Importance of Regular Septic Tank Maintenance
Any septic tank is prone to a gradual build-up of deposits and a slowing down of the natural digesting action of microorganisms which normally break them down. This would often lead to malfunctioning which causes blockages, bad smells and overflowing. Hence, septic maintenance is crucial to keep their longevity and health.
The Significance of Consistent Septic Tank Maintenance
Septic systems are an essential part of many homes, especially in areas where municipal sewage systems are not available. To ensure the proper functioning of your septic system and avoid costly issues down the road, regular septic tank maintenance is crucial. Let’s delve into why it’s so vital:
A. Preventing Costly Repairs
One of the primary reasons for regular septic tank maintenance is to prevent costly repairs. Neglecting maintenance can lead to a host of problems, such as clogs, backups, and even system failure. These issues can be not only inconvenient but also expensive to fix. In fact, the cost of repairs can far exceed the cost of routine maintenance.
B. Protecting Your Health and the Environment
Health Risks of Neglecting Maintenance
Failing to maintain your septic system can pose serious health risks to you and your family. When a septic system malfunctions, it can lead to the contamination of groundwater and surface water with harmful pathogens and pollutants. This contamination can potentially cause waterborne diseases and other health problems.
Beyond the health risks, neglecting septic system maintenance also has a significant environmental impact. Contaminated water from malfunctioning septic systems can harm aquatic ecosystems and damage the environment. Proper maintenance helps prevent these negative effects and ensures that your wastewater is treated effectively.
C. Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Septic System
Impact on System Longevity
Your septic system is a valuable investment, and regular maintenance can help prolong its lifespan. Over time, untreated sewage and solids can accumulate in the septic tank, leading to clogs and system failures. By ensuring that your septic tank is regularly pumped and cleaned, you can extend the life of the system, saving you money in the long run.
How to Perform Regular Septic Tank Maintenance
Now that we understand why regular septic tank maintenance is so important, let’s explore how you can effectively maintain your septic system:
A. Pumping and Cleaning the Septic Tank
The frequency of septic tank pumping and cleaning depends on several factors, including the size of your tank and the number of people in your household. On average, it’s recommended to pump your septic tank every 3 to 5 years. However, consult with a professional to determine the ideal schedule for your specific system.
Hiring a Professional vs. DIY
While some homeowners may attempt to pump their septic tanks themselves, it’s often best to hire a professional for this task. They have the expertise and equipment to do it safely and effectively, ensuring that all solids and sludge are removed from the tank.
B. Proper Disposal of Household Waste
What Not to Flush or Pour Down Drains
To maintain a healthy septic system, it’s essential to be mindful of what you flush down the toilet or pour down the drains. Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items, such as baby wipes, sanitary products, and grease, as these can clog the system and lead to backups.
C. Monitoring Water Usage
Water Conservation Tips
Conserving water is key to septic system health. Excessive water usage can overload the system, leading to problems. Implement water-saving practices, such as fixing leaks, using low-flow fixtures, and spreading out laundry and dishwasher loads to avoid overwhelming the system.
D. Regular Inspections
DIY Inspection Checklist
Regular inspections of your septic system can help detect issues early. Create a checklist that includes tasks like checking for signs of leaks, monitoring the water level in the tank, and inspecting the drainfield area for any abnormalities.
Periodically, it’s essential to have a professional inspect your septic system. They can assess the overall condition, identify any potential problems, and recommend necessary maintenance or repairs.
By following these guidelines for regular septic tank maintenance, you can ensure the longevity and efficient operation of your septic system while protecting your health and the environment. Don’t underestimate the importance of these maintenance practices in safeguarding your home and the world around you.
Septic tank maintenance includes these essential responsibilities:
- Emptying or dislodging of septic tanks regularly to ensure they do not cause pollution.
- Repairing any faults or problems immediately
- Limiting the system’s discharge to a maximum of 2,000 liters of sewage per day into the ground, or 5,000 liters of treated sewage per day into flowing water. Discharging any more than this would require a permit.
- Making sure you inspect the area where your tank releases sewage on a monthly basis for any signs of potential problems.
- Emptying the septic tank at least once a year with a registered waste carrier.
Other simple suggestions that could help in maintaining your septic tank are making sure that your pipes are not leaking, filling up your dishwasher before using it, avoiding disposing of products such as wet wipes, sanitary towels, and varnish in your tank.
