Practical Tips to Keep Your Septic System Healthy and Clean

Published On: June 17, 20210 Comments on Practical Tips to Keep Your Septic System Healthy and CleanTags: Last Updated: February 6, 20247.8 min read

How should you do septic tank preventive maintenance? Read on. The septic system is one of the most critical yet neglected functional components of business and residential properties. Not many people are aware of the tank’s location though many homeowners across the United States have septic systems. In addition, more people do not know the procedures that need to be implemented to ensure the longevity and health of a septic system. As a result, septic systems are usually mistreated and taken for granted by property owners who do not manage their water correctly.

waste water cleaning facility

Note that component repairs can entail massive expenses. Thus, it is imperative to hold care and periodic maintenance of the septic system. If issues or damages get to the point where an entire septic system must be replaced, the expenses can fall within the $3000 – $10 000 range. On the other hand, the standard cost for septic pumps can range from $100 to $300.

However, on most residential properties, a septic system can last for anywhere from 25 to 30 years with proper and sustained maintenance. So, if you move into a house with a relatively new septic system, treat it well so that it will last throughout your entire residential occupancy. In that way, you won’t have to deal with extra expenses and allot time and effort for maintaining or repairing the septic system.

How the Septic System Works

The tank and the drain field are the two main components of a septic system. The tank serves as the catchment for wastewater coming from the laundry room, kitchen, and bathroom. Expect a sludge layer to form when the wastewater enters the tank and the solid components of waste settle to the bottom. The scum layer will then form when the components of lighter solids and grease float to the top. It takes roughly a day for the layers of each inbound supply of wastewater to separate.

Water then pushes through and out into the drain field between these layers of sludge and scum. Over time, swarms of bacteria will devour the sludge and scum, thus, preventing both the bottom and top layer from growing too fast and too large. But when there is a substantial inbound volume of wastewater collected into the tank, the bacteria cannot keep up sometimes. That leads to the impurities being pushed out into the drain field when that situation occurs. So to prevent the sludge and scum layers from rising too high and too fast, consider pumping the septic tank every three to five years.

Don’t Overload the Drain Field and the Septic Tank

According to studies, each household member in an average American household uses 70 gallons of water daily. But each day, it can take a running toilet or a tiny leak to waste an estimated 200 gallons of water. Even if there are only two people in the house, water usage can more than double because of small leaks. The wasted water can put a strain on local drain fields and local water supplies when you understand how many leaks might happen simultaneously throughout houses and business establishments in a given area.

Does Shower Water Go into the Septic Tank?

The septic system serves as the exit route of all water that moves out of the house. That includes every flush of the toilet, shower water, laundry water, and kitchen water. As a result, water-wasting problems such as leaks can be a source of discomfort and inconvenience for the septic tank. Thus, it’s essential to take action to remove wasteful water usage in your laundry room, bathrooms, and kitchen. To care for your septic system from the comfort of your house, consider the following standard procedures:

Use less sink water. To protect your septic system from wear and tear, consider easing up on the volume of water that goes into the tank in the first place. That is one of the most effective strategies you can do. For a beginner, don’t let too much water enter the drain for any specific reason. Here are some practical steps on how you can do just that:

  •       Washing Dishes. Don’t keep the water running the whole time while washing your dishes by hand. Before lathering up the sponge using soap, keep the water off at first. Scrub the gunk off each utensil and dish before turning on the faucet to rinse everything off with running water.
  •       Washing Hands. Do not turn the faucet while lathering your hands up with soap. Only turn it on when you’re ready to rinse them off.
  •       Brushing teeth. As you brush your teeth, do not leave the water running. Only turn the faucet on when you’re rinsing your brush or mouth.

Take faster showers. Although it feels a little bit better to have long hot showers, it’s important to make each shower quick to help in the longevity of your septic system. After all, taking a shower is all about ridding yourself of unwanted dirt and smell. Consider taking a bath if you want to soak in warm water for 30 minutes or longer. During the time you might utilize enough water for a dozen baths, you’ll notice that showers are relatively wasteful. That holds especially true when they take more than 40 minutes or an hour.

Apply nozzles to the faucets. Limiting the volume of water flowing through the shower faucets and the sink is one practical way to maintain water. If there is a sink that lacks an aerator, consider attaching one to the faucet of the said sink. If there is no flow reducer, it’s also essential to attach one to your shower nozzle. Through each faucet, you’ll notice that these attachments help you to adjust the water pressure and subsequently lessen the overall amount as you like.

Check for faucet leaks. Does your faucet leak at the base or the tap? If you say yes, that means that your faucet needs replacement or the tension is either off. Expect a whole lot of water waste with just one leak. That is why consider calling a plumbing company right away to stop this wasteful flow of water.

Maximize dishwasher loads. If you use water after every small meal, a dishwasher can waste a substantial volume of water. That is why it is recommended that one should only use the dishwasher when it’s filled to capacity. Consider stocking up on more of those household items if you use dishwashers more often due to a lack of utensils and dishes. Ensure then that your overall array of dishes is more than the capacity of dishwashers. In that, you will not run out of dishes before the machine is filled to capacity.

Maximize washing machine loads. Your septic tank will also have troublesome periods if you’re using washing machines, especially that this wastes a lot of water. To address that, consider maximizing loads at every washing stage. Imagine if every member of the household is washing clothes after just a single use. That means a lot of water is being wasted. That is why you should consider doing laundry only when the laundry basket is already full.

washing machine in the laundry room

You can also adjust the water level coherently to the size of a given load to conserve water. For example, set the machine to the small-load cycle if you only have a half-full basket of clothing items to wash. Although most modern washing machines offer this feature, many household members still set their machines to maximum loads and ignore the said feature. That is not only damaging to the septic system but also wasteful.

When buying a new washing machine, prioritize seeing if it has an ENERGY STAR certification. Why that label, though? Well, that certifies that washing machines can function with a water savings of 40 percent and an energy saving of 35 percent versus regular units.

Note that it’s not ideal to run several washing cycles in a day, although it’s one strategy to maximize a load cycle. If you’re part of a household with more than ten members, you’ll notice that several basket loads fill immediately in only a week. And washing cycles are usually done in succession in the same period. Because such practice overloads the tank, it can hinder the optimal performance of the septic system. Moreover, it slows it down from treating the water properly, leading to more scum and sludge piling up.

So what should you do as a member of a large household?

Well, consider spreading the laundry cycle throughout the week. For example, set one load on a Wednesday, another load on a Friday, and a load on Sunday.

Use an Efficient Toilet. Based on recent studies, at least 25 percent of all water usage in a standard American household is accounted for by the toilet. Toilets come with reservoirs that range from 3.5. – 4.5 gallons in older houses. For newer houses, toilets use only 1.6 gallons per flush since they are installed with more efficient toilets. This spells the need to install new versions of toilets to save more than 50 percent of water.

So those are some of the practical ways to ensure the sustainability of your septic system. Come to think about it. They are primarily accessible and helpful.

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