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Common Septic Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

Clogged septic tank
If your home uses a septic system to take care of wastewater, you know how critical proper septic function is to your everyday life and you don't want to jeopardize that. However, like many other homeowners, you may not have all the information you need to maintain your system correctly.

Here are five common septic maintenance mistakes to avoid.

1. Septic Tank Additives

Additives often offer big results for hardly any effort. However, you're asking for a host of problems if you give in to the temptation to try an additive. For example:
Additives can contaminate your ground and groundwater
  • Additives can block up the system even more
  • Additives may attack a symptom rather than the actual problem
  • Additives often don't live up to expectations
  • Some additives may even be illegal in some areas
With all these strikes against them, additives aren't worth the gamble (and that goes for "DIY" additives like yeast as well). So don't even consider them unless recommended by your expert septic contractor.

2. Planting Bushes or Trees Nearby

Planting grasses and other shallow-rooted plants above your septic system and leach field is a very good thing. Plants benefit the water processing function of your leach field, reduce erosion above your system, and even insulate the septic tank in winter. 

However, bushes and trees must stay far away from not just the tank but also the leach field and any pipes or drains that contain water. Otherwise, their strong, deep roots may discover your septic system and force their way inside, creating leaks and blocking up (sometimes even destroying) the pipes.

3. Skipping the Annual Inspection

Your septic tank probably doesn't need to be pumped every single year. In fact, pumping intervals of two to three years are the recommended norm.

However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a maintenance visit each year. The EPA recommends annual inspections for systems that have moving parts such as pumps or electrical floats. If you have an older system, you may not have these components, but be sure to ask your septic contractor and discuss what your inspection schedule should look like.

4. Neglecting the Rest of Your Plumbing

An important principle to remember is that all your drains lead to the septic system. If the drains aren't working right, it could be from a septic problem. And if there's a leak somewhere (or a constantly running toilet), that can actually cause septic problems.

The septic system is really very interconnected with the rest of your plumbing, and healthy drains and pipes are an important part of a healthy septic system.

5. DIY Repairs

DIY septic repairs tend to be a mistake. In the first place, even if the problem appears to be obvious, it may be caused by a deeper problem that you're unaware of. And getting an expert repair can ensure that the underlying problem gets fixed.

DIY septic work can actually be hazardous to your health and safety as well. That's not just because of the human waste component but also because the septic system is located underground. In addition to being dangerous, the fact that things are located underground means it's that much easier to break something with a shovel while trying to access it.

Avoiding these five mistakes will help you keep your septic system in good shape. Whether you need an inspection, an expert repair, or advice on what to plant above your leach field, American Waste Septic is here to help. We provide septic services across much of the upstate, so contact us today for expert septic services in Greenville and surrounding areas.

American Waste Septic Tank Service
161 S Hammett Road
Greer, SC 29651

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