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Maintaining Your Septic System

If you live in a rural area, there is a good chance that you have a septic system instead of a sewer connection. Septic systems can give you years of trouble-free service, but only if you take care of the system with a little maintenance. Below are some basic guidelines to help you along the way.

Keep your system pumped… If you have a family of four people and are using a 1000 gallon septic tank, experts say you should have your tank pumped after 3-4 years of full time use. There are septic systems that can go longer without pumping, but why take the risk? No matter how often you pump your septic system though, remember to not ever attempt to open the septic tank yourself, as the bacteria and gasses are extremely dangerous.

Inside the home tips

  • Never use the toilet as a garbage disposal. You really should never flush things like cat litter, paper towels, or cigarette butts, as these will clog your system a lot faster than normal organic material.
  • Never pour grease down the drain. This is a good thing to remember, even if you do not have a septic system. Grease can clog your drains and can also clog the drainfield. This makes it harder for the soil to absorb liquids.
  • If you have a garbage disposal in the home, remember to use it wisely. Garbage disposals can double the amount of solids being added to the septic tank.

Outside the home tips

  • When considering your landscaping, make sure you are planting trees and shrubs at least 100 feet away from your septic system. Make sure to route all excess water away from the drainfield such as rain gutters and any other landscaping you have put in, a soggy drainfield will not absorb liquid waste.
  • Avoid driving over your drainfield. You should either cover it with concrete or build a structure over it. Never plant grass on the drainfield, as that will increase the soil erosion.
  • Finally, always properly dispose of any hazardous chemicals such as varnish, paint thinners, motor oils, gasoline and other similar chemicals. Do not flush them down the toilet or pour them down the sink. They can not only ruin your septic system, but they can be extremely hazardous to ground water.

Your septic system is an important part of your home. If you maintain it properly, your septic system should run smoothly for years to come.

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