How to Take Care of a Septic System

Monday, July 6, 2020

Taking appropriate care of a septic system will ensure your home has effective, long-term treatment for wastewater. While it’s an important responsibility, septic system maintenance isn’t that complicated as long as you follow these eight tips.

8 Tips for Septic System Maintenance

Septic systems are designed to function efficiently, but they need the right care to do so. If neglected, septic system problems are bound to arise which can require expensive repairs.

Prevent an emergency from happening by following these basic steps so your septic system performs optimally.

1. Have Proper Installation

A properly installed septic system is key to avoiding major issues in the future. If your septic system was installed by the previous owner, make sure to get an inspection to check that everything should be as it should so you’re not caught off-guard by an issue.

2. Use Water Efficiently

Using too much water isn’t just bad for the environment, but it can also overload your septic system. Be mindful of how much water you use and install energy-efficient appliances like low-flow toilets to reduce water consumption.

3. Avoid Harsh Cleaners

Beneficial bacteria in a septic tank helps solids break down but they can be killed by heavy-duty cleaners. Honey-Wagon recommends avoiding them altogether or using them as little as possible.

4. Dispose Food in Trash

Before washing dishes, throw away leftovers into the trash bin so they don’t clog your garbage disposal and drains. Fibrous or starchy leftovers like celery, potato peels, rice, pasta, etc. are particularly damaging to garbage disposals.

Also, make sure not to pour grease, oil, or fat down the drain or garbage disposal because they’ll harden in your drains after cooling down and form a clog.

5. Never Flush These Things

Everything that goes down drains will go into your septic system which can affect the tank’s performance and cause a problem. Here are some things you should never flush down the toilet when you have a septic system:

  • Any type of wipes (even if they’re "flushable")

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Condoms

  • Dental floss

  • Diapers

  • Cigarette butts

  • Coffee grounds

  • Cat litter

  • Paper towels

  • Medications

  • Household chemicals

6. Protect the Drain Field

The drainfield is a crucial component of a septic system which is why it shouldn’t be driven over, have a structure on top of it, be covered with concrete or asphalt, or allow livestock to roam over it. However, what you should do is plant grass on it to minimize soil erosion and plant trees away from the drainfield to keep roots from growing into your septic system. 

Additionally, plan your landscaping, roof gutters, and foundation drains to divert excess water away from the drainfield because if soggy, it won't be able to absorb and neutralize liquid waste.

7. Regularly Pump the Tank

An average household septic system typically needs pumping every three to four years, however, you may need to pump more or less often depending on your:

  • Household size

  • Total wastewater generated

  • The volume of solids in wastewater

  • Septic tank size

Although not required, a maintenance record is helpful to have. Honey-Wagon makes it easier for customers to keep track of their septic tank pumping with a refrigerator magnet on which our technician will write the month/year of the next recommended pumping.

8. Don’t Ignore Issues

Small issues can snowball into emergencies if you’re not careful. There are a variety of warning signs of a septic system problem like drains backing up, a foul odor coming from pipes, or gurgling sounds.

Instead of ignoring these inconveniences, schedule a septic system inspection so the technician can uncover and fix the problem before it turns into something much bigger (and more expensive).

Find a Trusted Septic Company

One of the best ways to maintain a septic system is to choose the right septic company to service it. Honey-Wagon is a family-owned septic maintenance company that services Miami, Wyandotte, and Johnson counties in Kansas, and Jackson and Cass in Missouri. We’ve been helping homeowners take care of their septic systems since 1986 and are fully licensed, bonded, and insured.

Contact us today at (913) 681-3563 or (816) 525-5100 to request an estimate!
Staff 7/6/2020