A septic tank is a costly investment, and proper maintenance is key to protecting that investment and ensuring it serves you for years. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not know how to maintain or care for their septic tanks the right way. Dealing with septic tank issues because of poor maintenance can cost you significantly too. Fortunately, caring for your septic tank is simple and only requires being mindful of how you use the plumbing fixtures in your home. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to properly care for septic tanks.
Watch What You Flush and Pour Down Your Drains
Whatever you flush or pour down your drains ends up in your septic tank. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not know what they should or shouldn't pour down their drains. For your toilets, the general rule of the thumb is not to flush anything that isn't tissue paper. That means cat litter, paper towels, facial tissue, coffee grounds, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, etc., should all be disposed of in a different place. Your litter bin should work. Also, ensure that everyone in your house understands what shouldn't be flushed down the toilet. Flushing unwanted materials will end up clogging your septic tank resulting in blocked drains and sewage backups.
For your kitchen drains, avoid fats and grease. They will clog your drain field and prevent the surrounding soils from absorbing the liquids. Besides possibly causing sewage back-ups, you may have to dig a new drain field, which will be quite costly.
Repair Leaky Plumbing Fixtures
Leaky taps and faucets strain your septic tank system. Therefore, identify all the leaky plumbing fixtures including running toilets and have your plumber fix them right away. This will not only protect your septic tank but will also save you from high water bills.
Use Your Garbage Disposal Sparingly
A garbage disposal system will increase the scum levels in your septic tank. This can result in clogs unless you pump out the septic tank. Keep in mind that this also means you will have to clean or pump out your septic tank more frequently because of the increase in the number of solids. This will drive up your septic tank maintenance costs. To avoid such issues, it's often recommended that you don't install a garbage disposal system if you have a septic tank in your home. However, if you already have one, consider using it sparingly.