If your home is here in the Hesperia area, chances are you have a septic system rather than being hooked into a municipal sewer system. This means that you’re relying on your septic tank to hold and contain your waste day after day, for years. If the septic system ever fails, it’s not just messy – it’s a potential disaster. The materials in your septic tank can be extremely toxic.
So, it’s important to do everything you can to keep your septic system in good working order. In a previous article, we went over the basics of how septic systems work and how they’re maintained. In this guide, we want to go a little deeper and talk about some maintenance tricks which will extend the life of your septic tank. Plus, of course, some important warnings on what not to do with your septic system.
As always, if you are experiencing problems with your septic tank, don’t try to fix them yourself. Call in Hesperia septic system service experts instead. However, if you follow these tips, that shouldn’t happen very often.
Eight Great Tips for Maintaining Your Septic System Straight from Roto-Rooter
- Always have the tank cleaned every 3-4 years!
You probably already know this, but just to reiterate: your septic tank does fill up over time, and it must be periodically cleaned. We recommend doing this every 3-4 years. It’s much better to be proactive about tank cleaning, rather than allowing it to fill up.
- Try to limit your water use
Limiting water use is a good idea overall since it reduces your water bills and helps preserve water in general. However, it’s also good for your tank! Every bit of water flowing into the tank puts a little extra strain on it and causes it to fill up just a bit more quickly.
This is an “every little bit helps” situation. Take shorter showers. Don’t leave water running in the sink while doing dishes or brushing your teeth. Consider installing low-flow water fixtures, such as your toilet or the showerhead. Over time, the cost savings will really add up – and you’ll extend the life of your septic tank in the process.
- Install a filter on your clothes washer
A lot of people don’t know this, but waste products and discharge from clothes washing machines are a major cause of septic system failure. In particular, there’s a tendency for lint to make its way out of the washer, through the drainpipe, and into your septic tank. This is extremely bad for the system, easily causing clogs or harming the ecosystem in the tank.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to this. If you go to most home improvement/hardware stores, you can buy a reusable inline filter that attaches to your washer’s discharge hose. This will catch any waste which would otherwise flow into your septic tank.
- Avoid using your garbage disposal
Just about anyone providing septic system service in Hesperia will tell you that sink-mounted garbage disposals and septic tanks really don’t mix. Garbage disposals encourage people to send regular food through their pipes and into the septic tank. The problem is, the bacteria and other micro-organisms are only able to digest our bodily wastes. They can’t handle regular food. Even at best, all the food you send down the disposal will just end up rotting at the bottom of your tank. At worst, the food -or the waste products it produces- can actively harm the ecosystem.
And if the ecosystem within your septic tank becomes too damaged, it can cause the tank to stop working properly and fill up quickly.
Yes, garbage disposals are convenient. You may even have one pre-installed in your kitchen by a previous owner. However, they are genuinely bad for your septic tank. Try to avoid using it, if you have one.
- Be aware of the location of your tank and drain field when landscaping
The biggest enemy of septic systems are usually plants. Trees and bushes, in particular, tend to have invasive root systems that spread out everywhere under a lawn – and that includes intruding into your system. They can easily break pipes, cause clogs or, in worst-case scenarios, even cause the tank itself to crack.
If you’re looking to add plants to your yard, we recommend planting them far away from both the septic tank and the drain field. Also, consult with the shop or nursery where you’re buying the plants from. They can suggest breeds with slow-growing or limited root systems which are unlikely to cause plumbing problems.
Speaking of drain fields…
- Keep off the drain field!
The drain field is an area below the surface of your lawn where overflow water from the septic tank goes to rejoin the water system. You know that old saying about how “the grass is always greener over the septic tank?” Well, actually it’s greener over the drain field because that’s where the fertilizing wastewater eventually goes.
However, the drain field can be easily damaged by heavyweights. Never build on the drain field, and never allow vehicles to be parked on it. Also, as mentioned above, never plant anything with extensive root systems above the drain field – although grasses and flowers are fine.
Otherwise, if the drain field is damaged, the wastewater will start leaking directly onto your lawn.
- Use gentle cleaners when possible, and limit how much goes down the drain
This can be a tough one. When you’re cleaning your home, you obviously want to use strong cleaning products to keep it nice and sanitary. The problem is, anything capable of killing microorganisms in your home is also capable of killing the microorganisms in your septic tank.
If you look in stores, you can find milder cleaners which are safe (or at least safer) for septic systems. Use these in areas with drains. If you must use strong cleaners like bleach, do so in rooms where the bleach won’t get into the septic system. Likewise, avoid using/flushing/draining poisons, pesticides, paint cleaners, solvents, or oils. These are all terrible for septic tanks.
- Never ever flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper
We know, it’s tempting to use your toilet as an all-purpose disposal system, particularly for unpleasant used objects such as sanitary pads, tampons, or condoms. However, all these things – and more – are extremely bad for your septic system. They can cause clogs in the pipes, disrupt the ecosystem, or simply settle at the bottom and increase the material load in your tank.
Simply put, never flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper. Those are the only things which are truly safe for a septic tank. Anything else, no matter how gross, needs to go in the trash.
When You Need Affordable Septic System Service In Hesperia, Call Roto-Rooter!
Roto-Rooter are local leaders in affordable septic service. We can handle repairs, maintenance, regular cleanings, and even full tank replacements or installations. No one else has the same level of expertise on staff, or the same high-quality equipment, as Roto-Rooter.
If you’re having septic issues, don’t wait for them to get worse! Contact Roto-Rooter to schedule a service appointment.