Your septic tank is an essential part of your home function. Not connected to a municipal sewer system, these underground tanks are designed to hold and treat wastewater that is produced by you in your home.
Septic tanks allow for the separation of solid and liquid waste, which is sent to a drain field for treatment and disposal. By providing a safe, efficient way to dispose of wastewater and other organic matter, your septic tank plays a vital role in protecting the surrounding environment by preventing contamination of both ground and surface water.
Care Of Your Septic System
Performing regular care, inspection, and maintenance on your septic system will ensure that it functions as it should to keep your home and surrounding property safe and sanitary.
Your septic tank must be inspected and pumped out by a professional every three to five years, depending on the size of your tank and the number of people using it in your home. This helps to remove excess accumulated solids and prevent your tank from overflowing into your drain field.
Being Mindful Of Additions to Your System
Certain items such as cooking and industrial oils, grease, non-biodegradable items, baby wipes, and feminine hygiene products should never be disposed of or flushed into your septic system, as they can cause damage to vital system components and clog up your system.
Avoiding Heavy Traffic on the Drain Field
Your drain field is an area where treated wastewater is disposed of. Driving heavy construction traffic, utility vehicles, and cars over this area can compact the soil and gravel that was laid to filter water, damaging both piping and preventing water from flowing freely within your system. This leads to costly repairs and reconstruction of the area to restore your system once more.
As you commit to using water efficiently in your home, you’ll reduce the amount of water and waste that needs to be treated by your septic system. This will extend the life of your system and keep your drain field from becoming over-saturated.
Checking For Leaks and Issues
Leaks and issues with your plumbing and septic system should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent damage to your home, costly repairs, and even health consequences from coming in contact with both sewage and fumes produced by septic waste.
What Does A Septic Inspection Entail?
Septic systems, when properly maintained, are designed to last around 25 years, but that doesn’t mean that they will always function perfectly. Having inspections performed every three to five years will optimize system function and keep your repair bills at a minimum. Getting the help of a trusted septic professional to help you evaluate your system is a critical component in making sure your system continues to work for you. Here are some things you can expect to experience with a septic inspection.
As you connect with a septic professional, they may ask you questions about your system prior to visiting your property in order to get an accurate picture of what may need to be done. These questions will relate to:
- Whether the system has been pumped
- Who has worked on the system
- Prior damage and repairs
- Location of the system
- Septic system map
Chances are, if your system has been serviced before, your technician likely has a record of services performed as well as a general layout. Having installation and other treatment information available will give even more information to your service professional that will be of value when it comes to caring for your system properly.
Your technician will then come out to perform a visual inspection of your septic system. They’ll likely perform a flow test to see if your sanitary pipe delivers liquid efficiently to the system. A properly functioning system will use water from this flow test to force water into the leach field. A lack of water during this test indicates that there may be a plumbing or sanitary line issue within your system. Finding the source of the clog involves going through your home and testing each water source. Although this is the most tedious part of the inspection, it is also one of the most important, for it gives a thorough picture of whether your system is functioning properly or not.
Next, your technician will evaluate the tank itself, as well as any accumulated layers of sludge, effluent, scum, and solids. After measuring each of these components, your technician will determine if your tank is sitting at appropriate levels of volume, leading to an evaluation of the leach field and its effectiveness.
A visual examination of the leach field will quickly reveal if your area is saturated, flowing properly, and draining well. Wet, soggy areas and a persistent smell of sewage are red flags that your field is compromised, and further inspection will be necessary to restore function.
Types of Septic Inspections
While the above-described inspection is one of the more comprehensive ways of testing the various parts of your septic system, there are a number of options you have for evaluating your system.
A visual-only inspection is something that a home inspector performs prior to the acquisition or sale of a property. The inspector will conduct a visual assessment of your tank as well as a loading and dye test.
Level 1 inspections involve opening the cover of the tank and conducting a more thorough assessment of effluent screens and pipes leading to and from the tank. In some states, pumping the tank may be necessary to ensure that there are no structural deficiencies present that could compromise tank function.
Level 2 inspections involve inspection of the layers of scum and sludge, as well as checking the tank for leaks and cracks that may eventually need repair.
Level 3 inspections are known as standard inspections, they are one of the most thorough evaluations of both tank and system, and they provide you with the most information needed to make an informed decision about repair and replacement. Owners of these septic systems should have a thorough inspection of all components every five years.
What Does Septic Tank Inspection Cost?
Septic inspections range in price from an average of $300-$550, depending on the type of inspection you are asking for. This is a small price to pay every few years when you consider the fact that the average cost of replacing a drain field and septic tank can cost anywhere from $4,000-$10,000 or more.
A damaged and compromised septic system is no joke. Taking the time to care for and regularly evaluate your system will protect you and your loved ones from financial stress and potential health consequences. At Anchor Plumbing Services, we have the knowledge, skills, and passion for customer service that provides you with the home solutions that you need. Serving valued clients in the San Antonio area and beyond, we offer services related to plumbing, drain lines, septic inspection and cleaning, water pressure issues, water softener service and repair, and much more. If you can’t remember the last time you inspected your septic tank, now is the time to get a detailed assessment of what is happening in this vital system. Contact our talented professionals today for a thorough septic system evaluation.