As far as important home components go, the septic drain field is high up on the list. If a septic system malfunctions, everyone suffers. The home operations come to a screeching halt. But how do you know if your drain field in Briarcliff Manor, NY, is working in the optimal way? And how will you know when a septic field replacement is needed? There are some definite signs to watch for, so read on.
General Life Expectancy of a Drain Field
You can expect your septic drain field to last anywhere from 10 to 30 years, depending on the level of care the septic system receives over its lifetime. A septic field can fail in the first year if it was not installed correctly for the slope, soil percolation, ground water, and rock bed that was present at the time of construction. On the other hand, a septic drain field can last for years with no problems if the conditions around the field were assessed when planning for the drain field.
What Leads to Drain Field Failure?
Septic systems are not designed to accommodate grease from cooking, feminine products, and diapers. Large amounts of food from a garbage disposal and excessive washing of clothes can disturb the balance of microorganisms that are beneficial to the system functioning correctly. Heavy use of harsh cleaners such as bleach and ammonia can also cause drain system failure.
Keeping Your Septic Drain Field Healthy
Never park cars, boats, motorhomes, or any other vehicle on the drain field. This leads to compaction of the dirt, causing the septic to not drain properly. Inspect the drain field for tree roots that may have worked into the septic tank, causing obstruction to freely flowing waste. And, finally, know that pipes in the drain field could collapse or fail from other factors, and can cause the field not to drain.
Do You Need a New Drain Field?
The signs that your drain field is failing or has failed can be easy to miss. Do you notice sewage smells outside of the home, especially near the septic tank and drain field? Sometimes you can mistake the standing water of a failing system for puddles left from a recent rain. However, if the water does not dry up quickly after the sun comes out, or stays in a mushy state on a regular basis, you may have a drain field problem.
Disregarding slow draining sinks and toilets and showers can be a second sign of drainage issues. Neglecting those signs can lead to an expensive fix for your septic system, and potentially even to the walls and foundation of your home.
When to Call a Professional?
Since a septic drain field failure can go from problematic to disastrous very quickly, you will want to call a septic expert anytime you think you might have a septic system issue. You want a professional who has experience in diagnosing and repairing septic systems to help you protect this crucial investment. Correcting the problem before the drain field fails can prolong the life of the entire system. Be sure to also inquire about ongoing maintenance to avoid future problems.