Oh, the humble septic tank. This hard-working private sewage system is barely noticeable when working properly, but when something goes wrong, it can be disgustingly disastrous.
Lots of folks in and around Indianapolis rely on septic systems to treat their sewage, so it is very important to understand the practices and benefits of good maintenance. As winter grows closer with each passing day, now is the time for some specific septic chores.
Give your septic tank a professional pumping
If you haven’t done so already, have your septic tank pumped and cleaned out before winter arrives. A few years’ worth of sludge shouldn’t remain trapped inside throughout the cold season, and full tanks cause lots of problems, especially during winter, when repairs typically cost more to fix. Invest in a licensed professional to pump and clean your tank, because they have the tools and experience needed to do the job the right way. When it comes to full septic tanks, you don’t want anything going wrong.
Check tank levels yourself
Pumping and cleaning should be done through the tank’s manhole, but homeowners can measure tank levels by opening an inspection port. Use a metal or wooden pole long enough to insert through the port and reach the bottom of the tank. Rotate the pole a few times to help dig through sludge at the bottom, and bring it back out. Measure the dark sludge stain on the bottom of the pole. If it measures a foot or more in length, it is time to have your tank serviced.
Septic problems vs. plumbing problems
A plumbing backup inside the home may or may not be caused by a full tank. You can usually figure out what the cause is and who to call by examining your cleanout pipe. If the cleanout is empty, chances are you have a plumbing problem and should call a professional plumber. If the cleanout is full of wastewater, a septic service may be the better professional to call.
Additional cold weather considerations
- Do not use automotive antifreeze in septic systems.
- Inspect aboveground tank covers regularly for damage.
- Do not place heavy material or equipment on the ground above tanks and drain fields.
Avoid stressful (and stinky) situations this winter by following these simple rules for septic system maintenance. And remember, count on Mister Quik for all types of residential plumbing services throughout Indianapolis and central Indiana!