Tips to Maintain a Healthy Septic System

Maintaining a healthy septic system is vital to the functioning of your home. This system is constantly working to remove and degrade the waste from your home and without it, you would have very unpleasant living conditions. It can also be costly to repair a damaged septic system. According to the National Environmental Service Center (NESC), on average it can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 to repair a septic system, whereas it would only cost from $100 to $300 to have it pumped and inspected. To save yourself money and headaches, follow these tips to keep your septic system healthy.

Inspect your system at least once a year.

  • Inspect your system at least once a year. You can do the inspection or hire a professional. By keeping your system inspected regularly, you can be aware of any issues before they become worse or expensive to repair. Also keep an eye on the tank level in order to know when it should be pumped.

Pay attention to any warning signs of septic system failure.

  • Pay attention to any warning signs of septic system failure. If you smell sewer-like odors from your drains, notice any wet, puddle like spots, or overgrown vegetation areas near your drain field, these are warning signs that something is wrong with your system. Other signs could be gurgling noises coming from the drains or slow-draining pipes. All of these should be taken care of immediately so it won’t cause a larger problem.

Conserve water.

  • The average 3-person home uses on average between 200 and 300 gallons of water per day. It can take up to 48 hours for a septic system to process wastewater and send it out to the drain field. Keep this in mind and conserve water whenever possible. The less waste water you use, the less strain on your system.

Don’t flush things that will clog or poison your system.

  • Don’t flush things that will clog or poison your system. While the septic system does have bacteria that degrades certain wastes, there are some solids that are not biodegradable and will just settle to the bottom of the septic tank. When the solids in your tank reach a level of 12 inches from the outlet pipe, then you will have to have the system pumped; With this being said, putting solids that aren’t biodegradable will put more strain on your system, cause you to have to pump it more often which means spending more money, and lead to a possibility of clogs and backups. Try to avoid grease, sanitary napkins/tampons, coffee grounds, paper towels, fabrics, plastic or latex, egg or nut shells, large chunks of food, or any other solids that can simply be thrown in a trash can.

You should also be cautious of the chemicals that you pour down your drains. Regular household cleaners are generally okay, but large amounts of drain cleaner, motor oils, or other chemicals could kill the bacteria that degrades solids.

Protect the area that contains your septic system.

  • Protect the area that contains your septic system. Don’t park or drive vehicles or heavy machinery over the area that contains your septic system. Don’t plant trees, bushes, or shrubs in these areas because the roots can crack or puncture the tank. Avoid putting livestock over your septic system as well. Only cover your septic system with grass, not concrete, plastic, or any other impenetrable material. The bacteria in the septic system needs oxygen to thrive.

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