5 Ways to Make Your Septic System Last

If you have a septic system, it is likely the most expensive “system” in your home. The cost of replacing a septic system is usually much more than a HVAC, gutters or even some roof replacements. Given the high price tag, you want to ensure your septic system lasts as long as possible. The good news is many homeowners will never need to replace their septic system in their lifetime if they protect it. Here are five ways to protect your septic system and make it last for decades.

Limit What You Put Down the Drain

First and foremost, protecting your septic system starts with disposal in your home. Limiting water use with water-efficient fixtures and practices is important. You should also keep damaging substances out of your drains such as: chemicals, antibacterial cleansers, non-organic materials, feminine hygiene products and grease/fats.

Protect Your Sewer Lines

Do not let vehicles or heavy machinery drive over where your sewer lines and underground pipes are located to protect them from damage.

Pump Tank as Needed

Do not let your septic tank get too full. You should have it pumped as needed, usually every three to five years.

Routine Inspections

You should have a professional inspect your septic system once a year to check tank levels and all the equipment. Replace parts and components as needed to prevent emergency breakdown issues.

Use a Professional for Repairs

Do not try to fix septic problems on your own. Considering the value of your system, spend the money to have a professional complete all repairs.

If you keep up with maintenance on your septic system and protect it from harm, you can postpone replacement for years. It is worth the investment of time and money to make your septic system last.

Posted on behalf of:
Kiddco Plumbing Inc
Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 435-4441

How Can You Tell Your Septic Lift Station Isn’t Working?

For some septic systems, a lift station is needed to pump effluent from the septic tank to the drain field. While conventional systems use gravity, a lift station is needed where topography requires the tank to be at a lower elevation than the drain field. If the lift station doesn’t work properly, waste water will accumulate in the tank and backup your system. Here are ways to tell if your lift station is not working right to prevent a septic system failure.

Your lift station or sewage pump is activated by the water levels in the pit where the sewage pump is located. When the water level reaches a certain point, the pump turns on and pumps the water to the distribution box of the drain field. Most lift stations are equipped with an alarm system to let you know if the pit is too full, indicating the pump is not working correctly. Signs that the lift station is not working right include: 

  • High level alarm goes off. If your alarm is working correctly, it should alert you when the water level is too high in your lift station.
  • Sewage odor. If you smell sewage in your basement, near your sump pump or by the septic system, you should check your lift station for problems.
  • Septic backups. Lift station breakdowns will cause the septic tank to fill quickly, causing a backup of sewage into your home.

Since lift stations require mechanical equipment to work properly, it is vital to have your lift station maintained. Replacing corroded components and maintaining the pump can help prevent emergency issues with your lift station. Make sure to schedule a lift station and septic system inspection and maintenance through your local septic service at least once a year.

Posted on behalf of:
Septic Service Pro, LLC
Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(678) 292-8728

Reducing the Frequency of Septic Tank Pumping

One of the larger maintenance expenses owning a home with a septic system is the pumping service that is needed every few years. While the pumping itself is often not extremely expensive, the disposal of the waste usually adds quite a bit to the labor and service costs. Most homes with septic system will need pumping every 2-3 years, depending on their waste levels. Here are a few ways to keep those septic pumping services to a minimum.

To start, you need to understand why and how often most septic tanks must be pumped. Septic tanks collect sludge at the bottom of the tank that is solid waste that has not decomposed. Most organic material will breakdown and be able to exit the tank and be filter through the drain field. So reducing the solid waste is key to reducing pumping frequency.

Tanks should be pumped when the sludge level is at or approaching 30% full, so in a 1,000 gallon septic tank you only want about 300 gallons or less before you have it pumped. Each adult will add about 40-60 gallons of solid biological waste per year. So what needs to be reduced is the addition of any other solid waste.

Any toilet paper, paper towels, hygiene products or even food waste can add to the sludge level in your septic tank. Use toilet paper that is designed for septic tanks or is easily biodegradable and keep other paper and cotton product out of the toilets. Also, to ensure your septic tank can function properly to breakdown most of the solid waste, keep chemicals out of your drains; they can destroy the bacteria needed for your septic to work properly.

Even with careful maintenance, you will still need to have your tank pumped every three to five years. An annual inspection by your local septic service can keep you informed on when you should schedule your next pumping.

Posted on behalf of:
Metro Septic LLC
1210 N Tennessee St
Cartersville, GA 30120
(678) 873-7934

Do You Know What’s Being Flushed Into Your Septic Tank?

Talk to any septic repair service technician, and they will likely have humorous stories of items they’ve found in septic systems. Of course, these stories are only funny if you’re not the homeowner paying the service bill. Although you may be aware of the more common items which should not go down your drains or be flushed, sometimes it’s the uncommon items that can be the biggest problem. 

Items That Are Found In Septic Tanks

Anything which is not biodegradable should not be going into your septic system. Even some food items, like fibrous vegetables, grease and egg shells, should stay out of your garbage disposals and your septic tank. However, there are some items which still find their way into the septic tank, usually through the larger drain in your toilet, such as: 

  • Toys. Kids love to play with toys in water, even if that water is in the toilet. It can be even more fun to watch rubber ducky disappear down the funnel, into your plumbing and eventually to the septic tank. Make sure the kids in your home are educated about what can and what cannot go into the toilet.
  • Personal items. Birth control devices and feminine hygiene products are often found in full septic tanks, in larger quantities than you would think. These personal items can quickly clog and cause other problems in the system.
  • Washcloths. You would not think that towels or washcloths would make it into the toilet, yet they do on a fairly common basis. Needless to say, these items will quickly cause problems in your septic system. 

