When do i drain my septic tank? - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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When do i drain my septic tank?

Posted 06-01-2009 at 05:45 AM by faucetman886

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago ďThe care and feeding of the family septic tankĒ, but while pretty thorough a thread I ran across over the weekend has triggered a thought about the need for more info on how often and how to tell that your septic system needs to be drained and how itís done. The writer was concerned because he had lived in the house for 10 years, mostly alone, and had never had his tank drained and was worried that some big truck was going to have to make its way into his back yard and ruin the grass. In short as I had said in my original blog, depending on the size of the family, house and number of fixtures and appliances, should normally be drained every 3 to 5 years. A large family with a large home could require it done annually. A lot of variance also depends on how well your drain field is working, the health of your tank based on the bacterial content and the amount of localized rain (that can cause a drain field not to drain well).
Letís address the ways you can tell if your system needs attention because no septic system has a fill gauge although it might be a useful invention for some of you like minded home inventors out there. There are 2 simple ways to tell, first your drains start draining slowly, as an example youíre standing in the shower and the tub is filling up instead of draining, or a toilet seems difficult to flush with a slow swirl. This can also be caused by a clog in the main drain but if after a simple auguring of the cleanout hasnít improved the situation you can be pretty sure the tank is full. Secondly and much more unpleasant, is you find standing smelly water over and/or soggy ground in the area of your yard where the septic tank is. This is a sure bet that the tank is full and the drain field isnít able to handle the load.
Now what do you do? You call a septic professional. They are equipped with the knowledge of how to locate your tank and the access lid to drain it. Most drain trucks (Honey wagons) are equipped with long piping which will reach from the truck parked in your driveway or on the street to the tank so itís not necessary to drive into your yard, take down fences, or ruin your grass. The access lid is usually shovel deep so there is no need for heavy equipment. Thatís the good news, the bad news is if the total system is failing because of obstructed lines and drain field you can be in for a second mortgage and complete re-landscaping of your yard. Of course prices vary from state to state but you can expect to pay as little as $150 for a simple drain to no more than $500. If you have to replace the entire system it can be in the thousands of dollars. Because of this last fact you should pay careful attention to the care and feeding of your tank. Donít flush any degradable materials such as heavy paper products, plastics and damaging chemicals. You should use a bacteria boosting product such as ďRid-xĒ to keep your tank healthy with the correct bacteria especially if your house goes unused for a long period of time, like a second home or a home that has sat empty while on the market for sale. If you are purchasing a house that has sat empty for a while have your building inspector check the septic system, possibly request that the seller have the tank drained as a pre-emptory strike and be prepared to start the use of the tank slowly by adding bacteria.
Millions of homes exist with septic systems all over the US with rarely a problem and your home can be one also, just take some care to pay attention to how the system is working and what you flush into it.
Please visit my blogsite (see my profile for URL) for more blogs like this and to make comments and suggestions for things you would like to read about. I have approx 60 blogs published so far.
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