Septic Systems 101
Most people give little thought to where our wastewater goes once it leaves our homes, and if you aren’t from a rural area or small town, it’s possible that you don’t even know what a septic tank or septic system is. Before buying a home that requires a septic tank, there are a few things you need to know to ensure your system is perfect for you and works as it should. Understanding septic systems and which type of tank is needed for your property is important to ensure your system meets both your needs and your budget, but fear not! In this blog, we will get you up to speed on everything you need to know about a septic system…what it is, how it works, and how to care for one.
What Is A Septic Tank?
A septic tank is part of the on property waste disposal septic system and is typically buried underground. It is a large, watertight holding tank (constructed of concrete or fiberglass) where human waste can decompose into its component parts. All wastewater from your home flows into the septic tank through a sewer pipe, where it will then be broken down. This involves a bacterial environment (anaerobic or aerobic) that breaks down these wastes and allows recyclable portions to be returned to nature while the dangerous parts of the waste can be pumped out and disposed of properly.
How Does It Work?
The purpose of a septic tank is to take the wastewater leaving the home and separate all of the solid matter from it, which settles to the bottom of the tank. When waste enters the tank through sewer pipes, the heavy solids sink to the bottom where bacteria performs a very important function – breaking down the solids into sludge and gases.
The water that stays at the top of the chamber is known as greywater, and is safe to return into the environment. Greywater comes from dishwashers, sinks, tubs and showers, and washing machines. This greywater is returned into the surrounding environment through what is known as a drain field, a network of perforated pipes placed in gravel trenches buried deep beneath the soil. The drain field is designed specifically to redistribute water down through the topsoil where it will eventually be filtered back into the groundwater, and is a resourceful way to maintain the appearance of your property.
The heavier solids remain at the bottom of the septic tank until it is emptied by professionals who will remove the solid wastes entirely. This can be required annually or as rarely as every three years, depending on the type of system you have.
How Do I Care For A Septic System?
Having your tank pumped on a regular basis is essential to keeping your septic tank and drain field in proper working condition. How often you will need to have your tank pumped depends on several factors: the size of your tank, the size of your household, total amount of waste produced and the amount of solids that go into the tank. The official recommendation from the EPA is that you have your system pumped every 3 to 5 years, but it’s a good idea to have it serviced and inspected more often than that.
Fortunately, septic care and maintenance doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. We’ve listed below important tips to keep your septic system working properly and efficiently.
– Have your septic system inspected regularly.
Having your system inspected on a regular basis and performing any required maintenance will keep your system healthy and in proper working condition. Regular inspections will help to discover minor issues like water leaks that can cause the tank to fill up quicker. Having such small issues repaired right away will keep them from becoming much bigger issues later on.
– Use water efficiently.
One of the most common causes of a failed septic system is too much water usage. Check toilets and faucets regularly for leaks and make repairs when necessary to help reduce the amount of excess water flowing into the tank.
If you own a hot tub, you should not drain it into the septic tank because such a large volume of water can drown your drain field. The chlorine in the hot tub will also kill the helpful bacteria that breaks down solid waste within the tank.
– Pay attention to your landscaping.
Grass is the most ideal coverage for your drain field because it will help reduce soil erosion. Shallow rooted plants are also ok to be planted near the drain field, but plants or trees with long root systems should never be planted near your septic system because their roots will cause expensive structural damage to your septic tank.
Too much water in the drain field is never a good idea and can cause serious drainage problems. Be mindful that any water from sprinklers or irrigation systems drains away from the drain field.
– Keep the drain field clear.
Never drive or park over the drain field to prevent the dirt from packing down as this can lead to broken pipes. You should also keep all patios, carports, sheds or any type of landscaping fabric or plastic away from the drain field as well.
– Make sure your septic tank lid is easy to access.
Adding a riser to your septic tank is always a good idea. It makes inspection much easier and less time consuming, thereby saving you money on inspection costs. It also makes it easier to have your tank pumped without disturbing your yard.
– Pay attention to what goes down the drain.
Remember, if it belongs in the trash, put it in the trash. Your septic system is not a trash can! You should only flush human waste and toilet paper and nothing else.
Never flush or pour down the drain:
- Disposable wipes like baby wipes or other wet wipes, even IF they are labeled flushable
- Feminine hygiene products or condoms
- Dental floss
- Cigarette butts
- Cat litter
- Paper towels or rags
- Paint, paint thinners or other household chemicals
- coffee grounds, eggshells or nutshells
- Cooking oil or grease
No matter what your needs are, whether it is septic system care, septic tank clog remover, septic tank cleaner or even a sink drain cleaner, TruFusion™ has you covered with a trusted, powerful product.
TruFusion products CareFree and Washout products from TruFusion are perfect for keeping your septic system healthy and working properly.
WASHOUT Build-up Remover is uniquely formulated for MONTHLY drain care maintenance usage to help PREVENT plumbing clogs and pipe buildup. This drain cleaner when used routinely will help to RESTORE your drain from years of sediment build-up in your pipes.
WashOut Build-Up Remover is non-corrosive, safe on metal and PVC pipes, a safer alternative to harsh chemicals and is septic safe.
AVOID SEPTIC ODOR: When naturally occurring bacteria in septic systems are killed off by common household chemicals it can weaken the system causing a backup, resulting in a smelly mess. CareFree Septic Treatment helps control odors by maintaining the balance of your septic system.
SAFE FOR ALL PIPES: CareFree Septic Treatment is a safer alternative to harsh chemicals, is non-corrosive, and safe for all city sewer pipes, septic tanks, and plumbing systems.
Other posts you might like
Unexpected surprises are just a part of life. Few surprises are...Read More
It’s bound to happen at some point. The drain in your...Read More
TruFusion, the drain care division of Danco, offers powerful solutions to...Read More