Have you moved to a new home in a rural area and have a septic system? If so, and if you don't know much about it, here are the answers to three questions that you might have about septic systems.
1. Why Do I Need a Septic System?
If your household is like most American households, it uses running water. This water is used for drinking, bathing, washing dishes, doing laundry, watering the lawn, and anything else you need water for. When you use water for these tasks, it creates wastewater. This wastewater needs somewhere to go, which is where your septic system comes in.
The wastewater travels through underground pipes that are connected to your home and gets deposited into an airtight, underground storage container called a septic tank. From there, the wastewater goes into the drainfield, and then finally into the soil absorption field. When the wastewater reaches this part of the septic system, harmful bacteria gets removed from the water. The treated water then gets released back into the environment.
2. How Do I Maintain My Septic System?
If you take good care of your septic system, it requires very little maintenance. One of the most important things when maintaining your septic system is to know what not to put down your drains or flush down your toilet. In other words, you should never use your drains or your toilet as a garbage can. Doing so will clog your pipes, and eventually wastewater will back up into your drains.
Avoid pouring fatty foods, and also expanding foods, such as pasta and rice, down your drains. Items you should refrain from flushing down the toilet include:
- Disposable wipes
- Feminine products
Another part of maintenance is doing a septic pump out on a regular basis. The frequency with which this needs to be done largely depends on the size of your household and also the size of your septic tank. If you have a 1,000-gallon septic tank and a family of four, the septic system should get pumped out about every 3 to 5 years.
3. What Are Some Signs My Septic System Isn't Working?
If your drains are frequently slow to empty, you may have a problem with your septic system. Other signs of a malfunctioning septic system include:
- The drainage field contains a lot of moisture
- You smell sewage on your property
- You have puddles of standing water on your property
If you notice any of these signs, you should get your septic system inspected.