Septic Tank Upkeep Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult - Just Follow These Tips!
When you purchase a home that features an on-property septic tank, the first thing you need to know is that there’s more to it than meets the eye.
This means that not only will you need to do things like have inspections and occasionally have it drained to remove sludge build up, you’ll also need to periodically replace parts, too.
Luckily for homeowners, they aren’t alone in needing to find the right solutions - and should not feel overwhelmed!
You may be wondering if septic tanks and systems are a pain to maintain, and while the answer to this isn’t straightforward, it isn’t as difficult to keep up with as you might think.
How to Maintain a Septic System Properly
There are three things that you should know when it comes to your home’s septic system maintenance needs:
- It should only be inspected by licensed and trained professionals. These individuals will be able to assess the overall condition of your system and make recommendations for parts, services, and future needs.
- The products and additives that you purchase should only come from reputable sources. While saving money might seem like a good idea, is it really worth saving $50 on that septic tank lid now if it means needing to replace it again in the near future?
- Even though repairs and services might seem expensive, putting them off can lead to additional costs, which no homeowner wants to pay. If there is a problem with the septic tank, taking care of it as soon as possible is recommended, even though it might be an unexpected cost.
To Maintain a Septic System Properly, You Need to Know What You Have
There are two different types of septic systems: an anaerobic treatment unit and an aerobic - or aerator - septic system. Even though the function of both systems is the same, they work just a little differently. In turn, this means that they need to be serviced and maintained in slightly different ways, too.
An aerobic septic system features a septic tank motor, which introduces air into the system to aid in the breakdown of present bacteria. This motor functions often, agitating the water and encouraging the solids in it to move around, exposing them to the air. This helps in a variety of ways, including:
- More air in the system means that the septic tank’s bacteria will be able to thrive and survive, which is good for the process of breaking down the contents.
- The constant movement of water and solids in the tank means that less will settle at the bottom, resulting in a slower build up of sludge
- More bacteria and more movement means that more water can be processed faster and returned to the environment as clean groundwater.
- There are multiple “tanks” or sections in this type of system, each of them doing something different. Tank one is where the wastewater enters, and where much of the solid settling occurs. Tank two is where the oxygen is introduced, aiding in the breakdown of the remaining solids before water is pushed into tank three, where it is treated before being released into the drain field.
An anaerobic septic system is a “traditional” septic system, and does not rely on oxygenated water to process and break down the contents of the tank. Instead of a motor, this type of tank is typically only one chamber. It works simply, the process explained below.
- First, the water and solids enter the tank, and the heavier solids settle at the bottom, letting the liquid rise to the top of the tank in a “scum” layer.
- The bacteria is more prevalent at the top of the tank, where it works to break down the smallest solids in this layer of water. Though there is bacteria breaking down the sludge layer too, it is not as efficient as in an aerobic system, which leads to more buildup, faster.
- Once the anaerobic bacteria do what they are supposed to, the water flows out of the tank and into the drain field, where it returns to the soil, and the sunlight, heat and ground finish the job.
So That’s How They Work, But How Do You Maintain the Systems?
As mentioned before, the best way to maintain your system is by understanding how it functions and what it needs. This is made difficult, however, because in most cases, the entire system is underground, and cannot be easily viewed.
Sure, there are some parts of a septic system that are visible in some cases, like septic tank lids and covers, or even the pumps, but this isn’t where the problems always occur. Yes, as time passes, you’ll need to replace these items, but for most septic systems, common septic tank services need to be performed on the parts of the systems that you cannot see.
In order to ensure that this is done properly, only trust reputable septic service providers to perform the repairs and maintenance, as well as to make recommendations about what you may need.
Common types of septic tank services include:
- Initial septic tank installations
- Septic tank inspections (either as part of routine, scheduled maintenance or when looking to buy a new home)
- Septic tank draining, cleaning or treatment
- Septic tank parts replacement or repair
As a part of your home, the septic system is responsible for a very important task: keeping wastewater flowing from the home in an efficient and safe manner. The average homeowner won’t be able to take care of it in the same way that they can other home systems like pipes or wiring, even when they know as much as possible about it.
It’s a good idea to be educated on the way that the septic system works, as well as why different parts like septic aerators, septic tank lids, septic pumps and even the how bacterial colonies that septic tank treatments can introduce work, but it’s an even better idea to leave the upkeep to professionals.
While it is possible to feel confident adding a septic tank treatment to your system without the supervision of a septic services professional, maintaining a septic system properly involves many different steps, and the advice of those with experience.
To learn more about septic tank treatments like Fresh Lemon Blue, visit our septic tank treatment page and take the first step toward better home septic tank maintenance.