Septic tanks are a marvel of modern engineering. Operating quietly in the background, your septic tank plays a huge role in keeping your family healthy and your home clean and fresh. But how does this essential system work?
The main part of your home’s waste system is the rectangular septic tank. All wastewater and sewage runs via drain pipes to this tank resting underneath the ground. Septic tanks hold a special mixture of positive bacteria that break down waste and eliminate harmful substances. The treated liquid wastewater, called effluent, flows out of the septic tank into a wide drain field in the front or back yard, nourishing plants and soil.
In other words, you can think of your septic system to be a miniature wastewater treatment plant. All the water used in your home and any waste that exists is filtered quickly and efficiently. However, like any filter, your septic tank needs to be emptied from time to time. This lets the system work at peak efficiency.
How Often Should You Have Your Septic Tank Cleaned?
The easiest way to know when it’s time to empty the tank is to establish a regular routine of system cleaning, similar to the way you take your car to the mechanic periodically for an oil change. Many professionals recommend emptying the tank anywhere from every two to five years.
In many cases, five years should be the upper limit for septic system cleaning. If your tank is pushing five years or more, the system is probably dangerously close to major problems. Flooded septic tanks can cause irreparable damage to the system, so it is best to request an appointment right away!
To play it safe, you may opt for cleaning every two years, but every family and home is different. A permanent residence’s septic system may need maintenance more frequently than a seasonal home does. How often you should pump your septic tank depends on several factors:
• How large the tank is
• How many people live in your home
• How often you entertain guests
• How long ago the system was installed
If you’re not sure, there’s no harm in asking an experienced plumber for recommendations. If you have relatives or close friends that live nearby, you can also ask them how frequently they pump their systems.
A septic tank of 1,000 gallons needs to be emptied about every five years in a home with a married couple. However, a family of four would have to pump out the same tank once every two years. A larger 2,000-gallon tank provides families with around four years between cleanings.
What If You Recently Purchased a House?
A properly functioning septic system is vital for enjoying life in your new home. There’s nothing wrong with asking the seller about the last time the tank was emptied. If this isn’t an option, or you want to be sure, it’s a good idea to contact experts. Professional plumbers have special
tools that allow them to see the septic tank’s current levels of sludge and determine whether emptying is a priority.
How does this procedure work?
After locating the cover to your septic tank, professionals introduce a sampling tool specifically designed for this type of system. The expert then measures the quantity of total solids accumulated at the bottom of your tank. If solids exceed 25–35% of the tank’s volume, it’s best to pump out the waste immediately.
Another issue a professional may notice is a buildup of scum at the inlet area of the tank. This scum consists of anything flushed down the toilet that bacteria are unable to break down, such as plastic bags, dental floss, and wet wipes. If this accumulated matter is too crowded, especially near the inlet opening, it can cause clogged sewer pipes. This situation also calls for immediate pumping.
What Happens If a Septic Tank Isn’t Emptied Periodically?
A high-quality septic system lasts a long time. Regular cleaning makes sure it stays in excellent condition. To understand why, you need to know how the filtering process works.
When waste enters the septic tank, the action of bacteria and gravity separates it into three different parts: sludge, liquid waste, and scum. Scum floats on the surface, while sludge sinks down to the bottom. Afterward, treated liquid wastewater exits via the outlet pipe to a connected system of drain-field pipes. These pipes have small holes that allow water to seep carefully back into the ground. Crushed rock and layers of soil provide good drainage for this system.
To work smoothly, only liquid wastewater can travel through the outlet pipe and drain field pipes. Sludge is thick and sticky, similar to mud, so any buildup in the drainage system can lead to total blockage. That is why it is vital to empty the tank once sludge reaches a certain level.
If the drain field gets clogged, there is no way to clean it out. Homeowners have no choice but to hire a construction company to dig out the old pipe system and install a completely new one, which can be costly.
What Are the Advantages of Regular Septic Tank Maintenance?
Instead of worrying about a clogged septic system, it is better to establish a regular routine of cleaning. Here are just a few of the benefits of keeping your septic tank in peak condition:
• System longevity: Everything else about a septic tank is virtually self-contained. As long as you clean it regularly, your septic system can easily last the lifetime of your home.
• Money savings: Excavation of damaged drain fields requires heavy equipment and professional contractors. This can get expensive quickly; therefore, it’s much more cost-effective for homeowners and business owners to invest in simple tank pumping services every two or three years.
• Better health: No one wants untreated wastewater returning through drain pipes as this can pose a health hazard. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry! Effortless septic cleaning makes sure your home’s system keeps working perfectly.
• Spotless surfaces: Taking care of your septic tank is directly related to taking care of your home. This is especially true if you have a basement.
When drainage isn’t happening correctly, effluent isn’t distributed evenly throughout the soil, which can lead to exterior pooling or water damage of basement floors and walls.
Is It Time To Empty Your Home’s Septic Tank?
You don’t need to know everything about septic tanks to take great care of yours. Some online websites will tell you to check out the sludge levels in your septic tank using some kind of rudimentary device. However, you don’t need to get your hands dirty at all.
Whether you need urgent system cleaning or want to ask a team of experts for maintenance recommendations, contact J & J Enterprises right away. By calling the professionals, you can find clear answers to your questions and follow the best course of action to keep your septic system working smoothly. Enjoy peace of mind and an attractive home or business with regular septic tank pumping.u and your business?