If you just moved into a home equipped with a septic system after living in homes hooked up to municipal sewer systems for your entire life, then you need to learn the do's and don'ts of septic tank care. Of course, two important steps you need to take to keep your septic system in good condition are having your tank pumped every three to five years and having your system inspected at least once every five years.
Read on to learn three more important ways to care for your septic system now to avoid problems in the future.
1. Don't Install a Garbage Disposal
Many new septic tank owners suffer from the misconception that only water and waste that flushes down the toilet enters their septic system. However, the truth is that any water that flows down the drains of your home actually enters the septic tank.
This makes it very important to not only ensure that everything you flush down your toilet is septic system-safe but to also keep a close eye on everything that flows down your home's drains. If you are thinking of installing a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, then it is best to skip it.
Every food item that goes down your garbage disposal enters your septic system. Your septic system can only break down so much solid waste at once. When you overload your septic system with food items that are disposed of in your garbage disposal, they often don't break down efficiently, leading to your tank needing to be pumped out at least twice as often (depending on how often you use your disposal).
Even worse, some of these solids may simply be pumped right into your drain field pipes and clog it. If a drain field is clogged badly enough, it often needs complete replacement, which can be very expensive.
2. Avoid Overloading Your System with Too Much Water
Another way to avoid septic system problems and even extend the life of your septic system is to keep water usage in your home to a minimum. Using too much water in your home within a short period of time can actually lead to complete system failure. When too much water floods your system at once, sludge and scum may not separate, which is a vital process in a well-functioning septic tank.
Of course, your family does not need to resort to skipping showers and leaving dishes unwashed to avoid overloading your septic tank with water. However, it is a good idea to install low-flow shower heads and faucets, turn the faucets off when not in use (like when brushing teeth), and pay close attention to your family's water usage in general.
In addition, if you have many water-consuming tasks to complete each week, such as washing many loads of laundry or dishes for a large family, then space these tasks apart to keep water flow to your tank slow and steady throughout the week.
3. Be Careful When Landscaping Over and Around Your Drain Field
While landscaping over your septic system drain field, also called its leach field, can actually help improve your septic system performance, you must choose what you plant over it wisely. A thick layer of grass and plants with shallow roots, such as flowers, can remove moisture from the soil above your drain field and prevent soil erosion to keep your drain field operating efficiently.
However, plants with deeper root systems, such as trees and bushes, can clog your drain field when their roots penetrate into drain lines in the field and damage them. This means you should not only avoid planting them on your drain field, but also near it. Since tree roots can spread many feet away from the actual tree, a good rule of thumb to follow is to consider how tall a tree will be at maturity and then plant it at least that many feet away from your drain field.Contact American Waste Septic if you are currently experiencing problems with your septic system or to arrange for your regular septic system pumping or inspection.