How often should I pump out my septic tank?

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Regular and adequate maintenance of your home septic system is vital for its health and longevity. 

Irregular pumping can cause damage to the septic tank, clogging, or overflowing. If such events occur they can compromise your septic system works, which will pose a dangerous hazard to the environment and living organisms. It pollutes the groundwater, therefore, making it toxic and unusable. 

The septic tank should be inspected and pumped regularly. Proper drain field maintenance and correct home waste disposal are essential for home septic tank systems. 

How often should I get my septic tank pumped and inspected ? 

Generally, septic tank pumping should be done every 3 to 5 years. In addition to pumping, you should inspect and evaluate the overall system performance. These can be done with the help of a professional septic system maintenance company

Keep in mind that your particular case may be different. Septic tanks and drain fields are designed according to the house size and generated wastewater. 

Usually, the prediction is for 60-70 gallons of water per person per day to go into the septic tank. If you waste more water than the designed capacity of the septic system, you might need to pump out the tank more often.

If you own a septic system with filters or mechanical parts, you should inspect it at least once a year. 

What should I do when a septic service provider is coming?

To find a local septic system service provider in your area, you can go online and search for a contact in the databases. 

After you have already found one, make sure you know the exact location of the septic tank and the drain field. Your local health department office can give you a copy of your property plan if you don’t have one.

Take out any previous maintenance records you kept and give them to the specialist who visits you. If you don’t own any, start collecting them already the next time a service provider visits you. He will fill out your septic system service report. 

Inform the provider about any problems you might have with your septic system, including:

  • Foul odors
  • Wet spots in the backyard
  • Sewage backup to the house 
  • Anything else that might be bothering you

The septic system provider will evaluate the scum and sludge layers and will advise you to pump out the tank if:

  • The scum is 6 inches from the drain field outlet
  • The sludge is within 12 inches of the drain field outlet

We also advise you to keep track of the levels of these layers every time you pump out the tank. In time, this will help you evaluate the change of exploitation, calculate pumping out time, and notice any clogging along the way.

Why should I use less water and how to do it?

Home septic systems are designed to treat and purify a limited amount of wastewater coming from the house. Usually, this amount is about 60 gallons per person per day. 

All water from the house goes into the septic tank and the drain field. This amount of water comprises your shower time, toilet use, running a washing machine, washing your hands, washing your dishes, and many more. 

It is essential to do a proper inspection of the septic tank and drain field capacity and calculate how much waste you generate. Otherwise, you might use more water than your tank can handle, which will reduce efficiency and even cause a septic system failure

Мaking this calculation before the septic tank overflows can save you a lot of trouble and money along the way. 

For that reason you should always : 

  • Check for leaks inside the house (for example, the shower or sink)
  • Repair your toilet if it keeps running
  • Use high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, and shower flow restrictors
  • Wash full loads of laundry and use the “Eco” function of the washing machine to preserve water
  • Refrain from processing more than one laundry cycle a day to give your septic system time to treat the water.

While overall conservation is good for your septic system, try to occasionally run water in sinks or bathrooms, which you don’t often use to avoid foul odors.

What is the right way to dispose of my waste when I have a septic system?

If you use a septic system in your home, it is essential to dispose of your waste correctly, so it doesn’t clog the system. It is crucial that you understand that everything going down your drain ends up in the septic tank. 

Use a trash bin inside the toilet room to throw away waste like toilet paper, wet wipes, female hygiene products, and diapers. Some types of toilet paper are disposable and can go in the septic tank, but in general, it’s best to refrain from throwing it in the toilet. 

Do not flush cooking oil, food leftovers, cosmetic products, chemicals, dental floss, hair, and cigarette butts.

It is best if you eliminate any use of a garbage disposal appliance. Chopped-up food can clog your septic system. Do not pour any chemicals into your drains since they kill essential organisms and disturb the waste treatment. 

Use cleaning products that are not antibacterial, without ammonia and chlorine. You can use liquid and biodegradable detergents for your washing machine. 

Any waste products like plastic, paint, oils, cleaners, food, cosmetics, and cigarettes should never enter your septic system. Always recycle or repurpose this waste material.

How can I maintain my drain field?

The waste from your house goes through the septic tank. It separates into three layers where only the wastewater continues its journey. The so-called drain field is the part of your backyard where this water drains. Its primary purpose is to absorb the water and purify it by removing contaminants. 

After passing through the drain field, the wastewater continues its purification process in the deeper soil levels. It is crucial to take proper care of your drain field so that it functions properly. Оtherwise you may end up with a clogged drain. 

The main ways to do regular maintenance are:

  • Locate the drain field
  • Plant grass or flowers on top of it
  • Don’t plant any trees or plants with deep roots nearby
  • Don’t water that area
  • Use landscaping rocks for decoration but do not pour concrete or asphalt on top
  • Don’t restrict the airflow
  • Don’t place any heavy objects on top of it
  • Don’t use it as a parking lot
  • Don’t build over the drain field
  • Don’t empty your pool or other water masses in this area
  • Direct additional water away from the drain field (for example, roof drains)
  • Add a second drain field if necessary