Septic Tank Maintenance Cost
Although septic tank cleaning and maintenance is not at all that glamorous, it’s an important task that should be accomplished by homeowners.
In the United States, 60 million people are being served by a septic system that needs to be maintained well to keep it working.
With a properly maintained septic tank, you are saving yourself and your property from a truly unpleasant disaster. So, how much will it cost you to keep your septic tank properly maintained?
The exact cost of septic tank maintenance depends on the size of your septic tank. A standard 1,000-1,500 gallon tank will cost you $250 to $375.
This is a minimal cost without the cost for repair or replacement which can cost thousands of dollars.
According to Home Advisor, extremely large tanks will cost $1,000 or more and the average septic tank pumping cost is $408. They added that you can expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $1,000 or more every few years on septic tank maintenance.
Maintenance tasks at this cost would include these tasks:
- Effluent filter clean or change
- Sewer line inspection costs
- Septic system inspection (no camera)
- Field aeration (Fracking)
A qualified technician in your area can give you details on what will be done and how much it will cost.
Septic Tank Maintenance Products
Keeping your septic tank in top shape can be very challenging. Luckily, there are several products in the septic tank maintenance industry that you can use to keep your septic tank working effectively to degrade the waste that enters it.
Here’s a list from Bob Vila that represents some of the best septic tank treatments in their respective categories:
- Best overall: Cabin Obsession Septic Tank Treatment
- Best bang for the buck: Green Gobbler Septic Saver Bacteria
- Best for clogs: Instant Power 1868 Septic Shock
- Best monthly: Walex BIO-3112 Bio-Active Septic Tank Treatment Drop-Ins
- Best Bulk: GreenPig Solutions 53 Concentrated Septic Tank Treatment
What To Do After Septic Tank is Pumped
Good septic tank maintenance will always be simpler, less expensive, and easier than replacing. Most homeowners do septic tank cleaning every 1-3 years, but maintenance should be scheduled on a regular basis to keep your household or business running smoothly.
An important part of maintaining a septic tank is pumping. The United States Environmental Protection Agency stated that the average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional.
In addition, household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
The four major factors that influence the frequency of septic pumping are:
- Household size
- Total wastewater generated
- The volume of solids in wastewater
- Septic tank size
It is recommended that septic tanks should be pumped when they are at 30-50 percent capacity or every one to three years. Once the tank is thoroughly cleaned after pumping, you can take these simple steps to ensure that your septic system will keep working:
- Only flush wastewater and toilet paper
- Do not flush items like feminine hygiene products, diapers, or
- paper towels that can cause clogging
- Do not use your tank as a kitchen garbage disposal because it could damage the septic tank
- Ensure that there are no leaking faucets or toilets
- Watch water consumption and work towards reducing the workload for your septic system
Septic Tank Cleaning
Routine septic tank cleaning is the best way to prevent unsightly problems. During this procedure, liquids and floating solids are removed from the tank. This process helps restore the biome of your septic tank so that solids are processed quickly and other problems like backflow are avoided.
Septic tanks should be cleaned before too much sludge or scum is allowed to accumulate. Cleaning is usually accomplished by pumping the contents of the tank into a tank truck. You should not wash or disinfect after pumping.
A small residual or sludge should be left in the tank for seeding purposes. The material removed should be disposed of properly. Cleaning of larger septic tanks should be done after they have been thoroughly ventilated and gases have been removed to prevent explosion hazards or asphyxiation of workers.
Leave It To the Professionals
You should have septic tank maintenance done by professionals once a year. Experts in this field will check on your septic tank and see if there is any other troubleshooting needed. Service providers for septic tank maintenance will inspect for leaks and examine the scum and sludge layers in your septic tank.
They will provide you a system service report on the completed repairs and the condition of your tank which includes recommendations for other repairs if needed.
Tom’s Plumbing and Drain Service, LLC can help you with the clean-out and removal of unnecessary waste.
We check septic tanks, drainage, and other lines. You can have a full diagnosis of the home, discovering problems within before they go bad.
We’ve handled many plumbing concerns from the people of New Orleans. Contact us now for more information!
Tom’s Plumber has 20 years of experience in the plumbing industry and is one of the most trusted plumbing and drain companies in the Great New Orleans Area.
We do a variety of plumbing installations and repairs using state-of-the-art tools such as cameras to inspect clogged pipes and detect leaks.