The best way to avoid these issues is to educate your family, friends and guests about what can be flushed down the toilet. Creating a friendly reminder sign for your bathroom, especially when you have multiple guests, may help remedy the problem. 

Posted on behalf of Find Local Sewer Septic

Do I Have Septic System Problems?

It is extremely difficult for the untrained property owner to determine if they have a septic system failure or some other plumbing problem, due to the different types of septic system designs and components, as well as the overall plumbing design for the property.  Septic systems can vary greatly in their design and generally contain a number of components, including the septic tank, as well as the distribution box, drainfield and perhaps a pumping station as well.  In addition, every property will have a sewer line running from the structure to the septic tank.

Considering the number of variables, it is no wonder that troubleshooting a septic system problem is so difficult.   An example of this would be determining the cause of one of the most common symptoms of septic system failure, which is slow flushing toilets or slow drains.  This could easily attributed to a blockage of a sewer line either inside of the property or a problem with a drainfield failure.

Experienced septic system contractors utilize a variety of techniques to trouble shoot problems with a septic system.  The first step is to completely understand the type of system installed, including studying as built blue prints.  Then using visual inspections, camera inspections and other technology they will systematically rule out possible causes of the issue until the real cause is found.  In some cases, it may be a septic system failure of one or more components of the system, while in other cases it may be a blockage in one or more pipes.  If it is a septic system failure, there will be a solution to fix it!

Posted on behalf of Septic Service Pro

More Efficient Toilets Can Help to Protect Your Septic System

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that replacing only one toilet in your home with a high-efficiency, low-flow model can save up to eleven gallons of water each day, which translates to over four thousand fewer gallons of waste water flowing into your septic system annually. While this can make a  noticeable difference on your monthly water bill, it can also help to reduce the risk of needing septic tank service, repairs or even replacement due to a complete septic system failure.

A septic system is easily damaged by too much water flowing throught the system which is called hydraulic overload.  Even under normal water loads, the less water that enters the system the better.  Low flow toilets can help reduce the hydraulic load on your septic system and avoid septic system repairs.  Two of the more popular high-efficiency options for residential use are single flush toilets, which operate in a manner similar to older models while using significantly less water, and dual flush toilets. These models offer two flushing options, one for liquid waste and another for solids.

While replacing your older, less efficient toilets with more modern models that are designed to conserve water will reduce the amount of waste water flowing through your septic system significantly, it’s important to remember that only organic waste and toilet paper should ever be flushed through your toilet.

By making sure that household chemicals like bathroom cleaners, bleach and harsh abrasives are never disposed of in the toilet, you’re opting not to introduce substances that could disturb the bacterial balance inside your septic tank, which is responsible for breaking down organic waste. Feminine hygiene products can also cause problems when they’re flushed. Installing a low-flow toilet and being aware of what you flush through it’s pipes can help you prolong the life of your septic tank, reduce the likelihood of future problems and avoid service repair bills down the line.

Sell Your Home Faster With a Septic System Inspection

If you are trying to sell a home in today’s highly competitive housing market, you need every advantage you can get.  With so many houses on the market, buyers can afford to be choosy.  If they find any reason not to like your home, they can find another one just like it right down the street.

A septic system inspection by a reputable sewer septic contractor can give you an edge over the competition when it comes to getting your home sold. Most home buyers will want to know the condition of the septic system before they finalize the purchase.  Generally speaking, the offer to purchase the home will be contingent on the home passing a septic system inspection or will allow the buyer time to have a septic system inspection performed.  In some states, septic system inspections are required by law before ownership of the property can be transferred.

If you are the seller, offers to purchase homes are few and far between and the last thing you want is for a serious potential buyer to discover a problem with the septic system.   Septic field or septic tank repairs can take weeks and in the meantime, the buyer may have found a different home to buy.

You can avoid these problems by having a thorough septic system inspection done before you list the property for sale.  This will give you plenty of time to have the system repaired before the house goes on the market and you will have a clean inspection report to hand to potential buyers.  You can avoid any unpleasant surprises and move quickly from offer to closing.

Septic System Failures

A properly designed and installed septic system is an excellent way to treat and dispose of household wastewater.  However, a septic system needs to be used properly and regularly maintained or the septic system can fail and require expensive septic tank repairs or replacement.

A septic system works by accumulating household wastewater in the septic tank and holding it there long enough for most solid material to settle to the bottom of the tank where it forms the sludge layer.  Greases and other materials float to the top of the tank and form the scum layer.

The wastewater in between the sludge layer and scum layer is called the effluent and is allowed to flow into the drain field where it leeches into the soil and is purified through a natural organic process.  Baffles inside the septic tank prevent the scum layer from flowing into the drain field.  Bacterial action helps break down the solid material at the bottom of the tank

Septic systems usually fail because the septic field becomes clogged with solid material that prevents the wastewater from seeping into the soil.  Avoid flushing too much inorganic solid material down the drain such as from a garbage disposal or paper products. Failure to have the septic tank pumped when necessary can also lead to septic system failure.  The level of solid material in the tank rises so high that there is no room in the tank and the solid material flows into the septic field.

Septic system failures seem to occur suddenly, but in fact the cause of the failure has usually been building up over a period of months or years.  Most septic system failures can be averted through regular septic tank inspections and septic tank pumping when needed.