Focusing On Clean Living

Septic Tank 101: Care And Maintenance Tips For The First Time Home Buyer

A septic tank is one of those elements of a house that nobody really likes to talk about; after all, septic tanks are literally tanks that hold waste that is flushed down toilets and drains – not exactly a desirable topic of conversation. However, while discussing a septic tank may not be the centerpiece of great discussion, it is far better to talk about an unpleasant topic than to have something as unpleasant as having your septic system back up into your yard and home happen.

Why Maintenance is Important

Given the fact that the average home produces 85,000 gallons of wastewater a year, or between 250 and 300 gallons a day, backups are not unheard of.

If a backup occurs, you have a serious problem on your hands. A backup causes the waste that your septic tank holds to overflow and/or push back through the pipes in the system. The result is a huge, unsanitary and very smelly mess. Cleaning this mess up is extremely expensive, and even more importantly, the waste can have very damaging effects on the environment. The backed up waste can contaminate groundwater and other water, including lakes, streams, ponds, bays and even oceans with highly toxic elements, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Chlorides
  • Chemicals

So you see, keeping your septic system in check will not only help you avoid a major headache, but it will also help you avoid an environmental catastrophe.

Septic System Care and Maintenance

So, how do you properly care for and maintain a septic system? Believe it or not, it's actually pretty easy. Some key care and maintenance tips include:

  • Avoid using too much water at one time. Too much water use at one time can overpower the system, making it difficult to properly get rid of wastewater. As a result, backups can occur. 
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals. Chemicals can wreak havoc on a septic system. They can disturb the growth of good bacteria in the system. That bacteria plays a key role in the health of a septic system, as it eats away at the waste. Opt for detergents that are made of biodegradable ingredients. When a drain gets backed up, skip the harsh chemical drain cleaner and opt for a natural cleaner instead. Boiled water, baking soda and white vinegar is a great natural drain cleaner.
  • Don't put grease down drains, as it may overload the system and can prevent the bacteria in the system from properly breaking down the waste.

Signs of Trouble

There is always a chance that your septic tank will back up, despite your efforts to prevent a backup from happening. If you notice that there is a backup of sewage in your drains, that the toilets aren't flushing properly, or you smell the unpleasant odor of wastewater, call a repair company to have your septic tank pumped as soon as possible. The sooner you have the problem treated, the less of a chance major damage will be done.

A septic tank may not be the first thing on your mind as a first-time homebuyer, but being knowledgeable about it is vital for the health and safety of your home and the environment. Talk to a service like Honest John's Septic Service Inc to learn more.