Tips to maintain a septic tank include reducing water usage, using caution with the materials flushed into the tank and having the system pumped on a regular basis. Septic systems are onsite sewage disposal, and proper maintenance is essential to preventing premature failure.
Reducing the amount of water that flows through a septic tank helps to reduce the load on the drain field. Each gallon that flushes into the tank pushes another gallon into the drain field. Repairing a dripping faucet saves up to 20 gallons of water per day. Replacing older fixtures with low-flow ones also reduces the load on the septic system.
While the bacteria that live in the septic system are able to degrade human waste and toilet paper, they cannot break down cigarette butts, wipes, latex or feminine sanitary products. Many of the products that manufacturers label as flushable are not safe for use with a septic tank. Users should dispose of them in the trash.
Most septic tanks require pumping every three to five years. Pumping removes the solid materials from the tank before they begin leaking into the drain field. Increasing the number of people living in a home increases the waste flowing into the tank and the frequency with which it needs pumping. If the home uses a garbage disposal, the tank requires more frequent pumping.