If you're used to living in the city and being connected to the municipal sewer service, you may feel nervous about having to maintain a septic system in your new home. You need to have the tank pumped and serviced on a regular schedule or waste will overflow into your yard or even back up into your house. Different factors affect how often you need to have your septic tank serviced. Here is a quick look at them.
Your Family Size
All the water and waste that goes down your drains and through your toilets ends up in the septic tank. If you have a large family, there will be more people taking showers and using the toilet every day, so the tank will fill up faster than it would if you live alone. You may not know the size of your septic tank, but if you can find out, a contractor can use the size and the number of people in your home to estimate how often you'll need to have the tank pumped out.
When your tank was initially installed, the contractor probably followed local codes that stipulated the size of tank necessary for the number of bedrooms in your home. You can probably assume the more bedrooms you have, the larger your tank is. However, when you have your tank serviced by professionals like Kulp and Sons, ask the contractor to estimate the size of the tank for you and to calculate how often you should have it pumped. That way, you'll have a guideline for future reference.
Amount Of Solid Waste
If you use a garbage disposal often, you'll have to pump your septic tank more often. The same is true if you have the habit of flushing garbage down the toilet. The only paper that should be flushed is toilet paper that dissolves quickly in water. If you flush things like paper towels or cigarette butts, they will not decompose very fast and your tank will fill up quicker and need to be pumped more often.
All the drains in your home empty into the same tank. The solids then slowly sink to the bottom and fats float to the top. Water stays in the middle of the tank where the drain is located. The water drains out into the drainfield where it will be filtered as it seeps through the soil. The solids stay in the tank and build up until you have the tank pumped out. For that reason, you may want to limit the amount of solids you send through the garbage disposal.
Balance Of Microbes
Your septic system relies on nature to work properly. Microbes in the tank help break down solids into sludge. Microbes in the soil help to purify the water that drains out of the tank. Your septic system works well as long as the balance of microbes is in the optimum range. Certain events can disturb the balance of bacteria in your tank. One thing you should avoid is pouring harsh chemicals down your drains. The chemicals may kill off beneficial bacteria and slow down the decomposition process in your tank.
Another thing that can affect the balance in your septic system is a surge of use. If you have a house full of people staying with you over the holidays, it may overwhelm your septic tank because of the sudden increase in water and waste flowing through the system. A sudden increase in waste water caused by a plumbing leak, flood after a heavy rain, or draining a pool can also affect how well your tank and drainfield work.
Fortunately, you usually have some warning before your septic system fails completely or backs up. The drains in your home will be slow to empty and it may take longer for your toilet to flush. When you notice signs of slow or clogged drains, you want to have your septic tank serviced as soon as you can or the sludge may clog up filters in the tank or cause problems that are costly to repair.