6 Essentials of Septic System Maintenance

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Many common problems — like a foul odor coming from the pipes and slow toilet flushing — can be easily avoided by following the essentials of septic system maintenance. When you take care of your septic tank and system, they’ll take care of you. Avoid an expensive emergency repair from ruining your day (or week) by applying our septic system tips below.

Proper Installation is Crucial

Before we get into septic system maintenance, it’s important that the system is properly installed in the first place. Whether you’re moving into a new home with a septic system or have lived there for years, getting a septic system inspection will give you peace of mind that everything is installed as it should be. You never want a surprise!

Essential Septic System Maintenance Tips

A neglected system will cause all sorts of issues and potentially require expensive repairs if the problems worsen. Follow these essential maintenance tips to keep your septic system operating smoothly.

1. Get Your Septic Tank Pumped

Prevent septic tank overload by pumping out your tank every three to four years. You might need to pump the tank more or less often depending on your:
  • Household size
  • Total wastewater generated
  • The volume of solids in wastewater
  • Septic tank size
Honey Wagon recommends keeping a maintenance record so you don’t forget when your septic tank should be pumped. That’s why we give our customers a refrigerator magnet that shows the month/year of their next recommended pumping.

2. Be Careful of What You Flush

Anything that goes down your drains will end up in your septic tank, which can cause a serious problem. Keep your system happy by never flushing any of these items down your toilet:
  • Wipes (even if they’re labeled "flushable")
  • Medications
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Condoms
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Pet waste
  • Paper towels
  • Cigarette butts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Household chemicals
Do you have a pet? Check out our special pet owner tips to avoid septic system problems!

3. Reduce Water Consumption

In addition to regular pumping, make sure to efficiently use water to avoid overloading your septic system. Reduce water consumption by being mindful of your water usage when washing laundry, taking a shower, etc. We also recommend installing energy-efficient appliances like toilets and washing machines.

4. Toss Food Scraps into the Trash

Throw away food leftovers into the trash bin rather than washing them down the drain or garbage disposal. Celery, potato peels, rice, pasta, and other fibrous or starchy food scraps should especially be thrown in the trash. You should also never pour grease, oil, or fat down the drain or garbage disposal because they’ll clog your pipes when they cool down and harden.

5. Protect the Drainfield

Help your drainfield do its thing (i.e. absorbing and neutralizing liquid waste) by protecting it from parked cars, structures, concrete/asphalt, and livestock. Instead, plant grass over the drainfield to minimize soil erosion. Also, avoid planting trees near the drainfield so the roots don’t grow into your septic system.

6. Don’t Use Harsh Cleaners

Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, your septic tank needs beneficial bacterial to help break down solids. That’s why you should avoid using harsh cleaners (or use as little as possible) so they don’t kill the beneficial bacteria.

Taking Care of Your Septic System

In addition to following the essentials of septic system maintenance, make sure to work with a trusted and experienced septic company with positive reviews. Since 1986, Honey-Wagon has provided septic tank pumping, cleaning, and maintenance services in the Kansas City area. We’re a family-owned business that’s fully licensed, bonded, and insured so you can trust that the job will be done right.
Contact us today at (913) 681-3563 or (816) 525-5100 to get a septic service estimate!
Staff 5/4/2021