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First-Time Homeowner? Quick, Easy Tips for Septic System Maintenance

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.

Educate Family Members on Proper Usage

The most important factor in maintaining a private septic system involves making sure that all users are thoroughly educated on the materials that are safe to flush or pour down drains and those that are not.

Many of the items in the average American bathroom are not actually manufactured or intended to go into a private or public sewage disposal system.

Homeowners who want to protect their home’s septic system will want to discourage flushing the following commonly used items:

  • Cotton balls, swabs, and makeup applicators
  • Adhesive bandages and gauze
  • Feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, and disposable diapers 
  • Condoms, wax hair removal strips and products, and cigarette butts
  • Paper towels, dental floss, and facial tissues

Even though many of these items are of paper, they cannot break down in a septic tank environment. Instead, they build up inside the tank, taking up valuable space and making the system work less efficiently.

In addition, occupants of the household should also understand that other common materials such as cat litter, medications, and harsh chemicals are also not safe to go into a private septic system. 

Safe septic system usage in the kitchen means not washing grease, oils, and fats down the drain as well. These materials, as well as drain cleaners, bleaches, and other strong cleaners, are capable of killing off the bacterial colonies in the septic tank that work to break down and process solid waste.

Protect Components From Damage

If the purchase agreement was contingent upon a satisfactory septic inspection, as it should have been, the new homeowner should already have a good basic understanding of the septic system condition and its layout.

As part of a proactive maintenance plan, the homeowner will want to make sure that the areas in which the components are have protection from activities that would disrupt or compact the soil. These activities include: 

  • Pasturing large livestock
  • Tilling, plowing, or removing earth for gardening or landscaping
  • Setting posts or other supports into the ground
  • Parking or driving with heavy vehicles or equipment

Homeowners will also want to avoid placing any landscaping trees or plants in this area, especially those with roots that could endanger the septic system.

Be Aware of Early Warning Signs 

Septic systems typically begin to give off noticeable warning signs when a problem exists that impacts the ability to efficiently process waste. Homeowners who make a point of visually inspecting their system frequently, as well as staying alert for these warning signs, can often correct a developing problem before total failure occurs. 

Visually inspecting the system should consist of walking the area where the drainfield is underground and staying alert for sewage odors or seepage. In addition, homeowners can watch for any depressions or moisture in the area in which the septic tank is that might indicate a possible collapse or other damage.

Additional warning signs that homeowners should be alert for include unusual noises when flushing the toilet or draining a sink or bathtub, noticeable sewage odors inside the home, and sewage backing up in the drains. 

Enact a Proactive Care Schedule

A proactive care schedule is one of the best ways in which any homeowner can safeguard the health of their home’s septic system. In addition to their own casual inspections and attention, homeowners should also consider scheduling a professional evaluation on an annual basis or at any point in which they feel their system may be under stress. 

Trained septic system technicians can check for damage, determine whether the septic tank needs pumping, and look for potential issues that may impact performance and lifespan. While most adequately sized, properly installed septic systems will not require frequent pumping, an annual professional evaluation will help ensure that the tank levels are within an optimal range. 

Being a first-time homeowner is one of life’s important learning experiences, and having a dependable source of information can help to shorten the learning curve.

Whenever you have a question or concern about maintaining your septic system, feel free to call on our friendly experts here at Rob’s Septic Tanks, Inc., for the answers you need. We look forward to serving your septic needs and providing you with the help you deserve on your septic system.

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