Septic Tank Tips

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What are the main parts of a septic tank?

Septic Tank Parts

If you're getting ready to have a septic tank installed, but you know little about how it works, find out what the septic tank parts are. When you're dealing with such a major installation, it helps to learn the lingo.

Main Waste Line – This sewer line connects the plumbing of your house to the septic tank.
Septic Tank – This component will often be buried close to your home, a few feet below the surface. The septic tank receives all the sewage and wastewater and assists in purifying it for return into the soil.
Effluent Distribution Pipe – This pipe directs the effluent to the leaching system.
Distribution Boxes – These septic tank parts assist directing the effluent evenly to the leaching system.
Leaching System – This soil drainage system can consist of many types, including perforated pipes in gravel filled trenches, seepage pits, and sand beds.

What do I look for when purchasing a home with a septic tank?

Before You Buy A Home With A Septic Tank

Looking at a home that comes with a septic tank? Before you make that purchase, take a good look at what you're getting. Take a look at our six guidelines to examining a septic tank when buying a home.

1. Ask the owners specific questions about the septic tank. Find out where it's located and what its installation and repair history is.
2. Take a look at the septic tank system. A visual inspection can give you an idea of what you're getting and what shape it's in.
3. Hire a home inspector to do a septic loading and dye test. The septic loading and dye test will help determine if there is a system failure in the septic tank.
4. If you find any problems, have a septic contractor pump the tank for you to inspect for any trouble zones.
5. If you pump the tank and you still have not determined what problems, if any exist, you may want to consider septic system physical inspection.
6. You can also consult outside sources, including neighbors, soil maps, water meter readings, and tank pumper records.

How much capacity do I need for my new septic tank?

Determine What Tank Size You Need For Installation

If you're putting in a new septic tank, you'll need to figure out what tank size you need for installation. You can figure this out by determining the gallons of water you use on a daily basis and then referring to our tank size cheat sheet.

  • If you use up to 500 gallons of water a day, you need a new septic tank with at least 900 gallons of capacity.
  • If you use 500-1000 gallons of water a day, you need a new septic tank with at least 900-1,900 gallons of capacity.
  • If you use 1,000-2,500 gallons of water a day, you need a new septic tank with at least 1,900-3,200 gallons of capacity.
  • If you use 2,500-5,000 gallons of water a day, you need a new septic tank with at least 3,200-5,800 gallons of capacity.

What are some easy ways to maintain my septic tank system?

Four Easy Ways To Maintain Your Septic Tank System

You can help keep your septic tank system working in top condition by following a few easy maintenance tips. Want to find out how? Take a look at our guide to four easy ways to maintain your septic tank system.

1. Every three years, have a professional inspect your septic tank.
2. Pump your septic tank every three to five years or as needed.
3. Make efficient use of the water in your home whether you're washing dishes or doing laundry.
4. Exercise caution with commercial septic tank additives. Check with your health department before you add it to your septic tank. Keep in mind such additives may harm your tank and do not eliminate the need to pump your septic tank system on a regular basis.

How can I avoid septic tank problems?

Five Ways To Avoid Septic Tank Problems

Your septic tank doesn't have to fail or cause you drainage problems. If you follow these five steps, you'll be on your way avoiding septic tank problems.

1. Keep heavy weights like vehicles and livestock off of your septic tank.
2. Keep hazardous wastes out of your sinks and toilets.
3. Keep household items like dental floss, sanitary napkins, and cat litter out of your septic system.
4. Avoid septic tank problems by planting only grass over and near your system. Tree roots and shrubbery can infiltrate and damage your septic system.
5. Don't allow gutters to drain in or around your septic tank.

How do I avoid having to contact my plumber if I have a septic tank system?

Avoid Calling Your Orlando Plumber – Septic System No No's

If you don't want to have to call your Orlando plumber, keep your septic system running smoothly. Be careful about what goes into your septic tank. This is our list of septic system “No No's”, so your Orlando plumber doesn't have to come unclog your drains:

  • Sewage odors and foul smelling wet areas on your property could indicate trouble with your septic tank system. Call in the plumber to investigate whether it may be a broken pipe that needs repair or another problem.
  • Don't flush anything but toilet paper down your toilet to keep your septic system running smoothly.
  • Don't put high levels of chemicals down your septic tank system, such as the amount used for processing photos in a photo lab. Normal household use of chemicals is fine.
  • Don't put high levels of antibiotics into your septic tank system. A high level would be the equivalent of the output of a nursing home with 50 residents. Normal household use of antibiotics is not harmful to your septic tank system.

What can I check to figure out the problem with my septic tank?

Five Things To Check If You Have Septic Tank Problems

If your septic tank appears to have drainage difficulties, backflow problems, or is otherwise acting up, you can do a check to see if you can determine the problem. Here is our list of five things to check for septic tank problems.

1. Check the various fixtures in your house. Is only one fixture or drain clogged or is there more than one with problems?
2. Check the drain vent system. The building vent system might be blocked or not be installed properly.
3. Use a snake at the site of the building drain between your home and the septic tank to determine if a collapsed line, roots, or other obstruction is the problem with your septic tank.
4. Septic tank problems sometimes occur at the distribution box. Check the box and see if its levels are abnormally high. If so, you could be dealing with a failed or blocked absorption system.
5. Check the absorption field. If it appears wet or smells foul, your problem may be here.

When should I call in my local Bay Area Peninsula plumber?

When To Call In Your Bay Area Peninsula Plumber

If you have a septic tank system for your sewage, you may occasionally need to call your local Bay Area Peninsula plumber to fix a problem. To figure out whether you need to call in a professional Bay Area Peninsula plumber, take a look at our list of warning signs.

  • Slow drains or clogged drains throughout your home or building may indicate trouble with your septic tank system. Contact your local professional to determine the cause.
  • Gurgling drain noises in your plumbing can indicate another problem. If you continue to hear this noise, it may the first sign of a problem with your septic tank system.
  • In homes and buildings with two or more stories, when a septic tank system goes awry, the upper floor or floors may appear to drain normally, while the bottom floor exhibits a drainage problem.

Why might my septic system be undergoing a failure?

Five Reasons Why Your Septic System Might Be Failing

If your septic system is backing up or the leaching field isn't soaking up the effluent, there could be a number of causes for a system failure. To help you troubleshoot, read our list of five reasons why your septic system might be failing.

1. The original installation failed to account for poor soil conditions.
2. The soil is clogged because sludge is escaping into the leach field.
3. You have a high water table due to an unusually wet and rainy season. Sewage then gets forced to the surface by the groundwater.
4. Tree roots or bushes near your septic system are causing damaged pipes.
5. Heavy vehicles and objects passing over your septic system have caused damaged pipes and joints.

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