Essential Septic System Maintenance for Homeowners

It’s always a good idea to maintain your septic system. A malfunctioning or broken system would be “most disagreeable.” Therefore, there are a few things to consider when it comes to your septic system’s upkeep.


Pumping is key to the safety and longevity of your septic tank. Not pumping it out regularly means that solid waste could build up inside it, which could lead to overflows, bad smells, or both. Worse, the overflows could contaminate the water table near your home, and that could wind up hurting others. In addition to the effects on people, it could also adversely affect animal life in your area. One of the gases produced by an improperly maintained septic tank is hydrogen sulfide. It’s poisonous. Most of the time, it’s just awful-smelling and revolting, but too much of it can kill a person. Even a small amount, however, can kill small wild animals and birds. It can also kill pets, including yours. You don’t even have to have your septic tank cleaned very often. Generally, once every three years is a good benchmark.

Water Conservation

Too much water flowing into your septic tank can cause problems. Water is a solvent, and although it sometimes takes quite a while to dissolve something, it’ll eventually dissolve nearly anything. If your septic tank takes on too much water, then it could dislodge the solid waste inside it. That solid waste could then clog your septic system pipes, causing all manner of other problems. Practice active water conservation to prevent this from happening. Take 10-minute showers instead of half-hour showers, for example. Low-flow faucets and shower heads are another good example.

Stuff Not to Use or Flush

Collect grease, dryer lint, pet hair, and other such items to bring to a municipal dump. Don’t use a garbage disposal in the sink. As well, never use caustic drain cleaners on your pipes. Those harsh chemicals will go into your septic tank and wind up going out through the liquid vale into your leaching bed where they can contaminate the water table.

Common Myths About Septic Systems

1. You Don’t Need to Have it Pumped Out.

This is just plain hogwash. Even if you follow all of the advice from your septic system manufacturer, you will still need to have your septic tank cleaned every three years.

2. One Site Fits All.

More people living in a house will use more water no matter how much they practice conservation. If you have a spouse and two children, and you then have triplets, for example, then you are going to need a bigger septic tank. Keeping your old one “to save money” will wind up costing you more in the long run, and you’ll wind up damaging the environment.

3. Clogs Aren’t Fixable.

This isn’t true. In addition to having your septic system pumped out once every three years, you should have it serviced regularly. Once every six months to a year will suffice.

4. You Have to Pump Out a Full Tank.

Your septic system will almost always be full of water. In fact, it should be to function correctly. The “once every three years” bit is about the solids in the bottom of the tank. Even when you have the tank cleaned and emptied, it’ll be full of water again in a week.

5. They Last Forever

Even a properly maintained septic tank will need replacement eventually. The best steel tanks generally last about 20-25 years. Fiberglass lasts for 30 years while a concrete system can last 100 years. But, even 100 years isn’t “forever.”