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4 Good Habits of Homeowners With Septic Tanks

A Septic Tank
Septic tanks are not the same as sewer systems. They're maintained slightly differently, septic tanks are sensitive to certain homeowner habits that don't affect sewers. If you live in a home with a septic tank, changing your habits to meet the needs of your septic tank can help you avoid problems like a septic tank clog. Use these tips to protect your septic system.

1. Pass On the Antibacterial Soap

Homeowners must avoid flushing antibacterial soap down their tank to avoid killing off bacteria. Septic tanks rely on bacteria to help break down solid waste. Without this bacteria, solid waste can build up in the bottom at a rate that is much faster than normal. This may require the septic tank to be pumped more frequently. 

Homeowners who use antibacterial soaps, bleach, and antibacterial cleaning products can sometimes inadvertently kill off the bacteria in their tank. Flushing medicines down into the tank can have the same effect. Flush only water and human waste into the septic tank. 

2. Pump the Tank Regularly

Even with good bacteria in the tank, homeowners with septic systems must pump their tanks regularly to avoid clogs. Every household produces wastewater at a different rate, and septic tanks can vary in size, so some tanks fill up faster than others. If you're not sure how fast your tank needs to be pumped, contact a septic tank professional.

Your septic tank professional will need to know how many people are in your household and how many gallons your septic tank can hold. Your septic tank professional may also ask you some questions about your water usage habits.

With this information, your septic tank professional can tell you how frequently your tank should be pumped. If you're not sure how large your septic tank is or when it was last serviced, have your tank inspected by a professional as soon as possible and every three years thereafter. 

3. Stop, Look, and Listen for Septic Tank Trouble

Homeowners with septic tanks must keep watch for septic tank trouble. Knowing the signs of distress and watching for them can help ensure that the septic tank will get service as soon as it's needed. Signs of septic tank trouble include:
  • Gurgling noises in the drains.
  • Slow drains (especially in the lower drains of the house).
  • Odors on the lawn.
  • Standing water on the lawn over the drain field. 
  • Bright green grass over the drain field.
If you notice any of these signs on your property, this could mean that your septic tank is clogging. Contact a septic tank professional as soon as possible. 

4. Use Water Wisely

Homeowners with septic tanks must use water wisely to prevent their septic tank from filling at a rate that is too fast. When water floods the tank, solid waste that has not yet settled to the bottom can clog the drain field and cause the system to back up. Using water wisely is critical. You can conserve water and prevent a tank from filling quickly in the following ways:
  • Install low flow fixtures in the house.
  • Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only when they're full.
  • Install an ENERGY STAR dishwasher and clothes washer.
  • When running water and waiting for it to heat up, collect the cold water and use it to water your plants. 
  • Fix leaky faucets as soon as possible.
  • Reduce shower time. 
Following these tips can help ensure that the solids have time to separate from the liquid, which can, in turn, improve septic tank performance. 

If you have questions about how you can take care of your septic tank, contact a reputable septic tank service provider in your area. At John Manning Plumbing, Drain & Septic, we're happy to answer questions about your septic tank, so call us today for more information.