How to Care for Your Septic System

A little care now will go a long way later.

On average, you should have a septic inspection done at least every three years by a professional septic service company. Maintaining the septic system is completely up to you, the homeowner, so making sure to regularly care for your system can keep it working properly for years. Following the guidelines below, you can help avoid the disaster of a septic system failure.

Septic System “DO’s”

Maintaining your septic system will require routine management as well as occasional maintenance or small repair. Here are a few ways to be sure your septic system continues to operate smoothly for years to come.

  • Detect and repair leaking toilets and faucets. An easy way to tell if your toilet has a leak is to drop some food dye into the toilet tank. If any of it ends up in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
  • Save as much water as possible to reduce the amount of wastewater that has to be processed by your septic system. Spreading your laundry out over several days can help to lessen the load put on your system all at once.
  • Contact your local health department and/or a professional septic service if you see any signs of a septic tank failure.
  • Have a septic inspection and septic tank pumping performed at least every three to five years by a professional septic service.
  • Be sure that inspectors and septic service professionals can get to your septic tank cover. If necessary, you can install risers with lids to provide access.
  • Always keep a record of any septic inspections, pumpings, repairs, or other maintenance performed on your septic system.

Septic System “DON’Ts”

Proper care of your septic system doesn’t have to be difficult, and it also doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Here are some simple steps you can take to help prevent problems with your system.

  • Don’t compact the soil around your septic tank or drain field. Never drive over your septic system.
  • Do not install a secondary pipe to carry grey-water from sinks or washers to be dumped outside of your septic tank. This wastewater can contain disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
  • NEVER get in your septic tank. The toxic fumes inside can be lethal. If you experience problems with your septic system, contact a local septic service professional or your county health department for advice.
  • Do not plant things like trees or shrubs near your septic tank or drain field. The roots from these plants can damage or disrupt the drain lines.
  • It is unwise to use a garbage disposal in combination with a septic tank system. These can increase the stress on your system by around 50%, and you’ll require a much more frequent septic pumping.
  • Do not dig around your septic system, cover it with concrete, or build anything on top of it.

There are items you should never flush down your toilet.

Never flush these items down a toilet!

Your toilet is not a trash can! It is also not a chemical disposal station. Dumping harmful chemicals or cleaners down your drain can not only kill the harmful bacteria in your pipes, but also the good bacterium that helps purify the wastewater. The items below should always be disposed of properly and should never be flushed.

  • Paper towels
  • Facial tissue
  • Kitty litter
  • Coffee grounds
  • Diapers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Anything but toilet paper and human waste...

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