Your septic system is one of the most important parts of your home. Not only is it vital to maintaining a healthy living environment, it's a very complex system that requires every element to be working properly. Nowhere is this clearer than with your drain field. If it's not working the way it should, you'll have to pump your tank more frequently, and the costs can really start to add up. Here are 5 common drain field problems you should be aware of.
1. Excessive Rainfall
If you're in an area that gets a lot of rain, or that is prone to flooding, you'll need to protect your drain field from the effects of excessive rain. Make sure your home's gutters are working properly, and that they're diverted away from your drain field. The permeability of your soil is essential for maintaining the health of your septic system. Having rain water saturate the drain field prevents the system from functioning properly.
2. Tree Roots
Roots can interfere with the flow and integrity of your septic system. If you're worried about any nearby trees disrupting your drain field, you can have root barriers installed. They may not be necessary, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
It should go without saying: please don't park on your drain field. However, it's not uncommon for homeowners to be unsure exactly where their drain field is. When you purchase a home, or have a septic tank installed, be sure you know precisely the location of your drain field. Parking or storing cars, 4-wheelers, boats, trailers, or any other vehicles can compact the soil and damage the permeability of your drain field and can lead to costly repairs.
4. Hydraulic Overloading
Septic systems are designed to withstand a steady, estimated water use. When you run too many water-heavy appliances at the same time, you can overload the system. Doing several loads of laundry while you take a shower, and your spouse washes the car can cause serious issues with your septic system. Furthermore, the regular release of water that comes with leaking faucets and drains can lead to flooding in your drain field, so leaks should be repaired as soon as they're discovered.
5. Biological Overloading
Septic systems are designs to accept only certain types of waste. When you overload your garbage disposal, flush sanitary napkins, or wash grease down the drain, you're altering the biology of the water that heads into your septic tank, disrupting the natural biological process that's supposed to take place. The introduction of foreign material into the septic system can lead to clogging, further damaging the drain field.
Your septic system can only work effectively if it's properly maintained, so it's important you not tax the system with things it wasn't designed to process, like foreign material and excess water. Protecting and keeping a close eye on your home's drain field is instrumental to your septic system functioning properly for years to come.