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A lot of people are afraid of purchasing homes with septic tanks because they are afraid that the maintenance is too expensive and/or complicated. However, if you understand basic service needs like septic tank pumping then there is no reason to be afraid of a septic tank in Chattanooga, TN. Septic tank systems that are properly installed cause relatively few issues when they are serviced on a regular basis and scheduled septic tank pumping is kept on track. The following is a quick breakdown of how to care for your septic tank so you can ensure it lasts for the lifetime of your home.
Book Regular Servicing and Septic Tank Pumping
The key to keeping your septic tank working properly and avoiding expensive repairs in Chattanooga, TN is proper inspections and septic tank pumping. It is recommended by the EPA that septic tanks be inspected at least once every three years by a trained professional. You will also need to book pumping every three to five years. The frequency of how often you need septic tank pumping will heavily depend on how many people live in your home and the size of your septic tank.
If you have a septic tank that utilizes an electrical float switch, alternative pump, or other mechanical components then it is a better idea to have your septic tank system inspected at least once a year. Regular service is also a great idea of the homeowner who does not know how often septic tank pumping should take place. Regular inspections will offer insight into the home’s septic use. The professional can estimate the change in levels over the year and offer you a better guess as to when they should come back out for pumping.
Outside of this situation, there are four large factors that influence how often you will need to have a professional out to your Chattanooga, TN home for septic tank pumping. They include the size of your home, how much wastewater you generate on a regular basis, the number of solids that go down your drains into the septic tank, and the overall size of your septic tank.
How to Prepare for Septic Tank Pumping or Servicing
If you have already booked a septic tank pumping or service in Chattanooga, TN you may be wondering what to expect. The process is pretty simple and you can stay in your home, but the professional will be outside looking at several things. First of all, he or she will carefully inspect the septic tank for leaks and then look at the existing sludge and slime layers inside of your septic tank.
Every septic tank has a T-shaped outlet that is meant to stop scum and sludge from escaping outside of your septic tank and infiltrating the drain line area. When the inspector looks at your septic tank they will look at the scum layer to see where it is in relation to this outlet. If the bottom of the scum layer is within six inches of the outlet or the sludge is within 12 inches then it is time for septic tank pumping. It is in your best interests to get a pumping down when they recommend it, because if you wait you could have a backup of sewage into your home, sewage draining into your drain lines and stinking up your yard, or possibly a burst septic tank. None of these situations is a great place to find yourself in.
Make it a point to keep detailed maintenance records anytime an inspector comes out to look at your septic tank and anytime you have septic tank pumping done. If you don’t need septic tank pumping at the time of the inspection, write down the scum and sludge levels that the inspector found so you can gauge your usage over time. Also, record any repairs that were done while the septic professional was out at your home and the overall condition of your tank. If the inspector tells you that other repairs are necessary make sure to get a professional out to your home sooner than later to avoid any serious septic issues.
Improve Your Home Water Efficiency
According to the EPA, the average family home uses about 70 gallons of water a day per individual. That is every single day. With that in mind, it is easy to see just how much water is consumed yearly by just your family in Chattanooga, TN. The goal of your family should be to reduce the amount of water you use in your home. Not only will this help your family reduce their carbon footprint, but it will reduce the amount you pay in water bills each month. It will also reduce how frequently you require septic tank pumping since less water usage means less sewage.
Most people do not realize how easy it is to consume and wastewater. In fact, just one leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily or a whopping 6,000 gallons of water monthly. Just think how much 6,000 gallons of water can contribute to your septic tank and force you to pay for pumping on a much more frequent basis.
In short, every single time someone in your household uses water the wastes are sent down the pipes into the septic system. Every hand wash, shower, toilet flush, and major appliance use sends water into the septic tank. If you want to reduce the risk of septic tank failure or the need for septic tank pumping you need to start by reducing your household water consumption. Small steps every day can help you reduce how much water your home consumes.
