When you think of the word "bacteria," it often has a negative connotation; however, there are some good bacteria around your house. Your septic tank is composed of good bacteria that help keep it running. Over time, sludge can build up and cause a disaster in the drainfield. Eventually, you have a major clog that can be very time consuming and expensive to fix. Your septic system should last around 20 years as long as you maintain it properly. Should you neglect your system, you could be looking at replacing it sooner than expected. A new septic system could cost you around $4,700. In an effort to avoid paying this much sooner than you expected, here are some tips to better maintain your septic system.
On average, your home goes through a lot of waste water. All the waste water in your home collects inside your septic tank. Any solids in the tank sink to the bottom and ultimately become sludge, but not all solids decompose. Eventually, these solids that collect can end up clogging your tank, and this sludge can overflow into the drainfield. If trying to decide when you should pump your tank, you want to wait until the solids get to about 25% to 33% in your main tank.
Avoid Dumping Nondecomposable Materials
Not everything can be dumped down your drains and expected to easily flow through. Even toilet tissue can cause problems in your tank. In an effort to keep this from happening, you want to purchase quality tissue that is designed to break apart when it gets wet. Other things that can clog your system include coffee grounds, cigarette butts, and fatty oils.
Don't Dispose of Household Cleaners
Chances are you have several household cleaners in the home. While you may commonly use them to keep each room clean, you have to be careful of how you dispose of them when you use them. Too many of the chemicals going down your drains can cause major issues. These cleaners are designed to get rid of bacteria. As mentioned before, you have healthy bacteria living in your septic system, and you do not want this healthy bacteria to be eliminated, too. Small amounts of cleaning solutions can be poured down the drain, but you want to make sure it doesn't get too excessive.
Be Careful of Additives
While you may see a variety of products that claim to help clean your septic system, some of them can actually be damaging to your system. Chemical additives can end up contaminating the groundwater and harm the soil in your drainfield. Call your local plumber if you feel that you need septic tank cleaning or if you have any other questions or concerns.