A well-maintained septic tank can reduce the need to make costly repairs. Bacteria in the tank are constantly working to break down solid waste. It is a good idea for it to be cleaned at least once every three years to ensure it is working properly. It is best to get it checked by a professional contractor at least once a year.
There are many things you can do to keep your septic tank 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.
When wastewater from your home passes into the septic tank, it separates into three layers: solid waste (sludge), liquid waste (scum), and oil and grease. The solids settle to bottom of the tank and the oils, grease, and other substances rise to the top. The septic tank’s bacteria breaks down some of the waste and distributes it to the leach fields. A pump is required to remove the sludge from the tank’s bottom.
Depending on the size of your home, you should have a septic tank that will handle the amount of water you use. American adults consume between 80 to 100 gallons of drinking water each day. This translates to approximately 90 gallons of solid waste every year. Generally speaking, the standard performance of a septic tank is 50 percent reduction of solids.
A chemical additive in your septic tanks will not improve its functionality. They could actually cause more harm than good. Sodium hydroxide, for example, can add more alkalinity to the system, which can cause accelerated clogging and cause a sludge buildup.
Septic tanks are very easy to maintain. However, they need to be pumped frequently to remove solid waste that can’t flow into the leach fields. Fortunately, most septic tanks don’t need pumping unless there is a significant sludge buildup. It is important to immediately notify your local health department if you suspect a problem.
The septic company will pump your septic tank and also do a short inspection of the tank. These inspections can alert you to any problems. A septic tank inspection can be done on a one-time basis or when purchasing a new property. These inspections can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, and are often included in the repair cost.
How often you should pump your septic tank depends on the size of your tank and the number of people living in your home. The EPA recommends pumping your tank once every three to five years. Your specific situation may require more frequent pumping. A single person may only need to pump their 1,000-gallon tank every nine to twelve years, while a family of five may need to pump every two to three.
You should consider putting a septic system on the site prior to laying the foundation for a new house. Contractors won’t have to drive over the tank site as they build the house. This could slow down the building process. If the septic tanks are located in an area where supplies are delivered it will prevent them driving over it. So, you may have to wait until the building process is almost complete before you can get it installed.
It can be hard to determine how much a septic tank cleaning should cost. It is best to contact three local companies to estimate the cost. 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. Although they are necessary, they are also very expensive.