One great way to do this is by investing in high-efficiency toilets and fixtures. Toilet use accounts for over 25% of all household wastes. This number is likely even higher right now since people are home more due to the pandemic. All of the wastewater that would normally go down the drain at work or school is now entering your septic tank system at home. This is important to keep in mind because a lot of homeowners will find that their septic tank pumping needs will increase over the course of the pandemic. Do not be surprised to find out at your next inspection that it is time for pumping even if you usually can make it another year.
Purchasing a high-efficiency toilet is one great way to help cut the high amount of wastewater down a bit. Older homes tend to have older toilets that use large gallon reservoirs while newer more efficient models use reservoirs that are less than half the size. This means by simply replacing your toilet you are reducing half of the water consumption that comes from the heaviest producer of wastewater. That is a significant savings and a significant help if you are trying to stretch out septic pumping in your home.
You can also consider purchasing a high-efficiency showerhead that helps restrict the amount of water that is used in your shower to help reduce how much water flushes down the drain needlessly. While a lot of people don’t want to give up high-pressure showers since that is the best part of their morning, you would be surprised at how well showerheads can restrict water use without affecting the overall shower experience too notably. A little less water is well worth it when you consider how much you can save on spirit tank pumping.
Finally, you can help reduce the amount of wastewater you produce and how often you need septic tank pumping by changing your washing machine use. A lot of homeowners just toss clothes in their washing machine and run it on the same cycle they use without much thought. Selecting the proper size loads for each wash or purchasing a washing machine that automatically senses the load size is a great way to reduce your home water use and water wastes. If you have a washing machine that does not allow you to adjust the load size then make it a point to only run a load when it is full so that you aren’t wasting water needlessly.
In addition, you may want to think about adjusting your wash habits as well. Think about spreading out how often you wash your clothes to help reduce overall stress on your septic system. A lot of people do the laundry one day a week in an effort to save time and consolidate tasks, but in reality, the influx of wastewater on one day constantly can harm your septic system. High amounts of water flow do not allow your septic tank enough time to effectively treat the waste that is coming in which can result in your drain field flooding. You can avoid this repair bill by simply spreading out your laundry. Plus, as a nice bonus, you won’t have to deal with folding massive piles of clothes in one day which you will thank yourself for.
Dispose of Wastes Outside of Your Drains
Remember the factors that influence how often you will need septic tank pumping in Chattanooga, TN? One of those factors was how much solid waste ends up in your septic tank. Solid wastes take up much more space than liquid wastewater and will fill up your septic tank quickly. Therefore, your household goal should be to reduce how much solid wastes go down your drains. Every time you flush something down the toilet, grind it up in your kitchen disposal or pour liquid that contains solids down the shower, sink, or bath drains it runs straight into your septic system. Therefore, you need to be very cautious about what goes down your drains.
Remember that your drains are not trash cans. Trash is meant to be disposed of outside of your home, not in your drains. Regardless of how much easier it is to flush things down the drain or toilet refrain from this to help keep your septic tank clean and functioning properly. This means that you should never flush any cooking grease, flushable wipes, female products, dental floss, cat litter, cigarette butts, diapers, or food items down your drains.
Out of all of those items, flushable wipes are known to almost all septic professionals as extremely big problems. We have been called out to many many homes of people who did not realize that you cannot flush flushable wipes down the toilet. Simply put, flushable wipes do not disintegrate the way they should which leads to them collecting on the sides of the septic tank causing large issues that range from clogs to septic tank failure. Unless you enjoy paying extra for septic tank repair or septic tank pumping on a regular basis you should never place flushable wipes down your toilet. Just don’t do it.
Think Before You Sink
Finally, think before you use your kitchen sink. If it’s not water then just don’t do it no matter how easy or convenient it seems to just flush something down the sink. Cooking oil is a big offender, but there are homes where septic tank repair becomes an issue because of homeowners washing out paints or solvents in the basement washroom. Additionally, use your garbage disposal smartly because everything that goes down it will eventually enter your septic tank.
Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air of Chattanooga, TN offers septic tank pumping, repair, and inspection services to homeowners with a septic tank in the area. Whether you need to book your yearly inspection or think that it is time for your pumping, give us a call and we can schedule a time to come out to your home.