The Ultimate Guide to Septic Tank Repair
When you wash dishes, shower, or use your dishwasher, wastewater (including food scraps, coffee grounds, and bacon grease) flows into the septic tank. From there, it moves into a drain field for further treatment and disposal. Avoid sending paint, chemicals, kitty litter, or other debris into the system.
Know the Signs
The waste from toilets, sinks, and showers flows into your septic tank. Solid materials (known as sludge) settle to the bottom, and lighter substances like grease and oils float to the top. Over time, naturally-occurring bacteria break down these materials into wastewater that flows into the drain field. According to excerpts in septic tank repair Fort Worth, a failed septic system can leak sewage into the ground or your home. This sewage may also leach into groundwater, surface water, or marine water. This contaminates these important water sources, making them unfit for drinking, swimming, shellfish harvesting, and agricultural uses.
You can help avoid septic tank problems by only flushing toilet paper and spreading out showers and laundry over several days instead of back-to-back use. You should also pump your septic tank every two to three years and avoid pouring oil, fats, or chemicals down your drains. These can damage your septic tank and clog your pipes.
Schedule Regular Inspections
The septic tank catches the wastewater from your home’s toilets, baths, sinks, and appliances. It holds up to 1,500 gallons of dirty water and waste. The tank goes through a settling process, and the solid matter separates from the wastewater. The bacteria break the solids into sludge at the tank’s bottom. The filtered wastewater exits through perforated pipes into the drain field.
Food scraps, paper towels, and cat litter can clog the septic system. These clogs can cause sewage to overflow into your house and the surrounding area. A professional inspector can check the septic tank, the drain field, and all other parts of your septic system for signs of clogging and leaks. They can also help you keep accurate maintenance records and determine whether your home’s tank is sized correctly.
Know the Repair Process
Septic systems are designed to filter water and sewage. This waste is directed from sinks, tubs, and toilets into the treatment tank, where it is separated. Solid waste settles at the bottom in a sludge layer, while grease and oil rise to the top in a scum layer. Bacteria break down this sludge over time. Watery wastewater or “effluent” exits the tank through perforated pipes into a drain field where it’s absorbed by soil1.
You should have your septic system pumped every 3-5 years. Your septic expert will note the ideal pumping time during a maintenance inspection by noting when the sludge and scum layers are within a certain distance of the baffle or outlet fitting. To avoid expensive repair bills, it’s best never to flush anything that will clog your pipes, including feminine hygiene products, tissues, condoms, coffee grounds, cat litter, and cigarette butts. Also, it’s a good idea not to use chemical drain cleaners as they will harm your septic tank and plumbing.
Know Your Options
Many homes outside urban areas rely on septic tank systems to manage waste. These tanks work as holding chambers where solid matter sinks to form a layer of sludge while fats, oils, and grease rise to the surface, leaving behind liquid effluent that is then released into the drain field, which is broken down by soil. Keeping a close eye on your septic system is crucial to its long-term performance. This includes regularly having your septic tank pumped (about every two to five years) and using appliances that favor water conservation. It’s also important to avoid the use of toxic household cleaners.
It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with your septic tank’s location on your property. A visual inspection can be a great start, but you may need to probe the ground with a metal rod. You’ve found your tank if the probe hits a solid concrete, polyethylene, or fiberglass surface! You can also look for clues in your lawn – a wet, odorous area or lush growth could indicate a tank nearby.