How to Properly Maintain Your Septic System

Septic tank diagram and info

Being a homeowner comes with endless responsibilities and tasks, that’s why when you provide preventative maintenance, it avoids major hassles and big expensive jobs. Although you can’t see your septic tank, it isn’t something you want to ignore. Properly caring for your septic tank can save you a mess, time and money.

On average, your sump pump should be inspected every three years. The inspector will look for leaks and record scum and sludge levels in your septic tank. Be sure to keep all records of any maintenance conducted on your septic system and specific dates when the system was inspected.

Over time, your septic tank becomes full of scum and sludge and will eventually need to be pumped out. Your septic tank should be pumped every 3 to 5 years, depending on the scum and sludge levels. This is why it is important to keep all documentation from your septic tank inspection because the recorded levels of scum and sludge will help you determine when the tank needs to be pumped.

Conserve Water
Every bit of water you use in your home ends up in your septic system. To keep your septic tank working properly and efficiently, use only the efficient amount of water needed.

Toilet – Your average toilet can use as much as 5 gallons per flush! That’s a lot of water. With high efficiency toilets and eco toilets, you can reduce your water usage as much as 3.5 gallons!

Motion sensor faucet – You use the sinks in your home for almost everything, how often is it left running? Running water can be a huge waste and over time can wear on your septic system. A motion sensor faucet will prevent excess water from ending up in your septic tank!

Washing machine – Make sure you’re doing full loads of laundry. Sometimes it’s easy to toss some clothes in, but a small load of laundry uses the same amount of water as a full load, so wait until you have a full load before you do laundry.

Dish washer – Just as you do your laundry, do the same and wait until the dish washer is full to wash your dishes.

Waste disposal
Before disposing something down a drain, think to yourself, “When in doubt, toss it out.” What you put down your sink or toilet will eventually end up in your septic tank, which can have a major impact on how well or poor your septic tank functions.

Toilet – Do not flush any of the following items down your toilet: floss, medication, band aids, paper towels, condoms, hair, cotton balls/swabs, feminine hygiene products and bathroom wipes.

Sink – Using a strainer will keep food and hair from going down your drain. Always have an empty jar on hand to dispose grease into – grease will be a nightmare if it makes its way into your septic tank.

Rain water drainage
When placing rain water drainage systems around your home, be sure the rain water is distributed far from your drain field. A drain field, also known as a leach field is a series of trenches that have pipes and gravel covered by a top layer of soil. The drain field is very important because it removes contaminants from the water that comes out of your septic tank.

If placed close to the drain field rain water drainage systems such as, sump pumps and French drains will add additional water to the drain field which slows the flow and can even stop the wastewater treatment process – which can cause major issues.

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Tom Gillece Sr. is the founder and president of Gillece Services in Pittsburgh, providing residential Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Waterproofing services throughout Western Pennsylvania. Established in 1980, Gillece has helped homeowners with all of their emergency, maintenance, repair and replacement needs for more than 30 years. For the latest news and offers, Gillece can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.