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There are a few things that are worth knowing about pumping a septic tank. Septic systems are part of about 25 percent of homes in the United States, and they are particularly common in rural areas that do not have municipal sewer services. A septic system will pump liquid and solid waste from the home out into some sort of drain field and an underground septic tank, as opposed to pumping waste using sewer mains to some sort of central sewage treatment facility.
If you want to know more about septic tank pumping or need help with this issue in Chattanooga, TN, you should feel free to see what a company such as Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air has to offer.
How a Septic System Works
If you have a traditional septic system, all of the wastes and water that are carried within it will go down the drain system of the home. It will go through a single main sewer pipe and eventually end up in the septic tank. The flow of waste water can happen using different mechanisms. It can be simple gravity, or it can happen with the help of an electric pump. The septic tank is going to hold the waste material for a long enough time that the solids are able to settle to the bottom, while the scum layer, including the grease, oil, and liquids, will float to the top. Once the tank gets to its maximum capacity, the liquids that are on top of the scum layer will flow on into a series of pipes and end up in a drain field. The drain field is prepared with aggregate, such as gravel, that will help disperse the liquid waste. The liquids will then slowly filter down and go through the soil. Bacterial action will break down the pathogens, and then the liquid waste will filter down to the ground water supplies. By the time it gets to the groundwater supplies, it will basically be sterile.
While this is happening, the solid materials in the tank will break down. This will happen using anaerobic bacteria. Eventually, the result of this will be a slow heavy material that will collect in the bottom of the septic tank. If the bacterial action works properly, the solid waste will go down in volume quite a bit as they are broken down.
Parts of a Septic Tank
In order to understand septic tank pumping, it is a good idea to understand the anatomy of this type of tank. Usually, a septic tank will be buried in the ground somewhere close to the house. It is a watertight container that is made of fiberglass, concrete, or polyethylene. In the septic tank, there is an inlet pipe where all of the waste from the sewer pipe of the home will enter the tank. There is also an outlet pipe that will let liquids flow on to the drain field. The top of the tank will be buried a little bit under the surface of the soil. You will not be able to see it, except for possibly one or two inspection tubes. There will also be a manhole cover that will be used to pump the sludge from the tank when this needs to happen.
When Septic Tank Pumping Is Necessary
You might wonder when septic tank pumping is actually necessary in your home. According to the EPA, a septic tank should be inspected at least once every two to three years. Mechanical pumping is usually required every three to five years in order to empty the tank. If a system sees a lot of heavy use or is undersized, pumping your septic tank might be necessary on an annual basis instead. If there is a system that has an electrical float switch, mechanical components, or pumps, these will usually need to be inspected more often as well, usually once every year.
Septic tank pumping is the procedure of removing the sludge from the bottom of the tank. This needs to be done on a regular basis because you don’t want the sludge to accumulate to a level where it will block the outlet pipe. This way, you can prevent the situation where the liquids will not be able to flow into the drain field. Of course, depending on the type of system that you have, the frequency at which the septic tank pumping needs to occur is going to vary quite a bit. The following factors will help determine how often you need to have septic tank pumping done:
- The size of your household. Bigger households are generally going to generate more waste material. It will fill up the septic tank more quickly.
- The amount of waste water that is generated. The volume of waste water that flows into the septic tank, obviously, can have a major effect on how quickly the septic tank actually fills up.
- The volume of solid material in the waste water. Households that have multiple toilets or that use garbage disposals very frequently usually tend to fill up septic tanks more quickly.
- Size of the septic tank. Larger tanks can typically hold a larger amount of solid sludge, and because of this, septic tank pumping is not going to be necessary as frequently as it would be with a smaller tank.
There are a few ways that you can estimate how often you need to have septic tank pumping done. You can consider all of the above factors, and you can have a septic tank professional answer your question as to how often you need to have this procedure done in your Chattanooga, TN home.
How Septic Tank Pumping Works
If you have a septic tank pumping professional who does inspections on your septic tank on a regular basis, this individual can tell you when pumping is necessary, in order to remove the sludge from the tank. Generally, this time will be when the floating scum layer between the floating water and the sludge is within a six-inch distance of the outlet pipe that leads to the drain field.
