Septic 101: A Guide For Homeowners

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Essential Things New Homeowners Need To Know About Septic Tank Pump Systems

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When your home is served by a city sewer system, you tend not to think about what you send down your drain and flush down your toilets. To put it simply, everything going into the drain is no longer your concern when it hits the city's sewer system. However, this isn't true for people who live in homes with septic systems. They need to be careful or their yard could end up a festering, smelly mess.

Transitioning from city sewer to having a septic tank is one thing that can be difficult for people. After all, old habits are hard to break. As such, here are several things you need to know about your septic tank system.

How Do Septic Tanks Work?

A septic tank system consists of a drain pipe going from your home to the septic tank, a tank that holds the sewage and waste, devices that control the effluent pump, and a drain field. Inside the tank, there are two compartments where good bacteria takes solid human waste, turns it into sludge and gases, and finally into liquid. When these compartments or chambers get too full, a control float gets triggered, which is a device that tells the pump to work. 

The pump sends the liquid into the drainfield that surrounds the tank. The soil contains bacteria and minerals that further break down the waste and kill germs. From there, this waste gets filtered naturally and gravity pulls it down into the groundwater supply. By then, it's clean water.

How to Keep Your Septic Tank Working

Now that you know the basics of how a septic tank works, there are two key features of the system that you need to bring to the forefront of your mind in different instances throughout the day. First, do not kill the good bacteria. Since your system relies heavily on good bacteria, you don't want to kill them off by using antibacterial products.

In addition, do not cause the pump to fail. Guess where the sludge and liquid will go if the pump fails? It will back up into your home. The pump is another key part of the septic system. The main reasons for pump failure are lack of maintenance and not being careful of what you put into the septic tank, such as grease and baby wipes that could interfere with the control float detection that signals the pump to turn on. 

Contact your septic tank system contractor for more information on what you should and should not do when you have a septic tank. They can provide more insight regarding these pumps.