It's common for new homeowners to have questions about how septic tanks work and what kind of maintenance septic systems require. Having answers to these questions can help you take care of your new home and avoid septic tank backups.
What Is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is a large underground tank capable of holding hundreds of gallons of wastewater. All wastewater from a home empties into the septic tank. Septic tanks are typically used in rural areas where there are no sewers, but a septic tank functions very differently from a sewer.
How Are Septic Tanks and Sewers Different?
A sewer is a large underground wastewater management system. When wastewater enters a sewer, it is carried to a wastewater treatment facility where it is cleaned and re-used or returned to the environment.
A septic tank is typically only connected to one home. When wastewater enters the septic tank, it separates into different layers. Solid waste collects at the bottom of the tank. At the top of the tank is a layer of floating scum. In the middle is wastewater, known as refuse. Near the top of the tank is a drain leading to a part of the yard known as the drain field. When the refuse reaches the drain, it runs into the soil, where it is cleaned naturally as it filters through the earth.
What Kind of Maintenance Do Septic Tanks Require?
Septic tanks need to be pumped on a regular basis to prevent the solid waste at the bottom from becoming too abundant. If the solids are not pumped from the tank, this can cause the tank to clog.
How Often Do Septic Tanks Need to Be Pumped?
This varies from one household to the next, depending on the size of the tank and the amount of wastewater the household produces. In general, most households do fine if their tank is pumped every three to five years. Larger households may need to pump their tank more frequently.
You can't tell how often your tank needs to be pumped based on the pumping schedule of the previous owners of your home. The pumping schedule will depend entirely on your household habits and the number of people living in your home. Talk to your septic tank pumping professional to find out more.
How Can You Tell If Your Septic Tank Becomes Clogged?
A clogged septic tank will display many signs of distress. Some of the most common warning signs of a septic tank clog include:
- Strange gurgling noises in the drains
- Sewage smells in the yard
- Swampy areas over the drain field
- Slow drains in the house
If your septic tank shows signs of trouble, contact a septic tank professional as soon as possible. He or she can help you repair the tank.
How Can You Avoid Septic Tank Clogs?
The best way to avoid septic tank clogs is to pump your septic tank on the schedule recommended by your septic tank pumping professional. Also, the following tips can help you avoid problems with your septic tank:
- Avoid flushing medicines down the toilet
- Do not use antibacterial soaps and cleaners in your home
- Never flush tampons, diapers or disposable wipes down your drains
- Call your septic tank pumping professional at the first signs of distress
Following these tips can prevent clogs and can also help you avoid costly septic tank repairs.
Contact a Reputable Septic Tank Pumping Professional Today For More Information
If you have more questions about how septic tanks work, contact a septic tank maintenance professional. At Eckmayer Inc, we're happy to answer client questions about septic tank maintenance.