Cleaning your septic system is one of the most critical things you can do to maintain your home's wastewater disposal system. While municipal sewer connections typically don't require much maintenance, the same is not true for septic systems. Still, septic tanks are generally bulletproof if you follow a regular cleaning schedule.
Unfortunately, there may be some situations where your septic tank requires cleaning more frequently than your schedule might indicate. The EPA recommends cleaning your tank every three to five years, but the four situations described below can all be good reasons to perform a cleaning sooner than you might expect.
1. Long-Term Guests
Septic installers choose sizes based on numerous factors, including the expected wastewater flow from your home. These calculations usually involve considering the likely number of occupants in the home based on the number of bathrooms or bedrooms. If you're planning on having one or more long-term guests, your home's wastewater needs will be higher than usual during their stay.
While you certainly don't need to upgrade your septic system to accommodate a guest, you may want to consider an early cleaning. Pumping your tank out now will ensure the added load on the system doesn't create any extra problems.
2. Leaching Field Problems
Leaching field problems can be relatively costly and challenging to repair. Still, modern techniques allow plumbers to restore leaching fields that may have previously required replacement. If you have known problems with your leaching field, you want to do all you can to reduce the load on your system until you can repair or replace the field.
More frequent pumping will help ensure that solid waste and grease do not reach your drainfield plumbing, helping to prevent additional problems and slow the rate of drainfield failure.
3. Suspected Leaks
Septic system leaks can be problematic since they may expose your family or local wildlife to raw sewage. Leaks in the septic tank are particularly concerning since waste from the tank is effectively untreated and poses the most significant health hazards. Unfortunately, locating a leak in a filled tank is essentially impossible.
If you have reason to suspect a leak in your tank, a tank cleaning should always be your first step. Emptying the tank allows for a visible inspection, providing the information you need to plan an appropriate course of action.
A septic system can back up due to external problems like flooding. Under these conditions, the drainfield can become saturated, preventing it from adequately draining away waste. In a worst-case scenario, water may back up into the tank or even into your home. Fortunately, flooding does not always cause permanent damage to the system.
Still, it's crucial to pump your tank when flooding results in a sewage backup. Pumping your tank removes any dirt or debris that may have washed into it and ensures that solid waste will not make its way into the vulnerable pipes in your drainfield. To schedule this service, contact a septic pumping service in your area.