Keeping Your Septic System Healthy

Many homes use septic systems.

Whatever goes down the drain or flushes down the toilet is quickly forgotten. It’s out of sight and out of mind. But if you rely on a septic system for your home, it’s important to keep an eye on this system, its process, and how to care for the system.

Nearly 25 percent of Americans have a decentralized or onsite wastewater treatment system on their property, and 95 percent of those are septic systems. If you use well water in your home or notice that your neighbors have septic systems, there’s a good chance your home also uses one.

What is a septic system?

A septic system consists of two main parts: the tank and a drainfield. Water from your home goes down a main pipe and into the septic tank. The buried tank will hold water for a few days and allow solids to sink to the bottom, forming a sludge, while oil and grease float to the top to form scum. The remaining liquid escapes the tank, empties into the drainfield and percolates into the soil.

The septic system removes harmful bacteria and pollutants, yet if it fails, it could cause damage to surrounding water or the environment. Nearly 4 billion gallons of wastewater enters into the ground every day. If that water were to be contaminated, it could penetrate lakes and rivers and cause harm to humans and various ecosystems.

Is it working?

It might be easy to forget about something you don’t directly see every day, but a septic system is always at work. Taking proper care of your septic system will prevent damage to you and your environment and save you from costly repairs later.

Though the average lifetime of a septic system is 20 to 30 years, some can last longer and others can fail within weeks! Signs of a failing septic system include:

  • Deep green grass color over septic area
  • Slow-flushing toilets
  • Water backing up into home

How do I care for my septic system?

Just because a septic system isn’t visible doesn’t mean you don’t need to give it a check-up every once in a while. Your tank should be pumped every three years or so, depending on a variety of factors such as the size of your tank and water usage in your home. The $300 or less you’ll spend every three years to pump the tank is worth it compared to the thousands of dollars you would instead spend on a septic tank replacement.

In addition to frequently pumping your septic tank, it’s important to be aware of what goes down your drain or toilet and avoid any unnatural items, solids or chemicals that could interfere with your septic system. Avoid parking cars in your drainage area and be conscious of your landscaping in the area. For example, large trees could extend roots that interfere with your system.

At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, we’re here 24/7 to help you with your plumbing needs. Our plumbers have extensive experiences in a variety of areas and ensure satisfaction at the highest level. If you suspect an issue with your septic system or want to give your home’s pipework an insection, give our punctual plumbers a call today.

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