Congratulations on your new home and septic tank! With a little care and maintenance, your septic tank should provide you with years of good use. For a person who has never had a septic tank, some of maintenance methods and symptoms of problems may be unfamiliar. These frequently asked questions and answers will help you as you learn to live with a septic tank.
What are the signs that your septic tank needs to be cleaned?
If your septic tank needs to be cleaned, you'll see the following warning signs:
- Standing water in your yard. When your septic tank needs to get cleaned, your yard will develop a swampy quality that it didn't have before. This is a sign that waste has clogged the drainfield and is sending water up to the surface instead of down into the earth.
- Extra green grass around the drainfield. That standing water in your yard will feed the grass just like fertilizer. The end result is an extra green quality in one patch of your lawn.
- Mysterious smells. All that extra water isn't going to smell good. If your lawn starts to smell like sewage, this is another sign that your septic tank needs to be cleaned.
- Water backing up into the house. Much like a sewer clog, a clogged septic tank will start to send raw sewage back into your home.
How often should you clean your septic tank?
Many homes need to pump out their septic tank once every 2 or 3 years. However, the exact cleaning schedule varies from one house to the next, depending on the amount of waste water the household produces and the size of the septic tank. Houses that with an inappropriately small tank, a garbage disposal that gets regular use or with a lot of people for the size of the house might need to have their septic tank pumped more frequently. The best way to evaluate your pumping needs is to have your tank inspected by a professional.
Is there anything else besides pumping that must be done to take care of the septic tank?
Aside from having it pumped regularly, the best way to care for your septic tank is to avoid flushing anything down your drain that isn't water or human waste. Food, grease, silt and other particles can clog your septic tank and cause a backup. If you have a garbage disposal, don't use it unless it's specifically designed to be safe for use with septic tanks.
For more information about how you can protect your septic tank, talk to your septic tank cleaning professional, like Walters Environmental Services Inc. He or she can answer your questions and give you tips for safe septic tank use.