Basic Septic System Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Updated October 27, 2021
Open Septic Tank In Yard While Bring Pumped Out

You might not think too much about your septic system, but you should. Because if your toilet stops flushing, you'll definitely think about it. Now that you've got septic cleaning on the brain, learn how often you need to clean your septic system and a few tips for keeping everything flushing smoothly.

How Often to Clean Your Septic System?

On average, you should get your septic system every 3 to 5 years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, the frequency of required septic system cleanings depends on several factors, like family size, home business, and septic tank size.

Family Size

If you have 2-4 people within your household, you can typically follow a standard septic pumping schedule. So, you'll want to evaluate your septic system every 3 or so years. However, if you have a large family with 5 or more people, you might want to evaluate your septic system every 1.5 to 2 years. Why? Because a larger family takes more showers, does more laundry, and uses the toilet more. On the flip side, a family that uses less water than average might need to get their system evaluated less frequently. However, family size isn't the only condition to consider.

At Home Business

If you have an in-home business like a daycare or salon where you continually use water during the day, evaluate your septic system every 1.5 years. With an in-home business, you're going to be generating more wastewater. This leads to your septic tank filling up faster.

Septic Tank Size

Not all homes have the same size septic tank. If you have a smaller septic tank, you need to consider getting your tank pumped more. Whether you have a large or small family, these tanks are just going to fill up faster.

Best Time to Get a Septic Pumped

The best time to get a septic system pumped is in the late spring or early summer. You can make it part of your spring cleaning routine. But why in late spring? Well, this is the optimal time because it's when the ground conditions are most conducive to performing. And, it can make things that much easier for your septic pumping technician.

Septic Tank Maintenance Tips

Septic systems are always going to fill and need to be evaluated. However, there are things you can do to keep your septic in tip-top shape. For example, the more water you send down the pipe, the quicker your septic system might fill up. Everything from flushing the toilet to taking a shower gets you a little closer to your next septic pump. However, you can limit the amount of water going down the pipe through a few easy tricks.

Septic System Installation

Go High-Efficiency

Use less water in everything that you do. Consider getting high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, and washing machines. These restrict the amount of water going down the drain.

Use Easy to Dissolve Toilet Paper

Make sure to use a toilet paper that easily dissolves in water. A thicker paper that takes a long time to dissolve is more likely to cause a backup in the system or a clog. This type of toilet paper also takes up more room in the tank because it takes longer to break down.

Limit Use of Garbage Disposal

Limit the use of garbage disposals as much as possible. A garbage disposal can increase the usage space in a septic tank by 50% of the average, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health Environmental Health Section. While the bacteria in the septic system will eventually break down the solids dispelled from the home through the disposal, this too is a lengthy process.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Trash does not go in the toilet! You should not use your toilet to dispose of waste like grease, oil, baby wipes, cigarette butts, and more. These will quickly clog your septic system.

What Happens if a Septic System Is Not Cleaned?

When the septic is not cleaned, the waste has nowhere to go. Think backups into your home and pipes bursting. Why? Because the system is full and breaks down begin to occur. Most homeowners realize there is a problem when something starts to smell foul inside the home or outside of the home, or they notice seepage around the septic tank area.

Many also believe that simply calling in someone to pump the sewage from the tank will fix the problem. In all reality, if the state of your septic system has gotten that poor, odds are it will need more than a simple pump out to repair, such as a new tank.

The Importance of Septic Cleaning

Septic cleaning is a crucial chore to add to your to-do list. While septic systems are less common in suburbs and cities, many outlying areas or small developments rely on these on-site water tanks, or septic systems, to collect wastewater from homes. While septic systems can be efficient and simple to use, cleaning and maintenance is required to prevent possible disaster.

Basic Septic System Cleaning and Maintenance Tips