If you have a septic tank in your back yard, you need to take good care of the system. When properly installed and carefully maintained, a quality septic tank can last for decades. But if you fail to maintain your septic tank the right way, you could be looking at a premature replacement and thousands of dollars in repair costs.
In addition to those costs, you could be responsible for any damage to the environment, especially if you ignored the warning signs of an impending system failure. If you want to avoid this unhappy situation, you need to understand why septic tanks fail. Understanding the most common reasons for failure is the best way to protect yourself – and your wallet.
Watch What You Flush
One of the most common reasons septic tanks fail is that the homeowners who use them flush the wrong things down their toilets. You may assume that the things you flush simply disappear, but they actually go into the septic tank, where beneficial bacteria break down the waste and render the compounds harmless.
That process works flawlessly when normal waste products enter the septic tank, but the process can break down quickly if you flush the wrong things. There are some things that should never be flushed down the toilet, including paper towels, sanitary napkins, tampons and pre-moistened wipes. You should also avoid flushing cat litter, even if the litter claims to be flushable.
Damage to the Drain Fields
The drain field in your yard is an integral part of the septic system, but it is a component that is frequently ignored. It is easy to inadvertently damage the drain fields in your yard, especially if you do not know where they are.
Digging in the wrong place, or even mowing the lawn too aggressively, could damage your drain fields, so use extra caution when working near your septic tank. If you are unsure of the location of your drain fields, ask an experienced septic contractor to examine your system and mark the location. Marking the drain fields with flags or other indicators could save you thousands of dollars in repair bills.
Lack of Maintenance
Last but certainly not least, septic tanks fail due to a lack of maintenance. It is easy to ignore your septic tank, at least until it stops working, but you do so at your peril.
You should have your septic system inspected on a regular basis and drained at the proper intervals. If you cannot remember the last time you had your septic tank inspected and cleaned, it is time to call a contractor today.