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Low-Maintenance Septic System Care

Many people falsely believe that caring for a septic tank is expensive. Some may actually refuse to buy a home that they love because of a septic tank. There’s a misrepresentation that you have to purchase all kinds of chemicals and have the tank pumped often. Honestly, a well-cared for tank is quite low-cost and will save you a lot of money in the long run as opposed to paying for the alternative – a municipal sewer connection.

septic tank diagram

To begin, you should be aware of what can go into the septic tank and what cannot. Solids should not go into the tank, and this includes food (garbage disposals are a bad idea if you have a septic tank), whatever can turn to a solid when in contact with water (i.e. glues, greases, or cement), disposable wipes or feminine hygiene products. Even if these products read that they are flushable, they are just simply no good for a septic system, due to the fact that they take too long to dissolve. Another thing to avoid is powdered detergents. Again, even if labels on these products read that they are septic safe, stick with liquids since they dissolve quicker and more fully. Lastly, avoid allowing harsh chemicals such as drain cleaners, bleach, or solvents to go down your drains. These products destroy the good bacteria in your tank and decrease the natural process that occurs with the breakdown of wastes

Also, things that are “okay” for a septic tank must be used in moderation. You shouldn’t put too much water down there all at one time. In other words, do not wash huge amounts of laundry or dishes in the same day. Do your best to stop children from continuously flushing the toilet. If you put too much water into your tank all at once, it could overload and cause a backup into your home. In addition, be as conservative as possible with toilet paper.

You will find people who will swear that you need to use a chemical like Rid-X in order to maintain a healthy tank. Not true. A properly working tank will function without chemicals. The good bacteria already in the tank will take care of it, reducing solids into liquid that then passes out of the septic tank and into the leach field. These chemicals and additives can alter the pH level in the tank, destroying the good bacteria. Absent of good bacteria, your septic tank will no longer work.  It will rapidly fill with solids that can’t be disintegrated, consequently clogging up your tank. Simply be aware of what you put into your tank, and do not overload it to keep it healthy and functioning properly.  Easy!

The only other thing you need to take care of is the leach field. Be sure you keep it clear of trees because the roots can grow into the pipes and cause blockages. You also don’t want to drive over it or park on it, because you could damage pipes or compact soil, which can also clog the pipes. Also, be sure to plant grass over the leach field or some other form of ground cover to avoid soil erosion.

As for pumping, Saviour Septic recommends every three to five years, depending on how many individuals live in the home.

So, basically, septic systems are not as expensive as some people might think.  They are, in comparison, less costly than a municipal sewer service. A well-maintained septic tank will last for twenty years or more at low cost.