Your septic tank is the final destination for all the wastewater from your sinks, toilets, and showers. This waste goes through pipes to the tank, where solids and oil settle at the bottom, and scum rises to the surface.
Then, the bacteria in the tank break it down so that water can flow out into your yard’s drain field. Keeping up with regular maintenance can help ensure that your septic system functions properly.
Reduces Risk of Damage
A septic system includes a large dual-chambered buried container that houses wastewater while bacteria decompose it. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank as sludge, while grease and lightweight materials float to the top as a scum layer. The liquid between these layers is called effluent, which exits the tank through the drain field to be filtered by the soil before reaching groundwater.
If a home neglects regular septic tank pumping, the sludge in the tank may leak into the house or clog the septic system’s leach field. When this happens, the septic tank and drain field are at risk of failing, exposing the home to sewage contamination.
Similarly, if untreated wastewater infiltrates surface water and reaches lakes and ponds, it can cause toxic algal blooms to wildlife and humans. A properly working septic system helps prevent this by keeping the waste contained within the tank. If you’re considering selling your property, a clean septic system is a great selling point since it shows that the home is well-cared for.
If you don’t get on a pumping schedule, septic tank issues can quickly cost you money. These include backups, slow draining, and terrible odors in your home. They also can damage your septic system and the surrounding soil, which is expensive to repair.
The frequency at which you have to have your septic tank pumped depends on how much water and waste it takes to fill the tank and how frequently people use toilets, sinks, and the dishwasher. You should avoid flushing materials that clog the drains, such as wet wipes (even those marked as “flushable”), cigarette butts, and paper towels.
If you consider selling your house, a clean and functional septic system will add value. Potential buyers will want to know the system is maintained correctly, so you should keep up with your septic pumping schedule. You should also aerate your septic system every three to five years.
Many people mistakenly believe that if their septic system has never clogged, they don’t need to pump it. This is a major and expensive misconception. Over time, solid materials settle to the bottom of the tank and form sludge, while grease and lighter materials float to the top. Eventually, this material will find its way into the home’s plumbing pipes.
Clogged pipes are highly damaging to the plumbing and the property and will cost a fortune to repair. Regular septic tank pumping will prevent the buildup of waste and sludge that will cause clogs and backups.
Another benefit of routine septic pump-outs is that it keeps harmful bacteria from leaching into the soil and contaminating surface water. If this bacteria gets into the public water supply, it can lead to dangerous algal blooms and put thousands of people at risk for illness and even death. In addition to having your septic tank cleaned regularly, you can also help reduce the need for pumping by using the garbage disposal less, spreading laundry loads throughout the week, and not flushing items that aren’t supposed to go down the drain.
Increases Property Value
When a home’s septic system is in disrepair, it can leak raw sewage into the surrounding ground, contaminate the water supply or damage the leaching field. These problems can lower the value of a property and can make it difficult for potential buyers to consider a purchase.
Getting a septic tank pumped before you put the house on the market makes it much more appealing to prospective buyers. It also allows the inspector to examine the tank for signs of damage and other problems that might require repair.
Septic tanks are pretty standard in rural or suburban areas that aren’t served by centralized public sewer systems. Taking the time to have yours inspected and pumped regularly ensures that it continues to function at peak performance for years to come, protecting your health and your family and the environment around you. The saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is especially true for septic systems!