How Often Should You Clean Your Septic Tank? (Answered)

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You should regularly care for and maintain your septic tank to ensure it runs efficiently. Septic tanks are built to dispose of human waste, kitchen waste, and other little toiletries like tissues.

Many people dispose of materials like food, pad, and tampons down their drains and toilet, so how often should you clean your septic tank?

You should clean and empty your septic tank between three to five years to ensure it is in excellent condition. Leaving your septic tanks longer can result in leaks from your pipes and an overfilled septic tank.

In this article, we will talk about how often you should always clean your septic tank and other things you need to know about septic tank cleaning.

How Often Should You Clean Your Septic Tank? 

It will help if you clean your septic tank once every three to five years. Although, cleaning your septic tank also depends on the amount of time used.

For instance, a family of three could even go over five years without cleaning their septic tank compared to a family of six who would need their tank cleaned more frequently.

Not cleaning the septic tank is a common mistake. You would want to ensure that it is wholly cleaned without leaving particles. Therefore, it is advisable that when the time comes to clean your tank, you should have a professional do it for you. 

Although, local health departments have set up charts to help you detect the correct frequency and time of cleaning your septic tank.

See Also: What To Do After Septic Tank Is Pumped

Why You Need to Clean Your Septic Tank Periodically 

1. Overloading 

it would help if you cleaned septic tanks regularly to prevent overloading them. The primary use of the tank is to hold waste and sewages, so if the tank gets overfilled, clean it, or the waste and sewage could end up flowing back from where it came from into your yards or stress side.

2. Prevention Of Unpleasant Smell

Aside from solid waste being disposed into the tank, menial liquid waste is also disposed of, which may increase the odor of the tank. An unpleasant smell would eventually greet you.

You would often smell it before you realize it is even complete. This odor is likely to carry bacteria that, if inhaled over a long period, could cause infectious diseases. 

3. Prevent Clogged Pipes

Solid materials like tampons and pads disposed of in a tank eventually sink to the bottom of the tank. Over time it decomposes and forms sludge which could fall into the drain field. If this happens, you will be left with a messy tank and clogged pipes.  

Factors That Increase the Pumping Frequency 

Time Of Usage 

If the tank in a building has more people disposing of waste, it will be cleaned more regularly compared to a building with fewer people. Basically, the heavier the tank usage, the more often you would need to clean it. 

Use Of Garbage Disposal 

Aside from liquid substances or sewage use, the garbage disposal will also contribute to frequently cleaning the tank. More than just liquid goes in when you use a garbage disposal.

Solid substance, including food waste, also goes down the tank. When this happens, it could lead to an increase in the number of solids inside the tank.

Household Size

Most times, the size of a tank is determined by the family size. More people in a house leads to more waste which means your septic tank will tend to fill quickly.

If you have guests over regularly, you will also have more wastewater flow into the tank. Therefore, the tank will have to be cleaned more frequently.  

How To Prevent Your Septic Tank from Clogging

There are several methods you can take to reduce the risks of a clogged septic tank, some of these include; 

  1. Avoid putting anything other than natural waste and water into your drains. You can throw your food waste and scraps away into the dustbin. Septic tanks were made to handle only human waste, paper, watery substances, and the like. 
  2. Ensure that you do not unnecessarily use water in your home so the septic tank can adequately drain. For example, if you have old or leaking water fixtures, ensure that you fix them, and meanwhile, try to minimize the amount of water you use in bathing and washing so your tank can drain adequately. 
  3. You should ensure that you do not go over your septic tank with a vehicle to reduce the risks of breakage. Do not drive or plant over the area where you placed your septic tank. Also, ensure that you do not plant plants or trees around that area because this can lead to an easy clog.
  4. You should clean your effluent filter or drainage outlet pipe periodically to reduce the risks of a clog. 

Have a professional inspect your septic tank every three to four years; that is how long it takes for an average septic tank to fill up. 

How To Break Clogs Apart

To be able to do this successfully, there are several methods you would need to follow. It would help if you first lifted the tank’s access lid close to your home to check the pipe inlet.

  • After lifting it, you can now look into the tank, so all you have to do is locate a white or green pipe inside. Look out for any dirt or debris blocking the end of the pipe that may cause the problem. An easy way to know the debris’ location is by checking the water level
  • Suppose your water level is below your inlet pipe. In that case, the clog is between the drain pipe between your septic tank and your home, if it is above the inlet pipe, then the clog might be in the leach field, and you may need to use a shovel to dig the debris out because it is usually profound
  • The scum is a layer that builds at the top of your inlet pipe, and you can be able to push it away with a pole stick. You can keep pushing the scum until it eventually sinks, or you make it out of the pipe to the side. 
  • You should always wear gloves when working on your septic tank to prevent bacteria from getting onto your hands. If, after pushing the scum away or inside, you start seeing the water flow, you have successfully fixed the problem
  • Ensure that you disinfect every tool you use to work with a solution of chlorine bleach and water in a ratio of 1:5. You can now place the lid back on the septic tank and have a suitable bath to get rid of any bacteria that must’ve stuck on your body

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