Your septic system may be out of sight, but it should never be completely out of mind. Homeowners should understand how to take proper care of their septic systems to avoid clogs and backups, or worse, shorten system life spans. Below is more information about how septic systems function and what you should do to keep yours working.
How Your Septic System Functions
Your septic system functions in a multistage process. First, solid wastes settle in the tank, where bacteria process the solid matter, slowly reducing most of it to liquids or gases. Next, liquid waste passes out of the tank and enters the drain field.
Finally, the liquid waste percolates out of the drain field and through the soil, where it is cleaned and purified. The entire process is simple and elegant, but it can be disrupted if the system is mistreated.
What You Should Do to Protect Your Septic System
Now that you know how septic systems function, use the tips below to get the most out of your system.
Control Water Usage
One of the first protective practices to institute is controlling water usage in the home. Excessive water usage will cause several potential problems with your septic system.
For example, too much water flowing into the system can prevent solids from properly settling and digesting. In addition, an excessive amount of water can flood the drain field and overwhelm the surrounding soil. This can result in liquid wastes being forced to the surface and causing odor problems or soil contamination.
You can take several steps to reduce your water usage. For example, consider installing ultraefficient toilets that flush on less than two gallons of water. In addition, be careful when using your washing machine; don't wash big loads unless necessary, and spread out laundry across multiple days.
Dispose Only Appropriate Wastes
Another important way to protect your septic system is by disposing only those wastes that your system can handle. Essentially, a septic system is designed to process toilet waste and grey water, the waste from nontoilet drains in the home.
However, other substances that are often flushed or dumped into drains can cause harm to septic systems. For example, plastic and paper items will not properly digest inside the septic tank and could cause clogs or rapidly fill up the septic tank.
In addition, don't pour chemicals into the septic system that can upset the biological balance inside the tank. These include not only obviously dangerous substances such as gasoline or paint but also prescription medications, laundry bleach, and food grease.
Have It Pumped Regularly
Even though much of the solid waste digests inside your septic tank, a remnant of some solid matter will always be left behind. This material, known as sludge, must be pumped from the tank before it consumes all the available space.
How often sludge is pumped from septic tanks depends on several factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people in the household, and usage habits. Hines Septic will provide you with a schedule to ensure your tank is kept clear and functional.
Protect the System at the Surface Level
Your septic system is just a few feet beneath the surface of your yard, so it is vulnerable to harm from what happens aboveground. For example, vehicles such as cars, trucks, and heavy equipment can leak fluids that could seep into the ground and cause damage to the tank or drain field.
If you own a septic system, then be sure to contact Hines Septic for assistance in servicing your tank. Hines Septic can pump your tank and provide other services as needed.