic tank be large enough to hold two days of wastewater —
approximately how long solids take to settle out.

A four person, two bedroom house would need at least a 1,000 gallon septic tank. However, that can be influenced by a few other factors. For example, having a garbage disposal can up the amount of solids that have to be processed in the septic tank by as much as 50%. However, local building codes and professional plumbers can also help give you more concrete answers.

How Can I Keep My Septic Tank Well Maintained?
Be sure that you’re getting your septic tank inspected at least once a year and pumped regularly. The four main factors that you should pay attention to when considering how often to pump are how many people live in your household, how much wastewater is created, what the volume of solids in your wastewater is, and how large your septic tank is. If you can’t remember when your tank was last pumped, it’s probably in your best interests to go ahead and schedule a septic tank pumping, just to be on the safe side.

You should not dump fats or grease, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, paints, chemicals, or oils and fuels down your drain. These can be very bad for your septic system and cause problems down the road. They may interfere with the bacteria doing their job, creating backed up systems and a too full tank, which in turn, leads to the need for septic tank repair.

Be good to your septic tank and feed it regularly — your reward will be a well functioning septic system that doesn’t give you problems. Be attune to any potential problems, like drains draining slowly or funny smells, wet spots, or lots of vegetation by your drain field, as those can be indicative of an early problem.

What Else Do I Need to Know About My Septic Tank?

Be mindful of your water consumption — from running the faucet too long, to your laundry habits, to even your flushing! All of these things can have a negative impact on your septic tank — if the wastewater levels get too high, you may face a problem. Never try to go down in your septic tank by yourself — there could be poisonous gases that can be fatal. Let the professionals do their job when it comes to septic cleaning or septic tank repair.

Keep heavy vehicles off your drain field — the soil being crushed down can keep the waste water from properly flowing into the ground, leading to problems. Similarly, don’t lay concrete or other hard materials down over your drain field. Grass is best, as it allows oxygen to come through, which is what the bacteria need to survive and work most efficiently.

Avoid problems by being knowledgeable about your septic system and knowing what it takes to keep it well maintained and running smoothly.

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