How to Prevent Septic Tank Failure

Posted: 8/24/2016

Prevent Septic Tank Back Up

A septic tank is the main part of the wastewater treatment system under your house that breaks down all of the solid and liquid waste coming from your home. Septic tanks are designed to last a long time, usually for periods of up to fifty years. However, there are many different factors that can cause them to fail much earlier than that.

Here are some of the most common septic tank failure causes:

Improper Maintenance

Some people think that just because a septic tank has lasted them a long time without any maintenance, they do not need to do it. This could not be further from the truth. Septic tanks require regular pumping every few years in order to avoid bigger, more costly repairs.

Here are some maintenance tips to help prevent septic tank failure:

• Do not put anything down the drain or toilet that does not belong there. Some of the things you should not put down them include: grease and cooking oils, egg shells, orange peels, coffee grounds, feminine products, paper towels, and baby wipes.
• During heavy rainfall, avoid using more water than absolutely needed. For example, save your shower or your laundry for a later time when the septic tank and your drainage system are not overworked.
• Plant trees a safe distance from your drain field to avoid contact between them and your underground pipes.
• Use gutters and other drainage systems to lead any water runoff away from your drainfield and septic tank to avoid inundating the area with water.
• Every 2-4 years your septic tank needs to be pumped of its solid matter. This is especially true for older houses. If you do not pump it regularly, this could lead to clogs in the drainfield and costly repairs. Call a plumber or septic tank specialist to handle this for you.
• Installing more field lines in your drainfield can give your absorption system a little more breathing room since incoming water will have more places to go.

Pipe Clogs

When pipes from home drains clog, serious backup and overflow in the septic tank can occur. This could potentially lead to the solid matter at the bottom of the septic tank rising out of the tank and clogging the drainfield, which is a significant and costly problem.

Tree Roots

Growing tree roots are extremely strong and can knock pipes and even your septic tank off course, leading to blockage and overflow. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can really do to avoid this one because the growth path of nearby tree roots is unpredictable. You can however, make sure to plant any new trees far away from your septic tank and drainage pipes.

Too Much Water

Septic tanks can fail when they are inundated with too much water, whether that be from weather conditions, too much water usage in the home, or both. Heavy rainfall can make it difficult for water in and around your septic tank to drain at a normal speed, which makes it hard for solids in the septic tank to settle. Whereas you cannot control weather conditions, you can control the water usage habits in your home. Be conscientious of all the appliances and people using water at the same time.

In short, you play a significant role in preventing septic tank failure for your home. Being proactive, frequently monitoring for signs of issues, and staying on top of maintenance are the keys to keeping your septic tank and household running smoothly.  

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