Five Simple Tips to Extend the Life of a Septic System
On this blog, we’ve talked a lot about the need to maintain, clean, pump, and eventually properly replace your septic tank and system. While we recommend calling our offices with any questions or concerns with your septic system, it’s also obviously wise to have some best practices in your back pocket, in order to easily and efficiently extend the life and health of both your septic tank and overall septic system.
Ways to Extend the Life of Your Septic Tank
You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what happens to the waste that goes down your drain – in fact, you probably don’t think about it at all. Yet day and night, rain or shine, weekday through weekend, your septic system continues to do its job.
If you’re like most homeowners, you rely on your septic system for many of your daily and weekly routines – showers, laundry, running the garbage disposal – the list goes on. The sheer volume of material a septic system processes from continuous use will eventually take its toll. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that with proper care and maintenance, your septic system should have a longer lifespan. Steel septic tanks last between 15-20 years, plastic tanks last up to 30-50 years, and concrete tanks should last up to 100 years.
So, what can you do to make sure you get the most septic tank life out of your home’s septic system? Here are five things to keep in mind as you maintain your septic system. These five best practices are easy to do but will pay off in terms of the efficiency, lifespan, and overall health of your septic system.
1. Avoid Draining Water into Your Drainfield
This might seem obvious, but the more liquid that flows into your drain field, the more strain you put on your leech system and your drain field health in general. Combat this easily by creating alternative routes for runoff, rain management, and home or animal water management. Only have water from the home or business septic system in your drain field, if at all possible!
2. Conduct Annual Septic Tank Inspections
Have a professional come out at least once a year and inspect your septic system. This might include a tank or drain test, or it might be as simple as a visual inspection of key septic pieces. There are several reasons to do this, but the most important one is that a bad septic system, if not discovered in time, is very expensive to repair or replace.
By making it a routine to have your septic system inspected on an annual basis, you’ll save yourself money, and you may also save yourself from the unfortunate predicament of a failing septic system (foul odors and a soggy lawn, anyone?).
An inspection of your septic tanks will tell you the condition of the baffles and tees, if there are any cracks in the pipes or the walls of the tank, if your plumbing is all working correctly, and when you should have the tank pumped.
Regardless, a professional can ease your mind about the health of your septic system and catch small problems before they become big hassles.
3. Conserve Water in Your Home
This is similar to #1 but slightly different. It’s important to conserve water in all circumstances, but especially on a septic system when excess water can overload the drain field or tank. Try to avoid excessively long showers, and remind children to turn off the sink when not in use (while brushing teeth, for instance). It can also help to give your system “rest times” throughout the day when there is no water running to the system. We suggest not running dishwashers or washing machines overnight for this reason.
4. Follow the Pumping Schedule
We know, we know, we say this all the time. But it’s important – septic tanks need to be pumped out regularly! Check your homeownership records and make sure that your tank has been pumped and cleaned in the last 5 years. If it hasn’t been, you need to call us and schedule this service. Trust us: regular septic pumping is the difference between a healthy, working system and failing plumbing.
5. Watch What You Flush
This is common sense, but harsh chemicals such as bleach can kill the healthy bacteria hard at work in your septic tank, so be sure to use septic-safe cleaners on your toilets and drains. Also, things like feminine products, trash, nonbiodegradable wipes, and other detritus can cause serious and unpleasant backups in your septic system. When it doubt, don’t flush it – throw it in the trash!
As always, if you have any questions about your septic system or septic tank health, be sure to call us. At Shankster Bros., we’re proud of our products and services, and we’d love to help you!
Why It’s Important to Take Care of Your Septic Tank
You may already know that having your septic pump system annually inspected isn’t just important for its life and function – it’s also important for the health of your family, your property, and the community you live in.
If your system fails, it can cause a host of problems. Household wastewater from a failed septic system can seep into the surrounding environment and, if untreated, could contaminate other wells, groundwater, and drinking water sources. This can pose a serious threat to the public and to the environment, as contact with untreated human waste is dangerous to human health, and drainage from a failed septic tank can pollute local rivers, lakes, and shorelines.
Shankster Bros. Can Help
Don’t let your septic system reach the point of no return! Contact us today and make an appointment. We want to help you keep your home, your family, and your community clean and safe by doing what we do best – ensuring your septic system is working the way it should be.
Best yet, you can request to be added to our schedule, on any frequency that you choose, and we will keep track of when it’s time to have your tank pumped. We’ll also send you a reminder in advance. This will prevent you from forgetting about your septic system when everything is working properly and flushing well – and our team will help to keep it that way!