Septic Tank Maintenance

Septic Tank Maintenance

Your septic tank is a vital part of your home. If you haven’t lived in a house with a septic tank before, though, you may not realize what goes into maintaining it. There are four main areas of maintenance that you’ll need to keep up with to avoid having a septic tank issue. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle any of them on your own. Septic Masters, LLC, is here to handle all of your septic tank needs, including maintenance and any required septic system repairs. We have years of experience in the industry and in working with homeowners in the greater Atlanta area.

While we do the heavy lifting, it’s also a good idea for you to understand basic septic system maintenance so you know when you need to call us. Here are the four main areas of septic tank maintenance and how we handle them.

Septic Tank Inspection

If you have any issues with your septic system, you should call us to schedule an inspection. There are a number of different areas we will examine during an inspection. First, we will check for leaks. We will measure the tank’s sludge (solids) and scum (liquids) layers and compare them to previous inspections. If these layers are close to the drainfield outlet or to the connection from the home, we’ll recommend pumping the tank. This involves bringing one of our large pump trucks to your home and connecting it to the septic tank to remove all of the waste. We will also note any parts of the septic system that are damaged or are in need of repair and give you a list of our recommendations.

Aside from experiencing plumbing problems, you may also want to call us to inspect your septic tank if you’ve just bought the property. You likely won’t know the last time the previous owner had the tank inspected, pumped or had maintenance performed on it. We can make sure you’re starting your ownership of the property with a full understanding of the state of the septic system.

Know What You Can Put Down the Drain

If you are having plumbing issues and need us to inspect the tank, we do ask that you let us know if you’ve put anything down the drain that could cause damage. Everything that goes into a drain will go into the septic tank. Your septic system was not made for anything other than water, toilet paper, and human waste. Putting anything else into it can cause it to back up or damage the drainfield.

Things to avoid putting down the drain:’

  • Diapers and non-flushable wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Cigarette butts
  • Cat litter
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cooking oil and grease
  • Dental floss
  • Coffee grounds
  • Gasoline
  • Pesticides
  • Paint and paint thinner
  • Oil
  • Gasoline

Many of these products can destroy the bacteria in the septic tank that break down the solid waste. This can cause your tank to fill up more quickly than it should and back up. Because of this, you also need to avoid using chemical products designed to open drains. Instead, pour boiling water into a clogged drain or use a drain snake.

If you have been flushing or putting these items down the drain/garbage disposal and there is a backup, please tell us. It will help us determine the cause and location of the problem.

Septic Tank Pumping

Unlike sewer lines, when waste enters a septic tank, it stays there. Over time, it does begin to break down, and water waste is removed through pipes into a drain field. However, if your septic tank becomes too full, it can back up. This can cause sewage to flow back into your home or into your yard. This is why it’s important to have your tank pumped regularly. Septic tank pumping simply involves removing all of the waste, both solid and water, from the tank. We use one of our large pump trucks to vacuum out the entire tank. It usually takes us less than an hour to completely pump a tank, so this isn’t a long process and won’t cause much disruption.

For individuals, couples, or a small family, you may only need to have your tank pumped every four or five years. For a larger family, though, you may need to have the tank emptied every three years. When we inspect your tank, we will give you our recommendation based on your household size, how much wastewater you use, the amount of solids in the wastewater, and your tank size.

Why Do You Need Regular Septic Tank Maintenance?

Having your tank regularly inspected and pumped is necessary for a number of different reasons. If your septic tank malfunctions, you may be unable to use your toilets, showers, or sinks. This can greatly disrupt your life. By understanding how you affect your septic tank daily and how to keep your tank functioning correctly, you can reduce the number of emergencies you have. Let’s look at several of the reasons why yearly septic tank maintenance is needed.

Your Septic System Uses Thousands of Gallons of Water Every Year

All of the water you use in your home goes into your septic system. On average, one person uses upwards of 70 gallons of water every day. Multiply that by the number of people in your home, and you may get a surprisingly large number. If you water your lawn, wash your car often, or have hobbies that make use of water, you may use much more. If you have a leak or a toilet that continues to run, that can use two hundred additional gallons of water every day. This can quickly overwhelm your septic tank.

We encourage everyone to make changes in their home to conserve water, especially if you have a small septic tank. This includes switching out old toilets for modern high-efficiency ones, use shower flow restrictors and faucet aerators to reduce water use, and only run your washing machine and dishwasher when full. Spread out your washing over several days if you can so you’re not running a large amount of water into the septic tank in a short amount of time.

If you’re uncertain what you can do to conserve water, we can help. Ask us what can be changed to help reduce the water load on your septic system.

Understand Your Drainfield

Many septic tank owners don’t fully understand what their drainfield does. Basically, the water in your septic tank travels through pipes that end in the soil of your drainfield. This water is absorbed by the soil, which filters out harmful substances. The water then enriches the soil and helps plants grow in it. Unfortunately, your drainfield can be easily damaged if you don’t know where it is or how to take care of it.

First, don’t drive or park anything on the drainfield. This can compact down the soil and damage the pipes. Second, you want to be careful with what you plant on or near the drainfield. Tree roots can get into the drain pipes and into your septic tank, creating leaks and other damage. You also want to be sure that a large amount of rainwater doesn’t drain onto the drainfield. This can overload it and make it difficult for the soil to absorb and clean the wastewater.

Make sure your roof drains and sump pumps drain away from the area. We can help you determine what, if anything, may cause extra water to get into your drainfield and help you reroute those drains. Having annual maintenance allows us to catch these issues before they get so bad that the drainfield fails.

Catch Problems Before they Start

Having your septic tank inspected and preventative maintenance performed annually will help ensure you don’t have many, if any, septic emergencies. If your septic system is in need of maintenance, inspection, or if you have any questions about it, we’re here to help. Contact Septic Masters today at 678-646-7744.