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Septic System FAQ

As a homeowner, knowing the ins and outs of every part of your house is important. It can help avoid major issues and give you insight on how to properly maintain the systems put in place to keep your home comfortable and running smoothly. One of the most important moving parts of your home is your septic system.

We know that scouring the internet for answers to all your questions can be time-consuming, so we’ve put together all the FAQs we receive about septic systems into one blog for you to reference when you’re experiencing an issue.

How long do septic systems last?

Septic tanks are designed to last between 15-40 years based on materials, proper use, and regular maintenance. The two most common types are steel and concrete.

  • Steel - With age, a steel tank will rust and affect your soil. This means they have a shorter lifespan unless the damage is quickly and correctly taken care of during inspections.
  • Concrete - An average lifespan of 40 plus years makes a concrete tank a great option.

Whichever type you have at home, increase the lifespan with regular maintenance and proper use.

How often should I pump my septic tank?

The average household tank should be pumped every three to five years to avoid overflow. The frequency of pumping needs can vary depending on your household size, tank size, and total wastewater generated. Call your plumber at John Manning Plumbing and we’ll take care of the mess.

Are septic systems environmentally friendly?

Unlike sewer systems, septic tanks dispose of wastewater in a more natural way. Instead of using harsh chemicals to flush out the contaminants, your septic tank water will take care of itself with natural bacteria right on site.

How can I tell if my septic system is failing?

Some signs of a failed septic system are slow draining toilets and drains, or a wet, soggy, and smelly lawn. If your system is failing, it is important that you call a professional as soon as possible to avoid:

  • Costly repairs caused by lack of care and maintenance
  • Poor home water quality
  • Contaminants from wastewater polluting nearby groundwater and natural bodies of water

Can I check my septic tank myself?

While we recommend you call in the professionals to inspect your tank, it is possible to do it yourself using the stick test. This involves heading to the hardware store and picking up some PVC piping. Do this every 1-3 years to keep an eye on sludge and scum so you can know when it’s time to call in the pros for a pumping.

Why am I having septic issues when it rains?

If you’re experiencing heavy rainfall, that water will likely pool around your drain field, making it impossible for water to flow from your septic tank. This can cause the wastewater to backflow and return to your sinks and toilets. To avoid any rainy day mishaps, make sure your tank is in good condition, and that you have systems in place to divert runoff water away from your drain field.

Is it bad to use my garbage disposal?

Many people have been told that a garbage disposal should not be used when you have a septic tank. This is only the case when you are not using the disposal properly. Keep in mind that your garbage disposal is meant to only take in scraps and small amounts of leftovers. Avoid using it like a second trash can and your septic tank will thank you!

Call the Experts

Did we miss your question? No worries! John Manning Plumbing professionals are ready to answer anything you need to know about your septic tank. Give us a call at (661) 338-6305 or schedule your septic tank inspection online.