When you want septic tank pumping done, the service is going to arrive with a large tanker truck. The truck will contain vacuum equipment. The technicians who come will put a large hose into your septic tank, using the manhole after removing the cover. The truck’s equipment will suck out the contents of your septic tank, and the technician will usually stir the contents with some sort of a muck rake, in order to break up the solids and mix them in with all of the liquid material. This will make septic tank pumping more efficient. If you want to have the pumping procedure done, this will generally cost between $200 and $500, depending on where you live and the size of your septic tank.
Tips for Maintenance of Your Septic System
While septic tank pumping is very important, you want to make sure that the amount that you need to have the procedure done is at a minimum. Of course, this would be best for you, as it would allow you to spend the lowest possible amount of money on septic tank professionals. There are certain proactive measures that you can take in your home in order to make sure that your septic system is operating as efficiently as possible. This will reduce the frequency with which you are going to have to call a septic tank professional to your home to do the procedure. These tips are as follows:
- Minimize water usage. Of course, it is always good to use as little water as possible, as this will keep your water bill down and be good for the environment. However, it is also good for your septic tank. If you use plumbing toilets and faucets that are high efficiency and that save water, this can significantly reduce the amount of water that is going into your septic system. Of course, this is going to make it so that your septic system is not being used as much, and thus you will not need septic tank pumping as often. It is also a good idea to repair any drips and leaks that you see, in order to reduce overuse of water that can lead to the overly fast filling of your septic tank.
- Minimize solid waste that goes into your septic system. You should monitor the amount of solid waste that enters the system, as this is another good way to keep it working properly for as long as possible. If you flush waste down the toilet or wash it down the drain, it’s an overly large burden on your septic system. Make sure that you do not flush anything other than toilet paper down your toilet. You should also try to avoid using any kind of garbage disposal system that will put organic food waste into your septic system. If you throw things into the trash, it will only take a little effort, but it will make a major difference when it comes to management of your Chattanooga, TN septic system.
- Direct any rainwater away from the drain field. If you have downspouts and landscape grading that funnels water into the drain field of the septic system, this can interfere with the ability of the system to disperse water.
- Do not drain hot tubs into your drain system. If you do this, this can put more stress on your septic system than it can handle. Instead of doing this, try to drain water from swimming pools or hot tubs into the yard, instead of right into the drain field.
- Try not to put any chemicals down the drain. If you pour chemicals down the drain, they can end up interfering with the bacterial action that breaks down all of the solid waste in the system. Avoid flushing these chemicals down the drain. This includes different commercial septic tank additives that are sold as well, which actually generally do a greater amount of harm than good. Unless a trustworthy septic tank pumping professional has prescribed one of these additives, try not to use them.
As you can see, there are many things that you can do to minimize the number of times that you need to have a septic tank pumping procedure done. This is a good idea because it can save you time and money, and it will be better for your septic tank overall in terms of its longevity. If it is not being overused, it is more likely to last longer, and you will not have to replace it or its parts as often as you would have to if you were not being conservative.
Additionally, when you are bringing a Chattanooga, TN septic tank professional into your home, you should do your research on different companies. You should make sure that you are bringing people in who have experience and expertise, so that they do not come in and do even more damage to your system that you will need to pay even more money to repair. Make sure that whoever you bring into your home has good reviews from customers, as these can be very predictive of what you will be able to expect them to do in your home. You should also make sure that whoever you bring into your home conducts themselves professionally. Some people may not think that this is very important, but how these individuals conduct themselves is often reflective of the quality of work that they will be doing in your home.
Of course, now you can see that it is very important that you bring a qualified professional into your home to conduct a septic tank pumping procedure whenever it is necessary. You also see just how important septic tanks and pumping procedures are. This is why it is also important for you to make sure that you take care of your septic tank and try to fill it as slowly as possible, so that you will not need to have pumping done very often.
If you live in Chattanooga, TN and you have any questions about how to take care of your septic tank or want to know more about septic tank pumping, it would be a good idea to contact septic tank professionals, such as the ones at Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air. They will be able to answer any questions that you might have and potentially help you with your septic tank.