When it comes to your septic tank, regular maintenance is key.
When was the last time you had your septic tank pumped? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been several years, but if your answer is more 5 years, it’s time to schedule a pumping. Often, your septic tank is out of sight and, therefore, out of mind, but regular maintenance is key to keeping your septic tank operating normally. Here at HEP Services, we believe that the more you know about your septic tank, the better you can take care of it.
When we go out to pump a septic tank or give a repair or replacement estimate, we give our customers these tips for maintaining their septic system:
How Often You Should Pump Your Tank
The EPA recommends pumping your septic tank about every 3 – 5 years, but depending on
the size of your family and how much water you use, you may need to have it pumped more regularly.
To help you gauge how often your tank should be pumped, it’s helpful to know the size of your tank.
Septic tanks are measured in gallons. The typical four-person household needs a 1,000 gallon septic tank. Obviously, the more people you have in your house flushing toilets and taking showers, the bigger your septic tank must be.
If your septic tank is undersized, you will have to pump it out much more often and you could potentially overwhelm your septic system.
The Downside of Using Antibacterial Soap
You probably wash your hands every day with antibacterial soap, but did you know that that same soap is making your septic system less effective?
As the name implies, antibacterial soap is designed to kill bacteria and microbes. While antibacterial soap might kill the bacteria on your hands, it causes problems for your septic system. There are three layers in the tank: scum, wastewater and sludge. The sludge layer is made up of human waste, and inside the tank, those solids break down naturally. But when antibacterial soap is washed down your drains and into the tank, it kills the bacteria that breaks down waste. As a result, the sludge layer in your tank gets bigger and throws off the normal scum-wastewater-sludge ratio.
Antibacterial soap disrupts the natural biological balance of your septic tank, and studies have shown that normal soap is just as effective as antibacterial soap. So the next time you’re at the store to buy soap, avoid anything labeled antibacterial.
The Truth About Septic Tank Additives
You’ve probably seen advertisements for septic tank additives. The companies who make these products claim that they help to break down the organic waste in your tank and “restore” your failing septic system. Unfortunately, if you’re using these kinds of products in your septic tank, you’re literally just flushing money down the toilet.
According to the EPA, there is no conclusive evidence that additives have any significant effect on the natural processes already happening in your septic tank. In fact, some additives actually kill the bacteria that is required for a normally operating septic system, making your septic tank less efficient.
Skipping septic tank additives and pumping your tank every 3 – 5 years is the best practice for keeping your septic system running efficiently.
Warning Signs of a Failing Septic System
When a septic system is working well, you don’t have to think about it. When you flush the toilet or run water down the drain, the system just works. But when something’s not right, you have major problems. Though there are symptoms of septic tank failure, if you’re not familiar with how septic tanks work, you may not recognize them as symptoms of a septic problem.
- Wastewater backing up into your sinks, showers, tubs and / or toilets
- Thick and unusually green grass above your septic tank and drain field
- Swampy or muddy soil above your septic tank or drain field, typically accompanied by a strong odor
At the First Sign of Septic Tank Trouble, Call HEP Services
Don’t wait for your septic system problem to turn into a disaster. Call HEP Services at the first sign of trouble. Often, we can pump the tank or repair what’s broken and avoid having
to replace your septic tank or drain field. However, if you are experiencing serious trouble with your septic system, HEP Services can also remove your old system and install a new one.