Septic systems should have a spot in your home as this is one of the most environmentally friendly and efficient ways you can dispose of wastewater. This disposal system takes care of your home without you knowing it but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require maintenance anymore.
While it’s not hard or tiring to keep your septic system clean, you should never forget to do your duties every once in a while.
One common mistake that septic system owners make is that they overestimate the capacity of a septic tank. As the septic tank eventually releases all of the wastewater inside it, many think that maintenance is no longer needed. That is a big mistake as it’s not just wastewater that goes into the septic tank.
To know why lack of maintenance results in septic tank failures, we must first understand how septic systems work.
The Septic System Explained
The US Environmental Protection Agency details how the septic system works. The process begins once any wastewater goes down your kitchen drain. This also includes anything you flush down the toilet. A series of pipes that connect your house to the septic system directs all of the wastewater into the septic tank.
Inside the septic tank are billions of bacteria colonies. These are responsible for breaking down the solid waste in your wastewater naturally. This is one of the reasons why septic systems are considered as the environmentally-friendly option – because no chemicals are needed to treat the water.
The solid waste turns into sludge when it’s broken down. As this is heavier than water, it drops to the bottom of the tank. Then at the top of the wastewater is where oil and grease will set and be called a solution called scum. During the process, the water is filtered as much as possible which is important for the next step.
Once the effluent is separated from the scum and sludge, it will move into the distribution box where it will be percolated through the drain field. Some septic systems come with an effluent filter which further prevents solid wastes from reaching the distribution box. It’s a simple process and now comes the important question – why is maintenance needed?
The One Flaw In Septic Systems
Septic systems do not release the sludge and scum manually. Eventually, your septic tank will be full of these two and there will be less space for the effluent to form. The experts from the SepticTank.com team explained that this is the one flaw in septic tanks, and it’s also the reason why maintenance is important, says. A full tank results in many problems.
To begin with, all of the drains in your house – starting from those in the lower areas, are going to begin clogging. The water will go down slowly and in worse cases, you get sewage backup coming from the drain. This problem could cause serious flooding in your basement if it becomes worse.
This is both annoying and unsanitary on your end as sewage backup is home to harmful bacteria. It could also allow insects and other nasty pests to thrive inside your home.
Another issue you’ll be facing is a smelly yard. As the septic tank becomes full, the water from within will overflow and begin to set in puddles around your yard. As the water is releasing at an uncontrolled pace, the drain field won’t be able to handle it, thus resulting in your backyard smelling of sewage water.
Perhaps the biggest issue with a faulty or full septic system is that you are putting your health at risk. This is a system that filters your food waste. Anything inside the tank is harmful to your health so if it’s not disposed of properly, you are risking yourself and those inside the house from contracting serious diseases.
How To Maintain Your Septic System
First off, you need to be very careful about what goes down the drain. You need to avoid letting non-biodegradable materials go down it as these cannot be dissolved by the bacteria colonies in the septic tank. Worst-case scenario, these materials will cause clogs in your pipes and make your septic system fill up faster.
When washing the dishes, try to make sure that there aren’t a lot of solid wastes that go down the drain as well. While these can be broken down by the bacteria colonies in the septic tank, it would still be better to lessen it as these allow sludge to build up inside the tank faster. These could also cause blockages in your pipes which when worsened, results in leaks.
Aside from non-biodegradable materials, you should also avoid letting harsh chemicals drop down the drain as these could kill the bacteria colonies which can make the filtration process harder. Lastly, limit the grease and oil in your sink as these can fill up the tank easily. It can also result in clogged pipes.
The septic system may be tough and durable but that doesn’t always mean that you shouldn’t take steps to ensure that it properly functions. If you’d like to add extra protection to your septic system, keep a close eye on your toddlers and kids as they could be flushing hard materials down the drain. This not only ruins your drain, but it could also break your quality toilet as well.
When it comes to maintenance checks and cleaning, the ideal time would be every three years. This is more than enough time for your septic tank to be full of scum and sludge. Of course, you need to schedule a maintenance check immediately if you think your drains and pipes are no longer working properly. These are signs that there’s something wrong with the septic system.
Septic systems need to be maintained properly. There’s not even a lot of things you need to do. All you need to do is be careful about what goes down your drain and have a regular check-up every couple of years or so. If you are able to properly maintain your septic system, it will work and stay with you for decades.