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Importance Of Regular Septic System Inspections  

Your septic system plays a critical role in your home, but most people don’t want to think about it. They just want to flush the toilet and move on with their lives. However, if you forget to maintain your tank, you can face all kinds of problems. Luckily, maintenance is pretty easy — you just need to have the system inspected and pumped on a regular basis. Here’s an overview of the essentials.

How Often Should You Inspect Your Septic Tank? 

In most cases, you only need a septic tank inspection about every three years. However, you should schedule annual inspections if you have an alternative system such as an aerobic treatment system or a system with electric float switches, pumps or other mechanical equipment.

Also, consider the usage of your system. If you have a large household or you generate a lot of wastewater for any other reason, you may need more frequent inspections. On the flip side, you may need less frequent inspections if you only use your system occasionally, such as a septic tank at a vacation home.

When you schedule an initial inspection, talk with the service pro. They’ll be able to advise an inspection schedule based on your usage patterns and the size of your tank. Many companies offer service contracts so you can sign up for inspections on a schedule that works for your needs.

What Happens During the Inspection?

During the inspection, the service provider examines the tank for leaks, and they make sure that the scum and sludge layers are below the drain field outlet. Septic tanks are designed to hold layers of sludge and scum at the bottom. Then, they have a T-shaped outlet that allows liquids to go into the drain field.

The inspector will recommend pumping your tank if any of these conditions apply:

  • The bottom of the scum layer is within six inches of the outlet
  • The top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the outlet
  • Sludge and scum make up more than 25% of the liquid depth in the tank

After the appointment, note the levels of scum and sludge. The service provider will be able to help you estimate when you need to pump the system based on current levels and usage patterns. If they recommend any repairs, schedule them as soon as possible after the inspection.

How Often Should You Pump Your Septic Tank? 

Most household septic tanks need to be pumped every three to five years. Generally, your system should be inspected more often than pumped, but in some cases, homeowners schedule both appointments at the same time. To pump your system, the technician attaches a vacuum pump to the lid of your tank, and they pump out the solid waste, scum and sludge.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Septic Tank

To keep your system running efficiently and to reduce the frequency that you need to pump the tank, make sure that you use water efficiently. All of the water that you use in your home goes into your septic system. Keep an eye out for leaks or unnecessary usage, and consider investing in water-efficient toilets, showerheads and appliances.

Also, be gentle on your septic system. Don’t put anything in your toilet besides human waste and toilet paper. Feminine hygiene products, diapers, paper towels and other types of garbage can clog up your system and prevent it from working properly.

Be aware of the risks of putting chemicals, fats or oils into the toilet or down your sink drains, as they can disrupt the living organisms that treat the waste in the system. This includes pharmaceuticals, cooking oils, pesticides, paint and chemical drain openers. To be on the safe side, you may even want to avoid using the garbage disposal when you have a septic system.

Your septic tank does a dirty job, and as long as you treat the equipment well, it will do its job efficiently and cleanly. However, if you put too much stuff down the drain or forget to schedule regular inspections, you could end up with a disgusting mess and potentially even a broken-down septic system. Don’t forget to schedule inspections on a regular basis, and if you’re not sure when your tank was last inspected, call a pro and get back on track.

Author Bio:

Brady Alexander is the founder of S&B Septic and Sewer. He started the company with a goal in mind to provide the best around-the-clock service in North Texas. With over 20 years of experience, he prides himself on efficiency, effectiveness and, most importantly, honesty.


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