If you've moved into a home with a septic tank, one of your responsibilities will be having the tank pumped out on a regular basis. If you've never owned a home with its own septic tank before, you may not be sure when to have your tank pumped or how the process works. Here is some information that may help.
Inspect The Tank
Ideally, the tank was inspected before you bought the house so you know it's in good condition, and the level of sludge was measured. Knowing how much sludge is in the tank might give you an idea of how long it will be until it has to be cleaned out. However, it's possible you bought the home and have no idea where the tank is even located, much less how full it is. In that case, you may want to hire a contractor to come out and find the tank so the contents can be measured. The contractor can pump it at that time if it's nearly due, or he or she can give you a rough estimate of when it should be pumped based on the size of the tank and how many people live in your home.
Watch For Slow Drains
If you don't hire someone to inspect your system, you'll need to remain alert to signs the tank is getting full. The first thing that will happen is that the drains will be slow to empty. This includes the toilet. When you flush, it will take longer for the toilet bowl to drain out. When you notice this, it's time to call someone to pump out the septic tank. You don't want to wait because when the tank gets too full, it will back up into your home or overflow into your yard. This creates an expensive mess to clean up. It's much better to have your tank pumped out early than it is to wait until it is too full.
Establish A Schedule
Once your tank has been pumped the first time, you can establish a schedule for the coming years. The contractor will estimate when the pump truck should return based on the number of people living in your home and the size of the tank. This is a general guideline to follow, but several factors can affect how often the tank needs to be pumped. Keep in mind, all the water that leaves your home goes into the tank. The liquid eventually seeps out, while the solids sink to the bottom. If you have a garbage disposal or have kids that rinse food down drains, then the tank will fill up quicker. The type of toilet paper you use affects the tank too. You want to buy paper that quickly dissolves in a glass of water. Some toilet paper, and especially paper towels, do not dissolve quickly enough, and that can lead to an increase in clogs and sludge in the system.
When the truck comes to pump your septic tank, there isn't anything for you to do. The contractor attaches a big hose to your tank, and the contents are pumped into a tanker truck to be hauled away. You may want to take responsibility for locating the tank first, because if you have no idea where it is and the contractor has to look for it, you may be charged extra for the location service. The contractor uses sophisticated equipment, but you may be able to find the tank by using a long metal rod and pushing it into the ground near the sewer pipe of your home and then following the pipe to the tank.
For more information, contact a septic tank pumping service like Zeb Watts Septic & Underground, Inc.