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A Comprehensive Guide to Septic Systems: How They Work and Maintenance Tips

Date Posted: July 30, 2022 7:36 am

If you are like most homeowners, you probably don’t think about your septic system until there is a problem. And when there is a problem, it’s usually a big one! That’s why it’s essential to know how your septic system works and how to maintain it properly. This comprehensive guide will discuss everything you need to know about septic systems: how they work, common problems, and tips for keeping them running smoothly.

Most people are familiar with the basics of a septic system: waste from the house is deposited in a tank, then leaches into the ground. But how does this process actually work? And what happens if the system isn’t maintained?

How does a septic system work?

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It’s helpful first to understand how a septic system works. It’s also helpful to understand how wastewater is treated in a municipal plant. Wastewater from toilets, showers, and sinks first goes to a large holding tank, where solid matter settles to the bottom and oil and grease float to the top. The water in the middle is then drawn off and treated with bacteria, which breaks down the remaining organic matter. Finally, the water is filtered and discharged into a river or other body of water.

A septic system performs a similar function on a smaller scale. For example, waste from the house is deposited in a septic tank, where solid matter settles to the bottom and oil and grease float to the top. The water in the middle is then drawn off and leached into the ground through a series of perforated pipes. Bacteria in the soil break down the remaining organic matter, and filtered water eventually makes its way back into the groundwater.

What happens to the sludge?

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When waste enters a septic system, it is treated by various bacteria that break it down into simpler compounds. The solid material that remains after this process is known as sludge, while the oily film that floats on top is known as scum. Both of these materials must be removed from the septic system regularly to prevent them from clogging the pores of the system and eventually leading to a backup.

There are several ways to remove sludge and scum from a septic system. One standard method is to pump it out of the system regularly simply. This is typically done every two to five years, depending on the size of the system and the amount of use it receives. Another option is to install an aerobic treatment unit, which uses oxygen to break down the sludge and scum into simpler compounds. This process can eliminate the need for pump-outs, but it does require regular maintenance and can be more expensive than traditional methods.

A septic system only works properly if it is well maintained. That means regularly pumping out the solid matter that accumulates in the septic tank (this should be done every two to five years, depending on the size of the tank and the number of people in the household). It also means avoiding common mistakes like flushing non-biodegradable materials down the toilet or pouring grease down the drain. If you take good care of your septic system, it will take care of you!

Maintenance Tips

“A septic system only works properly if it is well maintained.”

Questions to consider?

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  • How often should I have my septic system inspected?
  • What are some common problems with septic systems?
  • What can I do to prevent those problems?
  • How do I know when my septic tank needs to be pumped?
  • Is there anything else I can do to maintain my septic system?

Septic systems are an important part of homes in California, but they can be challenging to maintain. Here are some tips to help you keep your septic system healthy:

  • Make sure to have your septic system inspected and pumped regularly. Depending on the size of your system and how often it is used, you will likely need to have it inspected every three to five years and pumped every four to eight years.
  • If you have a large family or use a lot of water, you may need to have your system inspected and pumped more frequently.
  • It would be best to inspect your system for any signs of problems, such as slow drains or sewage odors.

If you wait too long to have your septic system pumped, the solids will build up and clog the system, leading to a costly repair bill.

Other Septic Tank Problems

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One of the most common septic system problems is a clogged drain field. The drain field is the part of the system where the wastewater drains into the soil. If it becomes clogged, it can cause the wastewater to back up into your home or yard.

Another common problem is a broken septic tank. This can be caused by tree roots growing into the tank or by the tank being too full. If you think your septic tank might be broken, you should call a professional to have it inspected.

It is also essential to be mindful of what you put into your septic system. Only flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet and avoid pouring grease, oil, or chemicals down the drain. These can clog up your system and cause severe damage. Finally, conserve water usage as excessive water can overload your septic system and lead to problems.

You must call a professional immediately if you have any problems with your septic system. Septic system problems can quickly turn into an expensive nightmare if they are not dealt with promptly.

We hope you find this guide helpful! If you have any questions or need help troubleshooting a problem, our team of septic system experts is always here to help. So, give us a call today!

Following these simple tips will go a long way in keeping your septic system healthy and working correctly.


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1. Have your septic system inspected every three years by a qualified professional to ensure it is functioning properly.

2. Pump the tank every 3 to 5 years to remove any built-up sludge and scum.

3. Avoid pouring grease, oil, or chemicals down the drain.

4. Only flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet.

Imagine you have a healthy septic system that doesn’t require any significant maintenance. You don’t have to worry about clogged drains or wastewater backups. Your system is functioning perfectly, and you’re not having any problems.

This means that you can relax and enjoy your home without any concerns. You can rest assured knowing that your septic system is taken care of, and you don’t have to worry about it.

If you have questions about your septic system or need assistance, our team of experts at Lanik Septic is always here to help. Give us a call today! (951) 676-7114.

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