While a septic system is an extraordinary way to rid your home of sewage, it can be temperamental if you’re not careful. A septic system is fairly self-sufficient. It contains all of the necessary bacteria required to break down solids. The solids, fluids, scum, and sludge all separate into different layers based on weight. The filtered water and liquid then flow out into a drain field. Even though the process is simple, it can be thrown off. To ensure that your septic system is functioning properly, here’s what you need to know.
What to Flush
Your septic system relies on good bacteria to break down the solids that come through the pipes. If you flush items that aren’t biodegradable, or that throw off the balance of the bacteria, it could affect your system. Feminine products, cleaners, cat litter, and diapers should never be sent through your septic system. Not only will they negatively affect the bacteria, but they could also cause a serious clog.
The drain from your washing machine will lead into your septic system. If your drain field begins to look bubbly or frothy, it could be due to your laundry habits. An excess of bleach or laundry detergent often causes bubbles to form. Reducing the amount of soap that you use and ensuring that you run loads of the proper size will eliminate this problem and keep your septic tank healthier.
Inspect the Drain Field
Every septic tank needs a drain field. This is where the excess water ends up after it’s been filtered. It’s an integral part to the system. In fact, you can tell a great deal about the health of your septic tank based on the condition of your drain field. Every few weeks, take a walk over your drain field. Pay attention to how your shoes feel as you walk. If you notice that it’s muddy or sludgy, and it hasn’t been raining, your septic tank could be overflowing. A functioning drain field shouldn’t allow liquid to remain near the surface.
Because your septic system is buried deep in the ground, it’s important to pay attention to the foliage that surrounds it. If you’re not careful, the roots of trees and bushes could impact the pipes around your system. In fact, some trees have been known to uproot piping completely. It’s best to keep foliage away from the perimeter of your tank and to keep an eye on any other trees that may be near the drain field and pipes.
Even though your septic system filters out the excess liquid as needed, it’s important to have your entire system pumped every three to five years. This removes any solids that have built up and keeps everything working properly. The more you use your septic system, the more frequently you’ll need to have it pumped.
Learning about your septic system is the best way to ensure that it remains healthy. If you have questions regarding your system or maintenance, consult with a professional. With frequent inspections and a bit of care, your septic tank will function properly for years.