If your home uses a septic system, it is important to keep it healthy in order for it to remain functional. Septic systems are very important. These systems are underground wastewater treatment structures that usually consist of a septic tank and a drain field and are most commonly found in rural areas that do not have centralized sewer systems like those that are found in cities and suburbs.
This means that—if your home has a septic tank—that septic system handles all of the wastewater that runs out of your home through your drains and toilets. Your septic system takes in all of the water that runs out of your house, treats it, and deposits it into a drain field to become groundwater. If your home is not connected to a centralized sewer system, a healthy and functional septic system is necessary for your home plumbing system to work as it should.
Over time, septic systems can develop problems that require repairs or even a replacement of the septic tank or the entire septic system. If your septic system malfunctions or fails, the wastewater that runs out of your home will have nowhere to go and untreated sewage may back up in your pipes and flood your home or your yard.
This is a major health hazard and can cause severe water damage inside and outside your home, so it is important to do everything you can to keep your system healthy. If you’re not sure exactly how to take the best possible care of your septic tank, keep reading to learn five of the most effective ways to keep a healthy septic system.
Don’t Overuse Water
Your septic tank can only handle so much water. Using too much water in your household can overwhelm your septic system with wastewater that has to be treated. Avoid overusing water to help keep your septic system healthy and functional.
Some simple ways to significantly reduce your household’s water usage include taking shorter showers, replacing your conventional toilets and showerheads with efficient versions that use less water, turning the faucet off while you brush your teeth, and avoiding running your dishwasher or washing machine too frequently.
If you have a septic system, it is important to be careful with what you plant over the drain field of your septic system. The drain field is the area where water from your septic tank is dispersed once it has been thoroughly treated.
Planting grass over your septic system’s drain field helps prevent the erosion of the soil in the drain field and assists with the absorption of treated wastewater that is dispersed from your septic tank into your drain field. Grass also effectively absorbs rainwater, which helps prevent your drain field from becoming saturated with water during the rainy seasons of the year.
Don’t Plant Trees
Don’t plant trees anywhere near your septic system’s drain field. Tree roots can wreak havoc by puncturing your underground septic tank or causing blockages in the pipes that lead to your septic tank.
Remember that tree roots can travel surprisingly far distances away from where a tree is actually planted. The distance a tree’s roots can travel depends on the type of tree, but a good general rule of thumb to prevent wayward tree roots from damaging your septic system is to avoid planting trees within 100 feet of your drain field.
Be Careful With Your Drains
Be careful with what you put down the drains in your home. Everything that goes into the drains in your home travels down to your septic system to be processed and treated. These systems are able to break down solids, but some solids you might put down your drain or flush down your toilet can cause major damage to your septic system.
Never pour grease down your sink drain, as it can then solidify and cause a blockage in the pipes that lead to your septic tank. Also avoid flushing anything but toilet paper down your toilet—including cotton balls and cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, and even flushable wipes.
Get Regular Inspections
Getting your septic system inspected regularly is a very important part of keeping your septic system healthy. You should get your septic system inspected and maintained by a professional at least once every other year.
It is also important to get your septic tank pumped out periodically to remove any heavy sludge that has built up at the bottom of the septic tank over time. While the frequency at which you should get your septic tank pumped out varies depending on multiple different factors, make it a habit to get your septic tank professionally pumped out about every three to five years to keep it healthy.
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