To the uninitiated, proper septic tank maintenance can seem like a nightmare. While it is true that septic systems require special care, the care doesn’t have to be daunting. The trick is to develop a different mindset. With the right amount of attention, caring for a septic system will eventually become just another household chore.
Instead of skirting the issue, homeowners need to face septic tank maintenance head on. It’s understandable that a lot of people feel embarrassed talking about the subject, but a little bit of awkwardness is far better than turning your backyard into a soggy and dangerous quagmire of septic overflow. The first thing to do is to remind everyone in the house, including guests, that toilets are not trashcans. It’s also a good idea to be on the lookout for enthusiastic garbage disposal users.
Another easy thing to do is to practice good water conservation. Too much water in the septic system can and will overload the surrounding soil, leading to unpleasant and expensive repairs. However, the average person can use upwards of 80 gallons of water a day. By installing low flush toilets, limiting laundry loads, repairing leaks, and just turning off the water while you brush your teeth will help save your septic system with the extra benefit of lower water bills.
You can also take steps outside the house. Never build anything over the drainfield of the septic system because this will inhibit evaporation, an essential part of the septic process. You should also avoid parking on the drainfield of the septic system because the soil will become compacted, which reduces oxygen, thereby slowing down the filtration process. In addition, make sure to direct any runoff away from the drainfield so that the surrounding soil doesn’t become oversaturated.
Finally, your septic tank should be pumped on a regular basis. In most states this requires a professional. But not only is pumping the tank affordable, it also saves money down the road. Depending on the size of your household, the tank should be pumped every 2 to 5 years.
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