Septic 101: A Guide For Homeowners

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Your Septic Tank Pumping Guide

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Many homeowners have septic tanks instead of city sewage. These tanks require a little more work, but they allow you to save money on your water bill. One way to maintain your system is with regular cleaning and pumping. If you would like to know more, keep reading. 

Why Do Septic Tanks Need Pumping?

Your septic tank needs pumping because it gets full. A septic system uses natural bacteria to work. The bacteria break down the waste. A lot of the waste becomes effluent: a liquid. This liquid goes to the drain field and is released into the soil to find the groundwater. As it travels through the earth, a lot of the contaminants are stripped.

The solid waste, however, drops to the bottom of the tank. Eventually, so much gathers that the system needs pumping and cleaning. If you don't clean it, it could overflow and/or break. Naturally, for this reason, it's important to avoid flushing inorganic materials like sanitary pads and condoms. You also don't want to put too many chemicals down the drain as they could kill the bacteria.

How Often Should You Pump Your Septic Tank?

Unfortunately, there is no set timetable on when to pump your septic tank. If you just purchased the house, ask the previous homeowner how often they emptied the tank to get an idea of how often you'll need to empty it. However, many factors contribute to how often the system needs pumping, including:

  • The size of the system
  • The number of people in the home
  • The amount of water you use

In addition, if you flush certain items, the tank could fill up faster. This includes inorganic items, but it also includes coffee grounds, food, cigarette butts, hair, and much more.

What Are the Signs of a Full Septic Tank?

As the tank gets full, the drains may slow or the toilet may flush slower. In extreme cases, sewage may back up into the drains or toilet. Unfortunately, most of the signs don't appear until the system leaks. Outside, look for signs of pooling water and unpleasant odors above the septic tank. Even if you can't see or smell anything, if the grass is extra lush and green above the tank, you probably have a leak.

If you have a septic tank, you need to make sure you pump it regularly to prevent expensive and messy problems. A good septic tank can last a long time and help reduce your water bills.

If you would like to know more or if you think your tank needs pumping, contact a septic tank pumping company like Gator Well & Septic.