Septic 101: A Guide For Homeowners

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Pumping Your Septic Tank To Resolve Issues With Your System

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Homes that use septic systems require some maintenance to ensure they work correctly. Septic tank pumping should be part of your maintenance schedule, and when the tank is functioning properly, it will not affect the system's performance.

Normal Septic System Operation

The septic system that services your home works efficiently when the tank is healthy and the drainfield is in good condition. The septic tank uses naturally occurring bacteria in the tank to break down solids using a basic anaerobic process. 

The solids fall to the bottom of the tank, and over time it begins to build up a sludge layer. This is normal, and as long as the liquids move from the tank to the drainfield, the system will continue this process without problems. 

Eventually, the sludge layer will build up in the tank, and a septic tank pumping service will have to remove it for you. When the septic service pumps the tank out, some water and sludge are left in the bottom of the tank to ensure the live bacteria continue to work and break down waste.

There are some enzymes that can help the system process material more effectively, but it is vital to talk to your septic system contractor before putting them into the system. The septic company can tell you which products are effective and warn you about others that can damage the system, so checking first could save you some frustration.  

Drain Care

A septic tank pumping service will need to pump the tank early if the homeowner is not using the tank properly. Often, this means putting things in the drain like grease or paper waste that doesn't break down or kill the bacteria.

The things you may have flushed into a sewer system are much more damaging to a septic system, and if they get through the tank, they can cause blockages in the drain field. When the tank doesn't drain correctly, the system will back up, resulting in slow drains in your home. In severe cases, sewage can back up far enough that it comes out the drains in the house when water enters a drain somewhere else in the system. 

Using septic system-safe toilet paper and keeping anything that is not organic out of the system is essential. The cost to pump the tank or unclog the drainfield can add up quickly, but with proper care, you can avoid it. If the system is not working well, have a septic system inspector check it for problems and identify how to restore the septic system to full function.

For more information, reach out to a septic tank pumping service near you.