Septic System: Preventive Maintenance and Care Tips




A septic tank system is like a living filter that pretreats wastewater and segregates solids and scums before it flows to your drain field for purification. Sound systems need maintenance, too. If not cared for, it may become hazardous and can cause a major problem. When these systems fail, groundwater pollution and costly property damage may happen. Taking care of your septic system can never be too difficult if you follow these preventive maintenance and care tips to make your system function efficiently.



Proper Installation of Your Septic System


You must install your septic system correctly to prevent problems that can occur down the road. When you apply for a building permit, health officials will check and verify a soil test to confirm if the ground can support a septic system. 


Also, expect inspectors who will visit your site to check if your property could comply with the requirements for a non-complicated septic system. 


Don’t Overload Your Septic System.


Doing a few things regularly to maintain your septic tank system running is a must. Simple things like checking your faucets and toilets if there are any leaks and repairing them can already contribute a lot to your septic maintenance care. Also, if you have a basement, do not forget to check if there are also leaks present. 


Reducer nozzles on showers and aerators on faucets can also help lower water consumption and, at the same time, reduce the water levels for your small load of laundry. You may also consider buying energy-efficient appliances for more optimized water consumption. 


Displacers or bricks can also do the work of reducing the amount of water needed to flush the toilet. If possible, you can replace your bathroom with a modern low-flow type to save more water. 


Proper Disposal of Your Garbage

Garbage disposals can double the volume of solids that enter your septic system. Never flush disposable diapers, napkins, and other nonbiodegradable wastes down the toilet. These items can cause blockage to your septic tanks. Even a simple grease that you flush down your toilet can clog your drain field, making it impossible for the soil to absorb, and in worst cases, you might be needing a new drain field which can be pretty expensive. Other chemicals like varnish, paint thinners, gasoline, and the like are dangerous not only to your health but as well to your septic system. Dispose of these kinds of waste properly following your jurisdiction’s hazardous waste laws. 


Protect Your Septic System


Build a structure on top of your drain field. You can cover it with concrete or asphalt. Planting grass on it is also an excellent option to minimize soil erosion. However, you must also take note that roots coming from trees can damage your system. Avoid this from happening by keeping trees at least 100 ft away or more from your septic system. 


A moist drain field will not be able to absorb and neutralize liquid waste. Have a landscaping plan, put roof gutters, and foundation drainage to divert the excess water from your drain field. 


Know When to Pump Your Septic Tank


Make sure to inspect your septic tank at least once a year. You can check it or have a septic tank technician perform the necessary inspection. Drain fields also need a periodical inspection for any odors, wet spots, or surfacing sewage. 


When the bottom of the scum is 3 inches from the bottom of the outlet device, your tank already needs pumping. Likewise, your septic tank should be pumped when the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches from the bottom of the outlet. 


Watch Out for Warning Signs of System Failure


If you happen to notice these warning signs, contact a professional septic tank technician for further assistance: 


  • If you smell Foul odors or see wet spots, vegetation growth around your drain field area, and surfacing sewage, contact a septic tank expect to check your system rather than doing it yourself. Septic tank professionals have appropriate equipment and safety protections to perform the inspection. 
  • Contact a professional septic technician when you happen to hear gurgling sounds in your plumbing system. 
  • Your Slow draining fixtures also need to be checked. If you experience this, your fixtures might have a clog further down the line that needs to be removed by a professional septic cleaner.


Take Note of the Do’s and Don’ts for Your Septic System

Your on-site sewage system can extend its life by doing septic tank preventive maintenance. These do’s and don’ts for your sewage system can help you go through your septic care.


Do’s for Your Septic System

Proper Inspection of your System at least once a year


Septic tanks need pumping every three to five years. Inspection can be done by you or a professional. However, it is still best to opt for a professional to do the job. Regular pumping prevents solids and other waste products from flowing from the septic tank to your drain field.


Pump Your Septic Tank When Necessary


Regular pumping can prevent system failures from happening. Do not wait until an existing problem can be more damaging to your septic tank and cause you to spend more on your septic maintenance. 


Keep Track of Your Records


You must always have the diagram for your system’s location and your system maintenance record if ever there will be future owners. This critical information in the house must be well documented and kept to have continuous septic tank preventive maintenance even if there are already new house owners. 


Always Practice Water Conservation


It is the most simple thing to do yet often being forgotten. Less water conservation means less strain for your system. If you reduce your water consumption, you extend your drain field’s life, thus decreasing your septic system’s possible failures.


Don’ts For Your Septic System

Practice Not to Put Unnecessary Wastes Materials to Your System


Do not put grease, motor oils, diapers, cigarettes, sanitary napkins, paper towels, and other materials that are harmful and can only clog your sewage system. 


Avoid Traffic Off your Drain Field


Heavy equipment or vehicles must not pass your drain field. It causes pressure and can only compact the soil or damage the system of your pipes. When planning on constructing a garden or building a pool near your septic system, consult it first with the health department for safety purposes. 


Add Protective Covering For your Septic System


Placing impermeable materials over your drain field can prevent oxygen from getting into the soil. The necessary bacteria in your septic system need oxygen to break down the sewage for the treatment process. You may consider grass as cover for your septic system instead of plastic, asphalt, or concrete. 


Avoid Entering the Septic Tank 


You must never enter the septic tank. All of the necessary works or repairs must be done outside. Poisonous gases can cause a lack of oxygen and can be fatal. Better yet, consult a professional septic tank technician or cleaner to do the job. They have the equipment and skills to inspect for you. 


Do Not Use Septic Tank Additives Regularly


Additives can indeed have benefits for some time when cleaning your septic system. However, if you use these products continuously, it can only create long-term problems and not merely reduce the need for routine pumping. 


Wrapping it Up



You must give diligent care and efforts to your septic system. Every ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Septic tank preventive maintenance is a must. Remember to pump solids from your tank. Most experts advise that a 1000-gallon septic tank must have routine pumping after three to five tears of full-time use. Others say that you can go much longer between these pumping sessions, so you don’t depend on the calendar alone. Remember when the bottom of the scum starts to collect at least three inches of the outlet or when the top of the sludge layer is already within 12 inches, it is time to start pumping. Check your septic tank system at least once a year. 


When problems arise, you will know it immediately if you experience plumbing backup. Slow draining and gurgling sounds can be some of the clues. You need to keep records each time you have a septic system service so that you can present it to your service provider. Never attempt to risk yourself in opening the septic tank, especially when it is not your field of expertise. Dangerous gases and bacteria are within it and can only harm your health. 


Again, how often you need to pump your septic tank depends on its size, the volume of the wastewater, and the number of solids that go into it. When you start encountering some of the mentioned signs of septic system problems, do not hesitate to call a septic pro to do the job. 


Leave a Comment