Septic tanks are large underground tanks that fill up with household wastewater slowly over many months. When a septic tank fills up with enough water, that wastewater filters into the soil, where it is naturally cleaned and reintroduced into the groundwater supply.
Septic tanks need special care compared to sewers. Some things that have no effect on sewers can have a big effect on septic tanks. If you are new to septic tank ownership and used to having a sewer, this information can help you avoid a clog or serious septic tank damage. Here is what you need to know.
Many of the homes sold each year have a private septic system. In fact, according to the United States Bureau of the Census, more than 60 million Americans utilize private septic systems, instead of public sewer systems.
Even though these numbers show how common private septic systems are in homes, first-time homeowners may still experience some confusion about their role in maintaining one. If you are one of these homeowners, the following tips will offer you a basic guide to help you become competent and proficient in your new role as septic system owner.
Septic systems are an important part of many rural homes and some not-so-rural homes. If you are a homeowner with a septic system, knowing your septic system’s various parts can help you prevent problems. Knowing the anatomy of your septic system and how it works can also help you identify when something goes wrong.
Main Line to the Tank
The journey from the home to the septic tank takes place in a pipe called the main line. Like a sewer line, the main line is a pipe that carries waste from the house directly into the septic tank. Typically, all wastewater pipes in the home feed into the main line.
Warmer temperatures are finally here, which means that it’s time to fill the swimming pool, pull out the lawn chairs, and enjoy long days relaxing with friends and family. If you have a septic system, chances are that the last thing you are concerned about is avoiding septic backups, clogs, and other disasters. Unfortunately, increased water usage and more guests at the house can equal a septic catastrophe.
Follow these simple tips during the warmer months to protect your septic system.
Contact a Professional
Depending on the size of your tank and the number of people in your household, you should have your septic tank pumped every three to five years. However, if you use more water or produce more waste, your tank will fill more quickly and should be pumped more often. Contact a professional to have your septic system inspected — and, potentially your septic tank pumped — before the summer.
A clogged septic tank can create problems that look a lot like a clogged drain. Knowing how to tell the difference can help you take care of your home. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Do Drains Clog When the Septic Tank Backs Up?
The septic tank is an underground holding tank. All wastewater from the house drains into the septic tank and slowly fills it up. The inlet into the septic tank is typically near the top. Also near the top of the tank is a pipe that leads into the yard, into an area known as the drain field.
When water in the septic tank reaches a certain level, this drain takes the water out of the tank and into the ground around the tank. The soil filters the water and removes the bacteria. When the water from the septic tank reaches the groundwater, it’s relatively clean.
If the pipe leading into the drain field becomes clogged, the septic tank will fill up without draining water. Eventually, the water will back up into the pipe leading to the house.