, A septic tank simply holds wastewater from your home long enough for it to break down so liquids and solids can be separated. It’s also something most homeowners aren’t likely to think about too often – at least not until there’s an obvious and potentially costly problem. This is why septic tank maintenance should be something you do on a regular basis. Here are some steps that every homeowner with a septic system should take:

The First Step of Septic Tank Maintenance: Find Your Tank

if you don’t know your tank’s exact location, start by locating your tank and making a map for future reference. An easy way to do this is to look for a pipe that you know is a drain pipe in your basement or crawlspace. The larger connecting pipe is usually the sewer pipe. Next, go outside and follow the path from where your sewer pipe exits your home. Most tanks are 10-25 feet away from a home. Use a metal probe to locate the tank’s lid. Your county should also have records about your tank’s location.

Check for Visible Damage

Use a shovel to dig until you unearth the top of your tank. Look at the lid to see if you notice any cracks or other types of damage. Also, check for rust and other signs that suggest you may need to call on a professional to perform a more thorough inspection. Also, look for signs of a leak, such as soaked dirt or grass around the tank. You can also do this by having someone inside your home flush a toilet. Once they do, look for bubbling and other signs of a leak. 

Schedule Regular Septic Service

Another way to handle septic tank maintenance is to schedule regular inspections and septic service. How often you’ll need to arrange for this type of service depends on several factors. Some of these include:

• The size of your tank
• The age and general condition of your tank
• The number of people in your household
• Your tank’s record of maintenance and repair

Septic Tank Maintenance Includes Pumping Your System Every Few Years

In a typical house, septic tank maintenance should include pumping every 2-3 years. If you have a method of measuring sludge and scum levels, you may need to pump your system more frequently if either one of these levels is too high.

Use High-Pressure Water Jetting Techniques and Bacteria Additives

No matter how diligent you are about pumping, debris will eventually accumulate in your tank over time. High-pressure water jetting every five years or so is a fast and efficient way to get rid of these accumulated solids and other debris. Another inexpensive septic tank maintenance option involves adding bacteria additives to your system. This can be especially beneficial if your household waste normally includes detergents and other materials that could kill the natural live bacteria already in your tank.

Have Your Filter Checked and Cleaned

The role of an effluent filter is to keep solids out of your tank’s drain field. When your system is serviced, have the filter is checked and cleaned. If you have an older tank without a filter, ask a technician to install one. Lastly, keep a record of the times when your septic tank is serviced and inspected along with any repairs that are made.

Given the fact that it can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 to replace an existing septic system, it’s easy to see why septic tank maintenance is important. Being diligent about maintenance also makes it easier to spot and correct potential problems before they become major and costly headaches.

HomeAdvocate Property Inspections provides home inspections and septic system inspections to the Greater Charlotte and Lake Norman area. Contact us to schedule our services.