Maintaining Your Septic Tank

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated August 9, 2013)

Have you ever stopped to think about how common septic tanks are? In fact, pretty much any home that doesn't have direct access to the local sewer system (and some that do) pretty much rely on a septic tank. This means that many homes lie near a large (and potentially nasty) sewage pit. To keep this from becoming a major problem you will need to know the tricks of maintaining your septic tank. Luckily, ally you really need to do is keep in mind a few simple guidelines.

  • Keep off the grass. Most, if not all, septic tanks are buried under the grass of your yard. Since septic tanks are nothing but a big, semi-hollow tank, it really is a bad idea to drive a heavy vehicle over that area, as well as the drainage field of the septic tank. Often the additional weight can very easily end up compacting the soil, causing damage to the tank itself.
  • Get an annual pumping. Whether you think it really needs it or not, you should get your tank pumped every year. This will help ensure that there is no buildup or residue that makes the septic tank less efficient.
  • Don't be afraid of an inspection. It really is a good idea to have your septic tank, or at least the areas around your tank and drainage field, inspected whenever you have the tank and system pumped. These professionals are trained to tell what the signs of potential problems are, and how to fix them.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals. Avoid dumping any harsh chemicals (such as gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, etc.) down your drain. These will usually end up in your septic tank, and end up causing a problem to the system. What these chemicals will do is kill off the bacteria that is in the septic tank, which means that the biodegradable material that is stored in it won't degrade like it is supposed to.
  • Avoid non-biodegradable materials. Your septic tank is designed to store biodegradable materials only, and to help promote the degradation of these materials over time. If you put materials that won't degrade (such as plastic, or rubber) you end up taking up some very limited space that won't be used for degradable materials. Over time, these non-degradable materials will create a clog to the system that will in turn lead to some very nasty (and often smelly) problems.

Keep in mind that these guidelines are designed to help prevent any problems from becoming serious. However, if you think that you already have a problem then do not hesitate to get a professional to come out and take a look. If you do put it off, the problem can very quickly escalate out of control, and end up costing you more money than you would like to believe to handle it. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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