Your Tarrytown, NY, home’s septic system is a considerable investment that will be prematurely due for a replacement if it doesn’t received proper care and maintenance. Check out these five ways to ensure your money doesn’t end up down the drain—here’s what you can do to avoid a septic system replacement:
Know Your Septic System
Knowing the specifics of your system is probably the most important step of taking care of it. Be aware of the type of system that is installed and where its different components lie. In particular, you should know where the tank is installed and how to access it as well as the location of the drain field. Knowing the type of septic system, whether it is gravity fed or pump distributed, can also be beneficial. Ask your contractor the details of standard maintenance procedures and whether the system features an alarm or overflow warning.
Be Careful About What Enters the Tank
Being conscientious about what you flush down the drain can go a long way in improving the longevity of your septic system. Foreign materials can damage various components of the septic system in two ways. Large, non-biodegradable objects such as plastic bags, tampons, and toilet paper, which are not suitable for septic systems, can clog up the pipes and hinder the flow of water to and out of the tank.
Another category of materials consists of chemicals that can harm the bacteria in the tank and thereby inhibit the breakdown of waste materials. Household cleaners, drain openers, chlorine bleaches, and harsh chemicals, in general, are bad for the bacteria residing in the tank. It’s best to keep them away from your septic system.
Lastly, you may want to think twice about installing a garbage disposal or be extremely careful about its use as it can be a major source of non-biodegradable solids entering the septic system.
Conserving Water Usage
Operating your septic system at the limit can have a marked impact on its efficiency to safely dispose of water and waste. Start with preventive maintenance such as fixing leaky faucets and toilets. Installing low-flow toilets and more efficient, water-saving showerheads is also a great way to reduce water consumption. Also, consider spreading your laundry into smaller loads across the week as larger loads can put a strain on the tank as well the drain field.
Schedule Routine Maintenance
Keep track of any routine maintenance and checks and avoid prolonged periods without a professional examining the tank. Make sure you follow the contractor’s recommended pumping schedule and always use a certified contractor to make sure the job is done correctly. While pumping is usually required about every three years, an annual inspection is highly recommended to monitor the sludge build up in the tank.
Avoid Physical Damage
Once you are aware where the tank and drain field are located, make sure the area is well marked. This will ensure that no heavy loads such as vehicles and trucks pass over the area and potentially damage the underlying components. Be sure any contractor doing work on your property knows about it. The area may need to be protected from construction and excessive vegetation—roots could damage the pipes and tank.