Upgrading Your Pipes

How To Be An Awesome Caretaker To Your Septic Tank

You take care of your pets, and you care for your family members — but do you take care of your septic tank? It is not a living thing, but it is a vital component of your home. Without a functioning septic tank, you can't flush the toilet, wash dishes, or even take a nice shower. So this is very much a matter of taking good care of the tank so it continues to take good care of you. What does being a good caretaker for your septic tank entail? Here's a look.

Watch What You Flush

Anything you flush down your toilet or pour down your drain ends up in the septic tank. When all goes well, the waste in the tank slowly breaks down and gets rinsed into the leach field, which is the soil surrounding the tank. This means you should not flush anything down your toilet that won't break down. Basically, anything aside from pee, poop, and toilet paper does not belong in the toilet. Don't flush feminine hygiene products, even if the package says "flushable." Wet wipes — both those for adults and those for babies — have no business going down the toilet, either.

Monitor what you put down the drains, too. Grease should never be poured down the drain, and you don't want to wash a lot of food waste down there, either. Avoid using a garbage disposal if you have a septic tank. Most plumbers won't even install one in a home with a septic tank, but your home may have one if a well-meaning homeowner did a DIY install in the past. Uninstalling the disposal, or simply not using it, will keep your septic tank healthier.

Use Kinder Cleaning Solutions

Did you know that you actually want your septic tank to be filled with bacteria? Yes, they make the tank smelly, but you shouldn't ever notice the smell since the tank is belowground. More importantly, they help break down solid waste so that it is not dangerous once it flows into the leach field. The challenge is not killing these bacteria before they have a chance to do their job. 

Bleach and ammonia are pretty hard on septic bacteria if you use them in large quantities. So try to replace these harsh cleaning solutions with milder options, like vinegar and baking soda, whenever possible. Castile soap is another good product that cleans well but is easy on your tank. 

Have the Tank Pumped

Some homeowners like to wait until their septic tank starts backing up to have it pumped. But this can be a dangerous approach since it results in raw sewage flowing through your home and yard. It is better to be proactive and have the tank pumped before it gets that full. For most homeowners, that means having the tank pumped every two to five years. The more people live in your home, the more often you should pump the tank.

When you have the septic tank pumped, a residential septic system cleaning company will remove the solids from the bottom of the tank and the greasy sludge from the top of the tank. This will leave more space for liquid waste, so your tank does not overflow when you flush the toilet or take a shower. It should only take a pumping company a couple of hours, at most, to pump your system.

If you follow the advice above, you will be an excellent caretaker for your septic tank. And better yet, it will keep taking good care of you and everyone else who lives in your home and uses the plumbing.