Buying a home with a septic system may seem intimidating at first, but as long as you care for your tank and drainfield properly, your system shouldn't be too difficult to maintain. Since tanks are often made from concrete, they can last for many years. However, it's always a good idea to know the age of the septic system and have it inspected before you buy a house with a septic tank.
Here are three important steps for keeping your septic tank in good shape so it lasts a long time without the need for costly repairs.
1. Take Care Of Your Drains
Everything that goes down your toilet and sink drains ends up in the septic tank. That means your tank has to handle human waste, paper, grease, soap scum, and food from the garbage disposal. If you only flush things that dissolve fast, such as toilet paper made for septic tanks, your tank will fill up slower.
2. Get The Tank Cleaned Before It Gets Too Full
Problems can develop if you let your septic tank get too full. The baffles may clog, sewage might back up in your home, and the drainfield could be ruined. If you don't know when tank cleaning is due when you buy your home, have the tank checked by a septic contractor.
They can measure the waste and consider how many people live in your home to determine when the tank will need to be pumped. They can also advise you on how often to pump the tank thereafter. This depends on the size of the tank and the number of people living in your house.
You'll still want to stay observant for signs of a full tank so you can have it pumped before it backs up. Your tank might fill up faster than you planned on if you start using a garbage disposal or have extra people living in your home for a while.
Signs to watch for include a toilet that is slow to drain or that needs to be plunged more often, sewer odors around your property, and wet areas in your yard.
3. Have The Tank Inspected On Schedule
Your state may have requirements for how often you need a septic tank inspection. An inspection is important because it finds leaks that allow sewage to contaminate the soil or water supply. You'll need to have the inspections as often as scheduled since the septic contractor may file forms with the state that let the health department know if you're in compliance.
You can call the health department to find out often your tank needs to be inspected. Your septic tank service contractor should also know. The inspection helps you as well since it can find problems when they are easy to fix, and that could save you money and also help you avoid dealing with sewage leaking in your yard.