Maintaining a septic tank is essential for homeowners who do not live on a city sewer line. Most homeowners often forget to include septic tank maintenance as a part of their regular home maintenance, mainly because your septic system is traditionally hidden underground. Here are just a few reasons why it is so important to periodically inspect and maintain your septic tank system in Massachusetts.
What is a septic tank system?
A septic tank system is a self-contained wastewater management system that is used to treat and dispose of domestic sewage. It consists of two main parts: a septic tank, which collects and stores the sewage, and an absorption field, which disperses treated effluent into the ground. Septic tanks are usually buried underground and are used in both rural areas where there is no access to municipal sewers as well as suburban neighborhoods. Regular maintenance of your septic tank system is essential for proper functioning and ensuring that it meets environmental regulations.
How To Care For Your Septic Tank Between Scheduled Maintenance
When it comes to maintaining a healthy septic tank, there are some basic dos and don’ts that homeowners can follow to keep their septic system healthy and avoid emergencies, while ensuring that their regularly scheduled maintenance is a breeze!
- Spread out laundry and dishwasher use. This will help your septic system ensure it is not overloaded but will also give the system time to treat the wastewater. Too much water going down your drains could overload your septic system and cause flooding within your drain field.
- Only flush toilet paper down the toilet. Do not flush dental floss, facial tissues, diapers, feminine hygiene products or other objects down the drain. Another common object found in septic tank blockages is a children's toy!
- Similarly, be cautious of what you pour down your kitchen sink and other drains. Eggshells, large quantities of flour, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, baby wipes, cat litter, or cooking oil and grease should not go down any drains in your homes. This will lead to clogged screens or pipes.
- Additionally, ensure that you use environmentally friendly and septic-safe cleaning products whenever possible as they will not damage your septic system. We don't recommend pouring bleach or products with ammonia and other heavy-duty chemicals down your drains as it can interfere with the breakdown of bacteria in your septic tank. The area surrounding your septic system should be regularly checked to ensure gutters and/or sump pumps are discharging water far away from your drain field. It is highly recommended you keep trees and other garden plants far from your septic system as the roots may damage your septic system.
6 Reasons To Regularly Maintain Your Septic Tank
In addition to careful use of your water habits, we recommend you hire a professional septic system professional to maintain your system every 2-3 years. The following are 7 reasons to have a septic plumbing professional clean and maintain your septic system.
1. Avoid Costly Repairs
Regular inspection and maintenance of your septic tank can help you avoid costly repairs down the line. Inspecting your septic tank allows for early detection of any potential issues that might arise, helping you to take preventive measures before the problems get out of hand. Additionally, if there are any existing issues with your system, having them repaired quickly by a professional will help minimize further damage from occurring in the future.
2. Improve Performance
Proper and timely maintenance helps keep your septic system functioning properly, which increases its efficiency over time. Maintaining a healthy septic system with regularly scheduled inspections ensures that any necessary repairs or adjustments can be made quickly without disrupting normal operation or performance. Additionally, leaks and other water-wasting issues can be harmful to your septic system - routine maintenance eliminates unnecessary wear and tear on both components and materials within the system itself.
3. Protect Your Environment
Maintaining a healthy environment around your property is essential for maintaining its value both now and in the future. By inspecting and maintaining your septic tank regularly, you can ensure that no contaminants leak into nearby groundwater sources—which could have serious consequences both financially as well as health-wise—or cause damage to surrounding areas due to poor drainage patterns caused by blockages within the pipes themselves due to lack of maintenance or repair work being conducted over time.
4. Prevent Leaks & Spillage
An unmaintained or poorly maintained septic tank can pollute both ground and surface water if it is not managed correctly and periodically inspected for potential malfunctions or blockages that could lead to contamination of nearby water sources like rivers, lakes, streams, etc.
5. Reduce Odor Problems
Neglecting to regularly inspect your system often results in unpleasant odors that are difficult to get rid of without a proper maintenance regime instituted by an experienced professional. Odors are often caused by gas buildup in the tank, from improper items being flushed or faulty equipment.
6. Uncover Early Warning Signs From Professionals
Completing regular inspections and cleaning of your septic system by a licensed septic professional will identify small issues before they become large ones. Additionally, your professional will be able to advise you on the appropriate action to take to resolve issues and improve the longevity of your septic tank. In the end, you will improve the life of your septic tank and save money.
Ensuring that you periodically inspect and maintain your septic tank is an essential part of owning a home Taking proactive steps towards prolonging the life span of your septic system while avoiding costly repairs goes far beyond just saving you money—it protects both our environment as well.
Frequently Asked Questions About Septic Tank Maintenance
How often should I inspect my septic tank?
While systems vary, we recommended that homeowners hire a licensed professional to inspect your septic tank twice a year. This should be done by a licensed professional who understands septic systems and can identify potential problems before they become serious.
Can I perform maintenance and empty a septic tank myself?
It is highly recommended you let professionals maintain your septic tank. The bacteria and germs from the septic tank can be harmful to your health, so you should never attempt any maintenance yourself as a DIY project.
How much does it cost to get regular inspections and cleaning of my septic system done?
The service fee will depend on the size, complexity, and age of your septic system. Call Home Mechanics at 978-539-7172 for your free quote.
What is the lifespan of a septic tank?
The lifespan of a septic tank is roughly 20-30 years. As your septic tank reaches the end of its rated life expectancy, keep a closer eye on its performance and plan for a replacement.
Do I need to call a septic tank service professional if I see water around the location of my septic tank?
If you observe a flood of water near the location of your septic tank, call Home Mechanics as soon as possible to ensure the tank is not leaking, that lines are not compromised, or a blockage is causing backup elsewhere in the system.
How can I tell if my septic tank is full?
There are a few ways you will know if your septic tank is full, including:
- You are having trouble flushing your toilet
- Your pipes gurgle when draining
- Water starts to pool in your yard
- Your lawn around the septic tank burial area grows quicker or looks lusher than the rest of your yard.
Schedule Service on Your Septic System with Home Mechanics
Any household maintenance, if not done properly, can cause severe damage, and the same happens in the case of the septic tank if it's not cleaned, pumped, or adequately maintained.
Experts at Home Mechanics recommend preventative treatment as a way to avoid drainpipe clogs or even complete septic failure. If you haven’t followed a yearly maintenance schedule, keeping an eye on any irregularities in your drainage will be important to catch clogs early. If you see these things happening in your plumbing system, make sure to avoid DIY chemical drain cleaners and give our team a call.
Home Mechanics' expert plumbing team is available 24/7 to assist you in the greater Boston area.