Tips and tricks to be sure you maximize your septic system's efficiency
So, how does a septic system work? A private onsite septic system means that the waste from your home drains (sinks, showers, toilets) goes into a septic tank which retains the solids and lets the effluent flow into the soils on the property.
Homeowners love that septic systems require very little upkeep but give them monthly savings compared to the cost of city sewer.
In a standard septic tank and drain field system, usually about 40% of the treatment of sewage wastewater occurs in the septic tank, and the remaining 60% occurs in the drain field trenches and surrounding soils.
Properly designed and installed private septic tank and drain field or soak away bed systems are functional and sanitary. Private septic systems serve more homes in the U.S. and many other countries than any other waste disposal method.
In caring for your septic system, we recommend the following homeowner maintenance tips:
If you are new to septic systems, a top priority is to prevent solids from leaving the tank.
You should get your tank inspected and pumped on a regular basis to prevent excessive accumulation of solids in the tank. Under normal conditions, you should have the tank inspected and pumped every 1-3 years.
One Very important tip: tanks should be pumped and inspected through the manhole cover, not the inspection pipe. Your septic contractor should also install an effluent filter in the exit baffle of the tank. Effluent filters stop the larger solids from getting out to the drain field. They are cleaned out every few years when you have your tank pumped. They are usually less than $100.
Effluent filters are cheap insurance and along with a washing machine filter, one of the best things you can do to protect your system.
Use of Household Cleaning Products
Excessive use of these products can contribute to septic system failure. If you do more than five loads of laundry a week containing bleach, problems could arise. Avoid powdered detergents as they contain plastic fillers that can plug up your lines and drain field.
Also be careful with harsh automatic toilet bowl cleaners, which can seriously harm your septic system.
Here are some tips and tricks we have found useful
1. Divert surface runoff water from roofs, patios, driveways and other areas away from your drain field.
2. Have your septic tank pumped regularly. It should also be inspected for leaks, cracks and to make sure the exit baffle is in place.
3. Install lint and effluent filters.
4. Spread out the time between your laundry loads.
5. Compost your garbage or put it in the trash
1. Use a garbage disposal.
2. These appliances normally double the amount of solids added to the tank!
3. Flush sanitary napkins, disposable diapers or other non-biodegradable products into your system.
4. Dump solvents, oils, paint thinners, disinfectants, pesticides or poisons down the drain as they can disrupt the treatment process and contaminate the groundwater.
5. Dig in your drain field or build anything over it.
6. Drive over your drain field or compact the soil in any way.
7. Plant trees or shrubbery close to the septic system, because the roots can get in the lines and plug them. Grass is the only thing that should be planted on or near a drain field.
These tips were meant to provide general information and are worded based on our personal experiences combined with online research. We always recommend calling a licensed, trained professional for specifics including warranty information, code requirements, precise instructional information, etc. Since we are a new home builder, some products, materials and processes may change over time and may vary in the different locations we build new homes.
Please refer to your new home warranty paperwork included in your homeowner orientation packet for more information.
More home improvement tips can be found here.
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