It is possible to reduce the cost of costly repairs by keeping your septic tank clean. The tank’s bacteria is constantly working to remove solid waste. It is a good idea to have it cleaned at least every three years to make sure it is functioning properly. It is best to get it checked by a professional contractor at least once a year.
There are many ways you can help your septic system stay clean. One of the first things you should do is use less water than you typically would. The more water in the tank, the more difficult it is for waste to break down. You can reduce water consumption by using water efficient toilets, showerheads and washing machines. You can also save water by not running your faucet while you brush or wash dishes.
The septic tank separates wastewater from your home into three layers: solid waste, liquid waste (scum), oil and grease. The solids settle at the bottom of the tank while the oils and grease rise up to the top. Bacteria in the septic tank break down some of the waste and distribute it to the leach field. The tank will need to be pumped when the sludge has reached the bottom.
Depending on the size and needs of your home, you need a tank that can handle the amount water you use. American adults consume between 80 to 100 gallons of drinking water each day. This amounts to roughly 90 gallons per year of solid waste. Generally speaking, the standard performance of a septic tank is 50 percent reduction of solids.
The function of your septic tank won’t be improved by adding chemicals. They can actually do more harm than good. For example, sodium hydroxide can increase the alkalinity of the system, which can accelerate clogging and lead to sludge buildup.
Septic tanks need very little maintenance. They do need to be pumped every so often to remove any solid waste which is not allowed into the leach area. Unless there is a significant amount of sludge buildup in the tank, most septic tanks don’t require pumping. If you do notice a problem, it’s best to have it checked right away.
In addition to pumping your septic tank, septic companies will also do a brief inspection of your tank. These inspections will alert you to any potential problems. A septic inspection can be done once or several times during a property purchase. These inspections cost about $100 to $300 and are usually rolled into the repair costs.
The size and number of people living in your house will affect how often you pump your septic tanks. The EPA recommends you pump your tank once every three-five years. Your specific situation may require more frequent pumping. A person with a 1,000-gallon tank might need it every nine to 12, whereas a family of five might need it every two or three years.
When building a new home, you should install a tank before you lay the foundation. Contractors won’t have to drive over the tank site as they build the house. This could delay the building process. If the septic tank is in an area where supplies are delivered, it will prevent them from driving over it. Before you can get it in place, you might have to wait until all the construction is done.
It can be difficult to calculate the cost of septic tank cleaning. The best way to estimate the cost is to call three local companies. The companies should be able provide a written breakdown of costs. This way, you won’t have to make a decision on the basis of guesswork. Septic tanks are necessary but expensive.