If it seems like your septic tank needs to be pumped out more often than it used to, you may want to look at how your lifestyle has changed. Since everything you send down your drains ends up in your septic tank, if you increase your waste, your tank will need to be cleaned out more often. Here’s a look at a few of the things that affect how quickly your tank fills.
Installation Of A Garbage Disposal
If you put in a new garbage disposal and use it frequently, it could affect how quickly your septic tank fills up. When waste from the disposal flows into your septic tank, it settles to the bottom where bacteria are present to make it decay. The waste eventually turns into a thick sludge that builds up higher and higher in the tank. The only way to get rid of sludge from solid waste is to pump it out. If you pour cooking oil through your disposal too, it will affect your tank in a different way. The oil in your septic tank doesn’t sink to the bottom with the other solids. Instead, it floats on top. The oily layer doesn’t drain out of the tank either. The drain on a septic tank is situated in the middle of the tank so the only thing that drains out is liquid. Solids and oil stay in the tank and accumulate.
Flushing Waste That Doesn’t Dissolve
Another thing you have to monitor is what goes down your toilet. If you’ve started flushing wet wipes, or if someone in your family is flushing cigarette butts, sanitary napkins, or paper towels, then your septic tank will fill up faster since these products do not decompose fast enough. The only thing that should go into your septic tank is toilet paper. You also want to make sure the toilet paper you choose is one that will dissolve quickly in water. You can test this yourself by putting a small wad of toilet paper into a glass of water. If it starts breaking apart and dissolving within several minutes, it is a good brand to use with a septic tank.
Size Of Household
If the size of your family has increased, there will be more people showering and using the toilet. There will also be more dishes being washed and more food particles going down the drain. If your kids are entering the teen years, or if you have additional adults living in your home, pumping your septic tank more often may be your new normal. If you know the size of your septic tank, you can use a chart or ask your contractor to estimate how often it will need pumped based on the number of people living in your home. For example, if you live alone and have a 1000-gallon tank, you might be able to go as long as 12 years between service calls to pump your tank. If you marry and your spouse brings two kids into your home as well, your 1000-gallon tank may need to be pumped every 2-3 years.
There isn’t much you can do about having to pump your tank more often when your family size increases, but you can take steps to keep unnecessary waste out of your system. Practice water conservation, limit the use of the garbage disposal, and don’t throw anything but toilet paper into the toilet. These steps not only keep solid waste to a minimum, but they also prevent clogging. However, sooner or later, you’ll need to have your tank pumped. Even though it may be an expense and inconvenience you would rather avoid, you never want to put off having the work done when it needs it. Otherwise, waste can overflow into your yard or your home and present a health hazard.
For more tips, contact a local septic tank pumping service like The Outhouse.