Have you recently moved from a home with a city sewer hookup to one that has a septic tank? Are you now confused about what you should or should not be doing as maintenance? Although there is not a huge difference between using a city sewage system and a septic tank system, there is still a difference. Once you are aware of these differences and what you need to be doing, caring for your septic system will become second nature to you. Some of the most important things that need to be done include:
Cleaning/pumping: With a septic system, the sewage from your home is directed into a giant tank. In this tank, the sewage solids settle out and fall to the bottom of the tank while the liquid is allowed to flow into the ground so that it can return to nature. For the most part, this is something that happens without human intervention. Eventually, however, a residential septic tank cleaning becomes necessary as the tank becomes full of these solids. If the previous owners didn't tell you or didn't know how long it's been since the last cleaning, it's a good idea to have that done now. Once cleaned out, most tanks can go 3-5 years between cleanings depending on factors like usage rate and tank size.
Tank additives: Septic tanks are able to do their thing due to the presence of beneficial bacteria that live in the tank and process the sewage solids. Unfortunately, things like antibacterial soaps, antibacterial medicines taken by your family, and inhospitable temperatures can decimate the bacterial population and reduce the efficiency of your septic tank. If you want to avoid having to pay for a residential septic tank cleaning more often than necessary, check with your local septic tank company to find out what additives they recommend. These additives consist of a combination of bacteria, yeast, and enzymes that will help process the waste and replenish the bacterial count in your tank.
Be vigilant: Most of the time, it's all too easy to forget that you even have a septic tank. Because the tank resides underground, it's easy to lose track of when the last residential septic tank cleaning was, whether you used the recommended tank additives last month, and whether you should or should not be putting various things down the drain. But if you want your septic tank to continue to function, you need to remember these things and to be aware of the signs that may signal something wrong with the tank or that it needs to be cleaned out. These things include but are not limited to: strong smells coming from the tank even on cool days, odd smells in your bathroom, sluggish drains, drains that gurgle, and more. The sooner you get these things checked out, the less money you're likely to have to spend on remedying the issue.