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How Do Septic Tanks Work? A Homeowner’s Guide

Calling all homeowners! Do you know if your home has a septic tank? More than 1 in 5 households in the country have one. 

Your house might have one if there isn’t a centralized sewer system in place. If your home has one, it’s your responsibility to maintain it.  

To maintain it, you must know how septic tanks work. How do septic tanks work, you ask? 

This guide covers everything you must know about septic tanks. Read on to learn more about this type of system and how to protect it. 

What Are Septic Tanks and How Do Septic Tanks Work

A septic tank is an underground storage tank that holds sewage waste. This tank treats wastewater that comes from household plumbing. This includes bathrooms and kitchen drains. 

A typical septic system has two components. It has a septic tank and a drain field. Some do have a soil absorption field.

The organic matter goes into the septic tank. From there, it separates floatable matter and solids from the wastewater. The liquid, or effluent, will then travel through pipes found in a leach field. 

The effluent might exit the tank and go into the drain field. Think of it as a shallow excavation that’s part of the unsaturated soil. There are porous surfaces that will filter the wastewater. 

The soil will treat the wastewater and turn it into groundwater. For this action to take place, the drain field can’t be overloaded. 

An overloaded drain field that has too much liquid can flood. This can cause a disaster. You don’t want the sewage to come out or create backups. 

In some cases, the pipes are located in chambers or a special unit. The pipes will release the effluent into the soil. Passage through the soil helps to remove coliform bacteria and viruses. 

Finding Out if You Have a Septic System

How can you find out if you have a septic system? It’s important you find out if you have one. 

There are several signs to look for. If you use well water, it’s likely you have a septic system. 

If your waterline is missing a meter and your neighbors have a septic system, you might have one too. 

Once you determine you have one, you must find it. You can go out to your yard and look for lids and manhole covers. You can call the city for help finding it. 

Signs That Suggest There’s an Issue

You must know how to identify signs that suggest there’s a malfunctioning septic system. A common sign is the presence of a foul odor. If it smells real bad out in the yard, it might be due to a failed septic system. 

Check to see if wastewater is backing up into household drains. You can also check for wet grass around the drain field. Pooling water around the septic system is another sign. 

Septic Tank Maintenance

You want to prevent septic tank issues. One of the best ways to prevent issues is through regular maintenance

Other than preventing issues with the septic tank, you want it to last. With regular maintenance and service, your septic tank can last 40 years or more. 

The good news is that there are several ways to maintain this system. You can use certain treatment materials to break down the material in your septic tank. If you use them, make sure to read the product’s label. 

Avoid disposing of household waste down your sinks or toilets. This means not flushing down diapers or feminine products. Refrain from throwing in paper towels. 

Remember, everything that goes down them will enter the septic tank. You also want to make sure that you clean out any hair before it goes down the sink. 

You might think that draining excessive chemicals down the sink is a good idea. It isn’t a good idea. It can kill the good organisms in the tank that help break down waste. 

You must avoid overusing water. It’s best to turn off faucets while brushing your teeth. Use the washer when it’s full of clothes. 

Replace old faucets and toilets. Do the same with showerheads. It’s better to use high-efficiency models.

Septic Tank Pumping 

You must pump your septic tank every 3-5 years. This is the average, but it might be necessary to pump some septic tanks more often. This will depend on the number of people living in the home and the size of the tank. 

Septic tank pumping will clean out the holding tank. It involves more than removing the sludge layer and solid wastes. Pumping also involves inspecting the septic tank. 

Getting an inspection is essential. It can identify any issues that must be resolved. 

How does septic tank pumping work? When you hire a company that provides septic services, the company might arrive in a large truck. The truck will have a big tank. 

The truck will have a powerful suction hose that sucks up the waste from the septic tank. The truck’s tank will hold the waste. The company will take the waste to a sewage processing site. 

Septic Tank Maintenance and Pumping

How do septic tanks work? Now that you know the answer to this question, you’re ready to maintain your septic tank. 

Septic cleaning and septic pumping are both parts of the maintenance process. These services will help keep your septic system tank working in great condition. 

Looking to hire a company that offers septic services? Contact us to learn more about the septic services we offer in your area.