in

5 Keys to Caring for Your Septic System

The septic system in your home is a part of your property often overlooked. Beneath the soil are a carefully constructed field of pipes and a tank that help break down waste on a consistent basis. The septic tank works by breaking down solids by layers and absorbing into the soil over time. Maintaining the septic system will provide many years of reliability and groundwater protection for you and your family. There are many hidden and surprising aspects of septic maintenance that are simple when done on a regular basis.

Protect your drain field

The septic drain or leach field should be undisturbed if possible to avoid leaks. Trees should be planted far away from this field to avoid intrusion. Heavy feeding trees with large roots such as weeping willows should be avoided entirely near a septic field. The grass covered drain field shouldn’t be covered either. The soil needs to properly absorb from the machinery.

Balance your septic’s gut

The septic tank has a careful balance of bacteria just like our own gut. This helpful bacteria breaks down waste and solid food material quickly. Clean leach water percolates from the system via a leach field in the yard. Too much leftover food or a full system can throw this balance off. The result is the need for more frequent pumps or possible backup.

Septic tank additives such as biological enzymes help break down waste in frequently used or larger homes. There are well over a thousand products on the market and most suppliers can recommend ones available to your area. Be sure to decide if you wish to use biological compounds or a combination of chemicals depending on your tank size.

Use the garbage disposal wisely

You may have caught yourself using the garbage disposal as a catch-all for all those loose pieces of food and grease for easy cleanup. Unfortunately, the septic system is not always forgiving here. Avoid grease and other food items that cannot be easily broken down. Remember the fact that the garbage disposal is not a trash can. Food scraps should be ground up in small batches to ensure it breaks down quickly once it reaches the tank.

Update home appliances

Consider using low flow toilets and shower heads if you use a significant amount of water in the home. Water conservation is more important in a home septic system to avoid frequent pumps and maintenance. Newer water softeners can also use less salt and recharge cycles.

Be aware of water usage

Believe it or not, a system can be overloaded by the amount of water as well. Too much groundwater or an oversized softener tank can overload a system. Large household usage can contribute to a full tank. Pools and hot tubs are notorious for causing problems if drained near your leach field. Backwash water should also go into storm drains or away from the property.

Proper septic maintenance is beneficial for you and those around you. A failing septic field or system can contaminate groundwater and nearby well sources. You can avoid further problems by using these simple tips. Enjoy year round reliable waste disposal while making a commitment to a healthy environment in and around your home.

Written by Dixie Somers

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, women's interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters who are the inspiration for her writing.