A Comprehensive Guide To Septic Tank Maintenance

July 2, 2024

Unless you live in an area that has a municipal sewer system, you most definitely use a septic system. Although buried underground somewhere on your property, it disposes of almost all of your wastewater every single day and is fairly common in rural and suburban areas.

Septic systems are essential for treating waste and preventing backup issues. Proper maintenance ensures that they work effectively, avoiding expensive repairs and environmental damage.

Therefore, it is paramount to be intentional about what materials you flush down the drain, which is paramount for successful septic tank maintenance.

This guide shall offer detailed information on effectively maintaining your septic system.

Septic tank system diagram

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Understand Your Septic System

A typical in-ground sewage system has a tank, and a drain field refers to a septic tank. Wastewater — often called sewage — flows from the house to the septic tank. Separation then takes place. Solids flow to the bottom, where millions of active microorganisms biodegrade the waste; liquids pass to the drain field. The percolating effluent goes into the ground for further breakdown of possibly harmful pathogens and pollutants.

Proper maintenance of both elements is crucial to the performance of your system. First, get familiar with where your septic system is. Knowing where your tank and drain field are will help keep you from accidentally harming your system. Keep a record of maintenance and inspections to monitor the system's health.

Septic tank system diagram

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Care and Maintenance

It isn't that hard to care for and maintain your septic system. It doesn't have to be expensive, either. Regular checks can discover problems in the early stages. Consequently, it prolongs the life of your septic system and avoids pricey repairs.

Here are five crucial components to your septic maintenance:

1. Regular Septic System Inspections with Pumping

Routine inspections are the lifeline to any septic system maintenance. A professional should inspect your system every three years. At inspections, experts will check for leaks, measure the thickness of the scum and sludge layers in the tank, and make sure the drain field is soaking up the wastewater.

Another major element is septic tank pumping. As a rule of thumb, a septic tank is pumped every two to five years. However, some factors vary from one to another, such as usage and the tank size. Hence, pumping removes the accumulated solids that shut down the whole system if not addressed. This task may eventually trigger system failure and costly replacements or repairs if neglected.

Therefore, it's crucial to engage a professional company that understands the importance of having a reliable septic tank system. Using quality parts from SepticTankParts.com will help maintain your system's performance, efficiency, and lifespan. In addition to various products, you will receive expert tips to meet your system needs.

2. Proper waste disposal

What you put into your septic tank system does make a difference in how it works. Flush only human waste and toilet paper. Don't flush diapers, sanitary products, and wipes. These products don't break down and may cause clogs.

Avoid pouring grease, fats, and oils down the drain since they solidify and block the pipes. Therefore, have a grease trap that collects such materials for later disposal. Also, don't use chemical cleaners or harsh detergents because they kill the helpful bacteria in the septic tank.

Plumber man fixing kitchen sink

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3. Water Conservation

Excessive water use is one of the most common causes of septic system failures. Too much water use will overload your septic tank. Conserve water to maintain the balance in the tank and drain field. Fix leaky faucets and toilets that use up or need less water. Install water-saving devices for fixtures and appliances.

Do laundry and dishwashing on different days or space them apart so you don't put more than one load on any particular day. As a result, you prevent shocking the system with more water than it can handle at one time.

Installation of low-flow showerheads and toilets will further reduce the quantity of water that is flowing into the septic system.

Septic tank system diagram

Image Source

4. Conservation of Drain Field

The drain field forms a critical component of your septic system. It distributes liquid waste from the septic tank into the soil, subsequently undergoing natural filtration. Repositioning heavy machinery and paved roadways will help keep any wheeled or heavy fleet of vehicles away from the drain field area. Thus preventing soil compacting and reducing water absorbing capability.

Only grass or shallow-rooted plants should be planted over the drain field area. Deep-rooted plants will puncture into the drain lines and cause blockages. Ensure you maintain sufficient distance between trees and the drain field to prevent root intrusion into the clear zone.

Adequate grading in the lot around the drain field is essential, keeping surface water out of the drain field area due to saturation.

5. Professional Help

While most of the maintenance work can be accomplished by homeowners, others may need professional help. Hiring a licensed septic system service provider will ensure that all inspection and maintenance tasks are carried out properly. Experts have the tools and expertise to detect an issue before it develops into serious trouble.

Pick a provider who has significant knowledge and experience in the care of home septic systems. Check for references and reviews to ensure top-quality service. If scheduled professional maintenance reduces the cost in the long term by not having to pay for a costly repair or failure of the septic system, it can save you money.


Proper maintenance ensures the effectiveness and longevity of a septic system. Maintaining a healthy septic system involves understanding your system, performing regular inspections, and practicing proper waste disposal. Additionally, conserving water, protecting drain fields, and seeking professional help are key elements for a health system. Proper care averts costly repairs and the assurance that the septic system will continue to serve your home for years.


Urban Splatter

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