What are the Best Methods for Septic Tank Care?

Erin J. Hill

There are several methods that can be used to ensure proper septic tank care. This includes keeping accurate records of all maintenance and repairs, having it pumped regularly, and performing simple maintenance tasks periodically. It’s also a good idea to keep track of water consumption to be sure the tank and drainage field are kept at optimum levels.

Septic tank maintenance requires periodic inspection, cleaning and treatment.
Septic tank maintenance requires periodic inspection, cleaning and treatment.

Septic tank care generally requires that homeowners keep a close watch on how much water is being used inside the home. The average septic tank can generally hold around 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of water. This may seem like a lot, but after several days of showers, washing clothes, running a dishwasher, and flushing the toilet; the tank can begin to fill up rather quickly.

If a septic tank becomes too full too quickly, an abundance of water flows out into the drainage field. The drainage field is where the wastewater goes to be held and filtered into the ground through perforated pipes. Usually, this process works efficiently, as water drains slowly enough to filter itself before new water is added. When the drainage field receives more than it can handle, the yard may begin to flood.

Another way to ensure proper septic tank care is to keep track of maintenance and repairs. Homeowners are encouraged to create a log of all professional work done to the tank. This allows them to know when more work is needed, or to enforce any warranties on work that has already been done.

Having the tank regularly pumped is another important part of septic tank care. Even if water is kept at bay, waste materials still accumulate toward the bottom of the tank. From time to time, this waste must be pumped out of the tank to prevent it from filling too quickly. In general, unless there is a problem which arises sooner, the average septic tank should be pumped and emptied once every four to six years.

Cleaning the aerator pump and paying attention to the drainage field is another way to care for a septic system. This is especially important for new homeowners who do not know the last time a tank was pumped. The drainage field generally has risers from the ground next to an aerator pump. This pump should be cleaned once every few months by shutting off power to the pump, removing it, and spraying it with a garden hose.

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