A septic tank is a key component of the septic system, a small-scale sewage treatment system common in areas that lack connection to main sewage pipes provided by local governments or private corporations. Typically made from concrete, fiberglass, or plastic, the tank is buried underground and serves to store wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry. Inside the tank, solids settle at the bottom, forming a sludge layer, while oils and greases float to the top, creating a scum layer. The remaining liquid effluent in the middle can then safely leach away into the ground through a drain field.
Understanding the Basics of Septic Tank Maintenance
Regular maintenance of your septic tank is crucial to ensure its durability and efficiency. The primary goal of maintenance is to prevent the solid waste from building up and clogging the drain field, which can lead to system failure. The frequency of maintenance varies depending on the tank size, the amount of wastewater, and the volume of solids in the wastewater. Generally, a septic tank should be inspected by a professional at least once every three years and pumped every three to five years, but tanks with mechanical components may need annual servicing.
Here is a basic outline of the septic tank maintenance process:
- Inspection and Pumping: A typical septic tank should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. The tank may need to be pumped depending on the volume of solids and scum.
- Efficient Water Use: All of the water a household sends down its pipes winds up in its septic system. The more water conserved by a household, the less water enters the septic system, improving its operation and longevity.
- Proper Waste Disposal: Everything flushed down the drain impacts how well the septic system works. Remember, your septic system is not a trash can. Avoid flushing anything besides human waste and toilet paper.
- Drain Field Maintenance: The drain field—a component of your septic system that removes contaminants from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank—should be protected. Plant only grass over and near your septic system to avoid damage from roots.
- Regular Repairs: If there are any visible signs of damage or wear, contact a professional immediately to prevent further problems.
How to Prevent Clogs and Backups
Clogs and backups are common septic system problems that can be avoided with some simple preventive measures. First and foremost, it is important to be mindful of what goes down the drain. Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items, such as wet wipes, sanitary products, and grease, as they can cause clogs and damage the system. Regular drain cleaning is also essential to prevent buildup and maintain proper flow. Consider using enzyme-based cleaners or scheduling professional drain cleaning services to keep your drains clear and clog-free.
How to Maintain a Healthy Drainfield
The drainfield is a crucial component of the septic system, responsible for filtering and dispersing the treated wastewater into the soil. To ensure its optimal performance, it is essential to protect the drainfield from damage. Avoid parking vehicles or heavy machinery on the drainfield, as this can compact the soil and hinder proper wastewater absorption. Additionally, managing excessive water usage, such as limiting the length of showers and repairing leaky fixtures, can prevent soil saturation and maintain a healthy drainfield.
How to Address Odor Issues
Unpleasant odors emanating from the septic system can be a sign of underlying problems. Common causes of septic system odors include clogs, leaks, and improper venting. To eliminate odors, it is important to identify and address the root cause. Simple steps like regularly flushing drains with hot water and vinegar, ensuring proper venting, and scheduling professional odor inspections can help identify and resolve odor issues effectively.
The Role of Professional Septic Tank Maintenance
While homeowners can perform some basic visual inspections themselves, hiring a professional septic tank maintenance company is highly recommended. Professionals possess the expertise and specialized tools required to conduct thorough inspections, identify potential problems, and provide appropriate solutions. Regular pumping, a task best left to professionals, is crucial to prevent solids from accumulating in the tank and causing backups or system failure.
Regular septic tank maintenance is essential for homeowners to ensure the proper functioning of their septic systems. Neglecting this crucial task can lead to costly repairs and potential health hazards.
At FRANC Environmental, we specialize in septic tank maintenance and offer comprehensive services to keep your septic system in top shape. Contact us today at (215) 261-5790 to schedule an inspection and pumping service. Trust the experts to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your septic system.