Many people think that only homeowners in the country have to deal with septic tanks. But you might be surprised by how many homes in the city use septic tank systems instead of the city sewer system.
Septic tanks, unlike municipal sewer lines, are used just by your household. All the waste water flowing from your bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and washing machine flow into your septic tank. Typically, a septic tank is located somewhere on the property. And if you don’t take care of it properly with professional septic tank pumping, it could cause some big problems in the future.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
When the waste water that goes down your drains, it is split into three sections. Gravity pulls the solid waste to the bottom of the tank. There, bacteria work to break it down into a sludge. The middle portion is made up mainly of water, while the top section is where the fats and oils gather to form a scum.
The water, after the sludge is formed, is pulled by gravity through the sloping pipes and into the drain field. From there it enters the soil.
The sludge will eventually fill the septic tank to a point where the water cannot easily flow through the pipes. That is why septic tank pumping is so important to the life of your septic system.
What Are Some Signs that You Need Immediate Septic Tank Pumping?
- You haven’t had your septic tank pumped in at least 5 years. Even if you haven’t noticed any problems yet, it is only a matter of time before trouble occurs. If it has been a long time since you had septic tank pumping at your Chattanooga, TN home, it is time to call your plumber for assistance before you are standing in a smelly, flooded yard.
- You notice standing water in your yard or soggy areas. If you see puddles on your property and it hasn’t been raining, chances are you have problems with your septic tank. If the sudden swamp isn’t enough, just think where that water has been. Everyone in your Chattanooga, TN neighborhood will soon be able to smell your problem in a short time.
- All of your toilets are running slowly. If one of your toilets is acting up, it is likely a problem within that toilet or its pipes. However, if you notice that all your toilets are running slower than usual, something is affecting the entire septic system. The cause could be a problem with the septic tank.
- You notice foul odors inside your home. A septic tank in need of pumping can send the odors back up through your drain system. This can quickly make your whole house smell bad.
What Maintenance Does a Septic Tank Require?
As a homeowner, your septic tank is your responsibility to maintain and repair. Here are a few things professional plumbers suggest that you do for the life of your septic tank:
Proper Septic Tank System Installation
You can start to avoid future problems with your septic system from the very beginning. If your Chattanooga, TN septic tank is not installed properly, you will likely face recurring trouble.
Avoid Overloading Your Septic Tank
It can be easy to overlook how hard your septic system works for you. It is responsible for collecting what is washed down every drain in your home. Sometimes, you may be stressing your septic tank out unnecessarily.
One thing you can do to help is check your toilets and faucets regularly for leaking. Every now and then, look in the basement if you have one, or crawl under the house to look for any signs of leaking there.
Also, add faucet aerators, low-flow shower heads, or dual-flush toilets to lower that amount of water that flows down your drain. A bonus for installing these low-volume devices is that you will use significantly less water, which means a lower water utility bill.
Responsible Disposal of Garbage
If you have a garbage disposal or are considering getting one, you should know that it doubles the amount of solid waste that enters your septic tank. If you are determined to have one, be sure to choose one that has a strong grinding feature that will make certain that what is left is small and easier on your septic tank. Better yet, do without one and just throw your food scraps in the garbage.
There are many things you should never, ever flush down your toilet. Some items are to be avoided because they can clog up your toilet. Your toilet is simply not able to flush them properly. Among them are:
- Sanitary Napkins
- Cat Litter
- Disposable Diapers
- Paper Towels
- Coffee Filters
Grease and chemicals, like paint thinner, motor oil, or gasoline, cause their own problems in your septic tank. Plus, the chemicals can seep into your groundwater, creating a health risk by contaminating your Chattanooga, TN water supply.
Use Fewer Harsh Chemical Cleaners
Reducing the amount of heavy-duty cleaners you use in your home could really help out your septic system. These contain harsh chemicals that destroy the beneficial bacteria in your septic tank that break the solid waste products down into sludge. Without them, you will need septic tank pumping sooner, and more often.
Protect Your Septic System
As important as your septic system is to your family, show it some respect. Don’t drive over your drain field, plant grass on it, pour concrete or asphalt over it, or plant trees within 100 feet of it.
How Often Should Your Chattanooga, TN Septic Tank Be Pumped?
Every house is different. Different sizes and differing amounts of people living in them means that there is no one exact answer. But as a general rule, a family of four that has a 1,000-gallon septic tank should schedule septic tank pumping every three to five years, to ensure the tank isn’t becoming too full.
For professional septic tank pumping in Chattanooga, TN, Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air offers a complete line of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and septic system repair and installation services.