The most important part of maintaining a septic tank is understanding how it works. If you understand how your septic tank works, you will understand what it can and cannot be used for and how to properly maintain the septic tank to prevent accidents.
An accident involving your septic tank, such as an overloaded tank, can cause big problems. Groundwater contamination, backups, and other incidents are not only a burden but can cost you time, money, and your health.
What are the parts of a septic tank?
There are four main components to every septic tank system: The pipe that leads from your house into the tank, the tank itself, a drain field, and the ground surrounding the drain field. Each of these parts are important to the life, use, and safety of your septic tank.
How does a septic tank work?
When you flush the toilet or wash something down a drain, the water exits your house through a pipe that leads directly into the septic tank. All of the solids sink to the bottom of the tank. The water level is maintained with drain pipes on either side of the tank, near the top. Excess water and other fluids are drained away into an area nearby, referred to as the drain field. The soil surrounding your drain field is what filters the water before it sinks down low enough to reach the groundwater beneath the surface.
There are bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the solids, but the tank does need to be pumped every so often.
Tips For Maintaining Your Septic Tank
Don’t Overload Your Tank
When you use a septic system, you have to be careful how much water gets flushed down into the septic tank. If the tank gets overloaded, solids can end up escaping through the drain field and can contaminate the soil and groundwater.
To prevent yourself from overloading your tank, you can:
- Conserve water. Running water needlessly fills up the tank and contributes to overload.
- Keep an eye on leaky or broken pipes and make repairs when necessary.
- Spread out your laundry and avoid doing it all on the same day, this will give your septic system a chance to catch up to all of the water usage.
- Be Careful What You Flush
In order not to overload your tank and cause backups, be careful what you flush down the toilets or drain down the sink. Do not use your toilets as a trash can and only flush what belongs in a toilet. Avoid overuse of toilet paper or flushing sanitary items. A clog in any house is a pain, but a clog with a septic tank can be big trouble.
Schedule Regular Pumping and Inspections
Depending on the size of your septic tank as well as the size of your family, tanks should typically be pumped out every 3-5 years. In between pumping, you should have your septic system regularly inspected by a professional.
Properly maintaining your septic system can ensure the life and proper use of your tank. Knowing about how your system works and how to properly maintain it can help you avoid issues.
In some instances a plumber may be able to help with septic tank problems. Be sure to call MBHS Plumbing the next time a problem arises.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577