New To Septic Tank Ownership? Follow These Basic Rules

On the surface, owning a house with a septic tank is much like owning a house that connects to a sewer. Your day-to-day interactions with your plumbing and drains will not change much simply because you have a septic tank. However, there are a few extra rules that apply to septic tanks. Knowing what those rules are can help you maintain your new property.

Pump Your Septic Tank Regularly

Your septic tank is a large underground tank that stores your home's waste water. Once water enters your septic tank, it settles into three layers: scum on top, liquid in the middle and sludge on bottom. Once the liquid in the middle reaches a certain height, it exits the septic tank via a pipe that takes it out to the drain field. Once in the drain field, the water filters through the soil and becomes clean.

The level of sludge at the bottom of the septic tank is always rising. If the sludge gets too high and reaches the drain field, this will cause a clog. Pumping your septic tank every 2-3 years will keep down the level of sludge and prevent clogs from occurring.

Limit What Goes Down the Pipes

The only thing that should be flushed down your pipes is waste water, human waste and toilet paper. Flushing other solids and substances can disrupt the balance in your septic tank and necessitate more frequent pumpings. Some examples of prohibited items include:

  • Medication. Certain bacteria in your tank will help break down the sludge, which prevents the level of sludge from rising too quickly. Throwing old medication down the drain can kill this bacteria and contribute to sludge buildup.
  • Food from the garbage disposal. Garbage disposals can quickly fill your septic tank with extra sludge, which may cause your septic tank to clog.
  • Anti-bacterial cleaning agents. Don't flush your pipes or plumbing fixtures with bleach or anti-bacterial cleaning products because this can kill the beneficial bacteria in your septic tank.

Watch for Signs of a Backup

Being able to recognize the signs of a septic tank backup can help ensure that you get the septic tank service you need when you need it. Signs of a backup include:

  • Formation of a swampy, foul-smelling puddle in the yard.
  • Development of a patch of very green, very lush grass over the drain field.
  • Slow drainage within the house.
  • Backed up waste water in the house.

If your septic tank starts to show signs of distress in this way, contact a reputable septic tank pumping company in your community. The company will clean your tank and make any repairs necessary to make your septic tank functional once again.

For septic tank services, contact a business such as Al Heald & Sons Backhoe Service.