If your home has a septic tank instead of a sewer connection, you’re probably eager to keep it in good working order to avoid having to bring in the plumbing contractors. Portland area homeowners in the more rural parts of town may be surprised to learn that within the septic tank resides an organic system that needs to maintain its delicate balance to continue functioning optimally.

Tips for Septic Tank Maintenance

With proper routine maintenance, a septic tank can function flawlessly for years. Portland plumbers recommend the following practices for maintaining your septic tank.

What Not to Put Down the Drain

Did you know that a garbage disposal can double the amount of solid waste in your septic tank? Or that excessive cleaners can kill off the bacteria responsible for breaking down these solids? Here’s a rundown of items Portland plumbers caution against putting at your disposal (or flushing down the toilet):

  • Coffee grounds
  • Paper towels
  • Sanitary products
  • Cigarette butts
  • Disposable diapers
  • Grease or fat
  • Paint thinner, motor oil, or any other hazardous chemical
  • Anything that doesn’t decompose

Maintaining the Health of Your Septic System

Pump regularly. Your septic tank needs to be pumped to prevent solids from building up too much. A general rule of thumb is that a family of four with a 1,000-gallon tank will need to pump it every 3-5 years of full-time use. With the help of plumbing contractors, Portland homeowners can easily stay on top of this task.

Use a biological cleaning agent. Products such as Bio-Clean contain natural bacteria and enzymes that will break down all kinds of bio-degradable waste and help sustain the life of your septic tank and drainage field.

Minimize water usage. Water efficiency is a big buzzword in the green movement, and in this case, it’s good for your septic tank as well as the environment. Avoid overtaxing your system with wastewater by implementing water-saving practices, such as:

  • Install flow-optimized faucet aerators and flow-reducing shower nozzles.
  • Inspect for and repair any leaks in the toilet or faucet plumbing.
  • Replace toilets with water-efficient models or use a displacer to lower the amount of water needed to flush.
  • Use lower water levels for small laundry loads.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full.

Keep a septic-friendly landscape. Portland plumbers recommend designing your landscape, gutters, and foundation drains to direct stormwater away from the septic system. You should also keep trees at least 100 feet away from the system, as their roots can cause severe damage. Call 3 Mountains Home Services today!

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