Secrets to Maintaining a Septic Tank

An owner’s manual is included with every car you purchase. It contains instructions on how to maintain your vehicle. Although septic tanks are more expensive than cars, it is not common for them to be given a manual. Many people don’t know they have one. Many septic systems end up failing unnecessarily as a result.

Failure comes at a steep price

Failure can lead to serious consequences. Failing septic systems are the leading cause of waterborne diseases in America today, with more than 1200 Americans dying each year from contaminated drinking water. According to an EPA 2000 report, 31 states ranked septic systems second in groundwater contamination. The cost of replacing a septic system can run from $5,000 to $20,000 and is very costly. There are a few highly effective and ineffective ways to solve this problem. Let’s first look at the reasons why septic systems fail.

It is very easy to maintain a septic tank. The tank is not the problem, but the drain field soil. The soil usually fails when it becomes clogged with solids, and doesn’t allow liquids to flow through it. It can become clogged with solids if it hasn’t been pumped or with lint if it is used in a washing machine. Here are some solutions.

1. Filter your washing machine.

Did you know washing machines are the leading cause of septic system problems? Lint from washing machines is the main cause of septic system failure. It clogs drain fields and causes soil to clog. Did you know that the average family washing machine generates enough lint every year to cover a whole living room’s floor and carpet? Lint screens and nylon traps sold in hardware stores trap only 5% of these particles. Because they are small and light, lint particles don’t settle in the septic tanks. They stay suspended and are flushed to the drain field where they can plug the soil beds’ pores.

The problem is made worse by the fact that a lot of clothing today is made with synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. These synthetic materials are not biodegradable and won’t break down in a toilet. They clog the soil and accumulate. There is no way to get rid of these materials once they have entered the soil.

A reusable, inline filter that attaches to the washing machine discharge hose can prevent lint from entering your septic system. Filter 160 is a filter that retails at $139.95.

2. Avoid Excessive Water Use

It is possible to damage your septic system if you do a lot of laundry in a short time. Standard septic systems allow solid materials to settle in the tank while the effluent is pumped out into the ground. You can put more water in the system than the system is capable of handling. This will cause the system to flood and also stir up solids. Septic pumpers may use water from their hoses, to break down solids in the tank, before pumping them out.

A washing machine can use 60 gallons of water for each wash load. You can put as much as 400, 500, or 600 gallons of water through your washing machine in just a few hours on a busy day. Spread your water consumption. Instead of doing 10-12 loads on Saturday morning, do one or two loads per day. Your system can be damaged by water softeners that allow too much water to go through the septic. These devices can drain hundreds of gallons of water every week. This is water that isn’t contaminated and doesn’t need to be treated.

There are two options to solve this problem. An upgrade to your water softener can be done with a more efficient model that uses less water, regenerates on demand, and is not dependent on whether water is used. A mini septic system can be installed for your water softener.

3. Keep solids from leaving the tank

To prevent solids from building up in your tank, it is important to have your tank pumped regularly. Normal conditions call for the tank to be inspected and pumped at least once every three years. Important: Tanks should be pumped through the manhole cover and not the inspection tube. An effluent filter should be installed by your septic contractor in the tank’s exit baffle. Effluent filters prevent larger solids from reaching the drain field. When your tank is pumped, they are cleaned every few years. They cost about $80. They are cheap insurance, and together with a washing machine filter, they are one of the best ways to protect your system.

4. Use of household cleaning products

These products can cause septic system problems if used excessively. Problems could occur if you use bleach in more than 5 loads per week. Powdered detergents should be avoided as they can cause blockages in your drain field and lines. Be careful with harsh toilet bowl cleaners that can cause serious damage to your system.

5. Do I need a separate system for my washing machine?

Some say that you should have a separate washing machine system, known as a laundry interceptor. This is unnecessary and actually undesirable. Because it works better than letting the washing machine go into its own system, washing machines should be allowed to discharge into the regular system. Septic systems need bacteria colonies to break down biodegradable material. These bacteria need “food”, which can be found in our wastewater but not detergent. These bacteria colonies will die if there is no food. This is what many people have discovered the hard way after installing these systems. One research project on the east coast used high-tech systems to wash machine discharge. Many of these systems failed within eight months.

That’s all, I hope we can help you with your septic tank and if you ever in need of septic tank inspections boerne texas you can call us today! Thanks for reading!

Lone Star Inspections
32882 Interstate 10 West Suite 203, Boerne, TX 78006
210-643-4588

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