Septic 101: A Guide For Homeowners

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3 Factors That Determine Septic Tank Pumping Frequency

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You should pump your septic tank regularly to ensure the better overall health of your septic system. If you fail to pump your septic tank, sludge levels can rise and cause sewage to back up into your home through your sinks or toilets. 

Generally, you should pump your septic tank every 3-5 years. However, some factors can dictate how frequently you pump your septic tank.

Septic Tank Size

Septic tank sizes can range from 750 to 1500 gallons for residential homes. Some contractors install septic tanks based on the household size, while others consider the number of bedrooms in your home. For instance, a four-bedroom home can use a 1250 gallons septic tank. For a five-bedroom house, a 1500-gallon tank will suffice. 

Ideally, smaller tanks fill up faster than large septic tanks and require frequent pumping. For details about your septic tank (if you just bought a home), the paperwork may contain details about your septic system. But if no information is available, a professional can measure your tank's capacity during a pumping appointment. 

Household Size and Water Usage

The more the people in your house, the more waste is generated. You'd need to pump your septic tank more frequently if your household size increases. The same applies if you hold house parties or have guests regularly in your home. Also, if you normally rent out some rooms, your septic tank will fill up faster due to the additional waste generated. 

Interestingly, high water usage also creates more wastewater than your septic tank can deal with. The wastewater can either be:

  • Gray water: Comes from showers, washing machines, and bathroom sinks
  • Blackwater: Comes from your toilet and kitchen sinks

Excess wastewater causes your septic system to fail due to the slow breakdown of the solid waste. As a result, your tank fills up rapidly, which calls for a pumping session sooner than you'd expect. 

Use of a Garbage Disposal

The food you put into the sink and into your garbage disposal eventually ends up in your septic tank. This food usually changes the bacteria balance of your septic tank. Remember, the good bacteria in your septic tank helps break solid waste. With a disrupted bacteria makeup, solid waste breaks down slowly and accumulates in your septic tank.

Worse still, the solids can clog your septic system and cause a nasty backup if you fail to pump your septic tank. So if you install a garbage disposal in your sink, ensure that you pump your tank more frequently due to the increased solids.

Septic tank pumping is a maintenance routine that keeps your septic system functional. If you are unsure how often you should pump your tank, septic tank pumping professionals can inspect your tank and recommend a reasonable pumping schedule. Contact a septic pumping service near you to learn more.