If you are a homeowner, you probably know how important it is to take the proper steps to extend the life of your on-site sewage system. Or, you may be a new homeowner and have yet to give much thought to this less-than-fun aspect of being an adult. But, if your home has a septic system, it is important you know a few tricks to keep it working properly; and, here at American Sanitation in Napa, CA, we want to assist you in doing just that—plus save on maintenance costs!
This topic is not a fun one, we know. But, it is an important one. You see, the average home has two bathrooms and three family members. Based on this example of home/family, these occupants will produce over 84,000 gallons of wastewater each year. This breaks down to more than 200 gallons per day. Now, your home septic tank is what we refer to as a “living filter.” Its job is to separate solids and other particles before it flows into a drain-field for a final purification process. This entire process takes between one and two days and even a good system will struggle if not cared for properly.
Understanding your septic tank a bit more
Your home’s septic tank is a very large, underground container which is watertight. Every bit of wastewater from your home flows into it, from the toilet, shower and bath, kitchen, and laundry. Heavy solids settle to the bottom and are eventually reduced to sludge and the lighter solids (like kitchen oils and grease) rise to the top and form a layer of scum. Everything that decomposes flows into the drain field where the final treatment and disposal occurs. But, anything that does not decompose will need to be cleared-out every 3-5 years by a professional septic removal company.
Whew! We made it through the tough part!
Now, here at American Sanitation, our goal is to keep you informed and to protect your bank account from avoidable septic tank issues. Follow these tips from our professionals:
Once a year, have your tank inspected for “healthy” levels. Our trained technicians can handle this for you. You can do some inspections of your own, as well. Every so often, take a walk near and over the drain field areas and check for odors, wet spots, or surfacing sewage. If you notice any one of these things, give our team a call.
2. Be aware of the signs of system failure
Your septic tank will let you know when there is an issue—especially if it is overdue for a periodic pumping. If you notice any of the following, call us here at American Sanitation immediately:
- Surfacing sewage
- Wet spots
- Rich vegetation growth (notably different than other areas) over the drain field areas
- Plumbing backups (toilet, kitchen sink, etc.)
- Gurgling/bubbling sounds in the plumbing system
- Slow drainage
* Note: if solids have, in fact, flowed into the drain field and caused damage, it is likely unfixable; a replacement drain field is necessary.
To help extend the life of your home sewage system and save on fix-it costs…
- Inspect your system once a year (we recommend you hire one of our professionals to test levels). In general, septic tanks will need to be pumped every 3-5 years. But, remember the “average household” statistic? A bigger family will require more frequent septic pumping. In addition, not every tank is created equal, not all underground conditions are the same, not all tanks and systems were made of the same quality, etc.
- Get a yearly inspection.
- Pump the tank when needed. Do not procrastinate, do not wait until there is a problem, do not forget to have your periodic pumping scheduled timely.
- Keep records of your system’s location (a diagram is a good idea) and of its maintenance dates and care. This will help you and/or future owners of the home.
- Be mindful of water conservation. The less wastewater you produce, the less strain there is on your septic system. When you reduce your water usage, you effectively extend the life of your tank and drain field.
Do not put these down your drain and into your system:
- Fats and grease
- Sanitary napkins or tampons
- Paper towels
- Paints or chemicals
- Coffee grounds, nut shells or eggshells
- Motor oils or fuels of any kind
- Cigarette butts/tips
If you found this article helpful, let us know! Here at American Sanitation, we offer affordable, high-quality septic services so you don’t have to worry about it! We would love to be your trusted professionals for your yearly inspections, septic repairs, and periodic pumping. We’ll see you soon.
American Sanitation | 1729 Action Ave. Napa, CA 94559 | (707) 554-8258