How To Care for a Septic System: 5 Expert Tips

Plumbing Tips

Posted by Spencer | November 20, 2023 | Reading Time:

Do you need help keeping your septic system in top condition? The team from Rainforest Plumbing & Air can help with maintenance and repairs. Schedule an appointment today.

If you have a private septic system for your home, you must perform some maintenance tasks to keep it in good working condition. As the number one plumbing contractor and provider of main sewer line repairs in Phoenix, AZ, Rainforest Plumbing & Air aims to help with advice on how to care for a septic system. With these tips on how to care for the lines, tank, and leach field, you can prevent expensive problems.

5 Septic System Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Taking care of your septic system doesn’t require much time or specialized knowledge. Simply following a few septic system dos and don’ts and knowing when to call a professional for help will prevent most problems and ensure decades of trouble-free use. 

1. Schedule a Septic System Inspection and Tank Pumping

The EPA recommends that homeowners have a professional inspect the system at least every three years and septic tank pumping every three to five years. The actual tank pumping schedule depends on the size of the tank, the amount of wastewater the household produces, and the amount of solid waste it contains. Using a garbage disposal, for example, increases the amount of solid waste in the tank, meaning you’ll need more frequent tank pumping. 

2. Reduce Water Usage and Waste

Being mindful about how much water your household uses isn’t just for conservation. Reducing water usage also helps keep the septic tank from overfilling. Invest in water-saving appliances, keep downspouts directed away from the leach field to divert rainwater off the roof, and follow water-saving practices like shorter showers. 

Limiting the amount of solid waste entering the system also plays an essential role in septic tank care. Only organic solid waste should ever enter the tank, so avoid rinsing fats and grease down the drain, which can clog pipes and fill the tank faster. Throw away or compost food scraps and oils instead of sending them down the drain.

3. Preserve the Bacterial Balance

One often overlooked tip for how to care for a septic system includes managing the bacteria in the septic tank. Bacteria is a crucial part of the system, as it breaks down the solid waste in the tank. Be sure to use gentle cleaners labeled “septic safe” to ensure any products you use don’t disrupt the bacterial balance in the tank. 

You can also use bacterial additives that break down detergents and other non-organic substances in the tank to keep the balance intact. Ask a plumber or septic maintenance expert for their recommendation for the best additives. 

4. Maintain the Leach Field

Septic system maintenance involves more than just keeping the pipes and tank in good condition. The leach field, the area surrounding the tank, also needs care to ensure that the water from the tank has a place to go and filters properly. Heavy rains can clog the leach field, resulting in wet or soggy areas, sewage smells, and sometimes backed-up or slow drains.

To protect the leach field, never drive or park on it, as the weight of a vehicle can damage pipes, compact the soil, and restrict drainage and oxygen flow. Also, avoid planting trees or shrubs in the area. Tree roots can spread and infiltrate the septic pipes or tank, causing significant damage and dangerous leaks.

5. Remember the Toilet Isn’t a Trash Can

If you want to keep the septic system working as it should, never flush anything but organic waste and toilet paper. This includes never putting feminine hygiene products, cat litter, diapers, cigarettes, dental floss, cotton swabs, or other garbage into the toilet or down the sink drain. These items don’t break down like organic waste and can create blockages and other problems.

Call Rainforest Plumbing & Air for Septic System Troubleshooting

If you have any issues with the plumbing, sewer, or septic system in your Phoenix, Arizona-area home, call Rainforest Plumbing & Air for expert assistance. Our trained experts will be there quickly to troubleshoot the issue and make affordable, reliable repairs. From clearing a clog to sewer relining, there’s no job too big for the crew to handle.

Our licensed experts can also show you how to care for a septic system and keep it in tip-top shape so you never need to worry about an inconvenient breakdown.

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