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How to Keep Your Septic System Healthy


When a homeowner moves from the big city to a nice, quiet country home, it can be a big difference. One of the main differences is the fact that most homeowners will have a septic system for the first time.

One of the biggest mistakes that a homeowner can make is assuming that a septic system will work just like plumbing in the city does. It is not as simple as flushing the toilet, running water, and then calling a plumber if the pipes get backed up. Instead, there is a whole new component that is added to the system: the septic tank.

There are quite a few things that first time homeowners need to do to make sure they do to maintain their septic system, and to prevent future problems.

Learn About Septic Systems Before You Move In

The first mistake that homeowners make when they move into a home with a septic system is not taking the time to learn about them and how they work. For example, most homeowners that have never had to deal with one of these will not think to ask previous owners when the septic was pumped last. If they don’t know that, then they could suddenly wake up one day to discover that it needs to be pumped, or that there is some damage because it should have been pumped months ago.

There are a slew of other problems that homeowners may have to deal with because they simply don’t know enough about it. Instead, homeowners can avoid problems, and paying high repair bills, by taking the time to learn more about their septic system.


Watch What You Plant Near Your Septic Field

New homeowners usually want to transform their house into a home as quickly as possible. This may include planting flowers, trees, and so on, but homeowners need to watch what they plant.

Anything that has deeper roots can cause problems with the septic system, especially trees that grow into larger trees with massive roots. Those roots can cause a significant amount of damage to the pipes or the tank itself as they grow and stretch out.

Instead, homeowners should only plant flowers and grass or other things that have small roots near the pipes or other components.

Get Your Septic System Inspected

Regular inspections are necessary for septic systems. A new homeowner should get the system inspected before moving into the home to make sure that there are not any problems with it.

After that, inspections should be performed by a professional on a yearly basis. This is important for a couple reasons:

  • First, regular inspections can let a homeowner know when a tank needs to be pumped. If the tank needs to be pumped and it doesn’t get pumped, the yard can get both messy and smelly quickly.
  • Second, regular inspections can let homeowners know about potential problems, which can help save money. For example, if a pipe has a small pinhole, an inspection of the pipes will reveal this. Then, a homeowner can have the pipe lined, which is much more cost effective than replacing the entire pipe.

Don’t Use a Lot of Water at Once

Most people develop a routine for everything, including things like laundry. It’s usually more convenient to do it all on the weekend when one doesn’t have to work, cook as much, and so on. This doesn’t turn out so well for septic systems, though.

When a homeowner uses a tremendous amount of water at once, they can overload the septic system. Even if problems are not seen at first, the tremendous amount of wear on the system will make it wear out much faster than it normally would.

Instead, homeowners are advised to use water moderately, and to conserve water whenever possible.

There is a bit of a learning curve involved when it comes to septic systems, especially for homeowners that are not used to having one. When homeowners follow these easy steps, though, they can save themselves thousands of dollars in repairs and enjoy having a septic system that stays in good working condition.

© 2017 Amber Lynn


Louise89 on July 23, 2019:

Thank you for the helpful tips! Appreciate it.

In on February 17, 2018:

First of 2017 called septic tank company out to pump tank, they told me to flush toilet. Came back outside they had the lid back on and the hole filled with dirt. Paid for service didn’t feel good about it how did they pump it that quick. Now in Feb. 2018 had to have tank pumped again. Took lid off completely full, man asked if it had been years since it was pumped told him no, had been pumped the year before. He told me they only pumped water off it. This time my son was home I called him to flush toilet. The tank was completely emptied. I learned a very valuable lesson.

John on November 22, 2017:

Do not flush wipes ! They are a huge problem that raise hell with septic systems ! The wipes don’t break down like white toilet paper does ! Use white toilet paper, not colored... it breaks down ! If your wondering what to do with wipes, put them out with the trash !!! An FYI, when the pumping company is almost finished pumping, some of the not so honest companies will ask you to go in the house and flush the toilets . This is a ploy ,while your gone ,so they can put the cover on the tank, leaving some of the waste in your system, saving them money ! They are charged by the gallon where they dispose of the waste ! You get charged by them for pumping 1200 gallons, when they only pumped 800 ! Do the math ! That is just an example.... your tank could be bigger... but I think you’ve got the big picture ! Not everyone is dishonest, but to keep them that way, let your wife flush, while you check to see an empty tank... before they put the cover back on!