Septic tank maintenance tips include having the system pumped every two to five years, maintaining the drainfield, limiting water use, and keeping chemicals and solid waste items out of the system. Drainfield maintenance includes diverting rainwater so it doesn't get too soggy, as this interferes with the absorption and neutralization of liquid wastes. Keeping trees away from the septic system and planting grass or shallow-root plants over the area prevents damage to the septic system.
Regular pumping is necessary to keep the septic system functioning. The length of time between pumping depends on the amount of water use in the home. More people living in the home typically means increased water usage and the need to pump the system more often.
Conserving water in the home helps the system function properly. Repairing leaks, using low-flow faucets and spreading out laundry and dish washing throughout the week help reduce the water flowing into the system. Using a garbage disposal can cause problems, as it builds up the solid waste in the septic system. Limiting its use and avoiding greasy items in the garbage disposal can help maintain the system.
Household chemicals and septic tank additives can harm the balance of the septic system. Flushing anything other than toilet paper down the toilets can also clog up the system and cause maintenance issues.
Protecting the integrity of the system by keeping the drainfield free of structures helps maintain the system. This means not driving or parking vehicles on the drainfield or building a structure such as an asphalt slab or shed.