Sewer Time Septic and Drain

How Often Should My Septic Tank Be Cleaned Out?

How Often Should My Septic Tank Be Cleaned Out?

Septic Pumping Frequency

What Is A Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a self-contained sewage treatment system. It’s an underground chamber where sewage from your home is stored. The tank is usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic, and is typically located in your backyard. The septic tank is connected to your home’s main sewer line and consists of two compartments: the primary chamber, where sewage enters the tank, and the secondary chamber, where sewage is broken down by bacteria.

Each chamber is equipped with a series of baffles to slow down the flow of sewage and allow solids to settle out. Bacteria in the septic tank break down the organic matter in the sewage, with the effluent from the septic tank being dispersed into the soil through a network of drainage pipes. 

Who Uses Septic Tanks?

Septic tanks are typically used in rural areas where there’s no access to centralized sewer systems. They are also used on some small farms and in other situations where complete wastewater treatment is not possible or desirable.

Septic Tank Cleaning and Why It’s Important

In order to function properly, septic tanks must be regularly cleaned. Otherwise, the solid waste will build up and eventually cause the septic system to fail. When septic tanks are not cleaned out, a number of problems can occur. Effluent can back up into the home, thus creating a potentially serious health hazard. In addition, it can cause effluent overflow and leach field failure. Plus, the build-up of waste in the tank can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria. 

Environmentally UNFRIENDLY!

Septic tanks that are not properly maintained can become sources of groundwater pollution. If the tank fills up with solids and liquids, they will start seeping into the surrounding soil. This can contaminate groundwater, which can lead to serious health problems for people who drink the water. In addition, septic tanks that are not cleaned out can also release methane gas into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. In extreme cases, septic tanks that are not properly maintained can even explode, causing extensive damage to property and potentially injuring or killing people nearby. 

Regular Septic Tank Cleaning Is Essential

If the septic tank is not pumped out regularly it can lead to expensive repairs, as well as bad smells and leakage. Moreover, pumping out the septic tank can improve the reliability and lifespan of your septic system.

How Often Is Enough?

As a general rule of thumb, most septic tanks should be pumped out every three to five years. Of course, it’s always best to consult with a professional septic contractor to get an accurate estimate of how often your septic tank needs to be serviced.

However, there’s no one-size-fits-all with this answer. It depends on the size of your tank, the number of people living in the home, the climate, the absence or presence of garbage disposal, and some other factors. Take a look at our chart below to locate your tank and ascertain how often you should get your septic tank pumped out.

Typical tank size relative to home size –

  •   750 gallons 1 or 2 bedrooms –  1,500 or fewer square feet
  •   900 gallons 3 bedrooms – 1,500 to 2,500 square feet
  • 1,000 gallons 4 bedrooms – 2,500 to 3,500 square feet
  • 1,250 gallons 5 bedrooms – 2,500 to 3,500 square feet
  • 1,500 gallons: 6 bedrooms – 3,500 to 5,500 square feet

Note that some states or cities may have their own regulations regarding minimum septic tank sizes, irrespective of the size of your house. Other variables that might also affect the frequency in which you have your septic tank pumped include –

  • More laundry is done than the average person or family
  • Frequent garbage disposal use
  • Water softener usage connected to the septic tank
  • In-home business operations
  • Sewage ejector pump connected to the septic system
  • Recurrent disposal of non-septic-friendly materials in the drain
  • Regular entertainment of guests.

If you have a septic tank that hasn’t been pumped out ‘for a long time’ or an ‘unknown amount of time’ we suggest you contact a professional and request a maintenance check on your tank. Alternatively, if you’ve noticed any of the following, your septic tank is probably full, or has failed –

  • You’ve noticed foul sewage smells or other nasty odors,
  • The drains in your home are backing up, or
  • You’ve noticed standing water surrounding the septic tank, or even your home.

Note that sometimes a clogged pipe or sewer blockage can appear to be a septic tank problem, so it’s important to ask for a professional diagnosis. 

If you haven’t noticed any of the above issues, but feel your system might be overdue for a cleanout, try this –

  • Locate the access port to the septic tank, 
  • Make sure you use gloves, eyewear, and protective clothing, 
  • Vertically place a 6 to 10-foot wooden rod into your septic tank. 

If the sludge in the tank covers more than one-third of the rod, it’s time to organize a clean-out. 

About Sewer Time Septic & Drain

Sewer Time Septic & Drain are the professionals you need when you have any concerns at all about your septic tank. Maybe it’s time for pumping out or a septic system repair, or perhaps it’s just time for a routine check-up. 

We’re the professionals and we’ll take care of everything for you. To save yourself unnecessary time, stress, and money, call us at any time on 602-777-7867. Just know that Sewer Time is the company you can trust. We’re here for you, any time day or night, 7-days a week, so just give us a call. We’re great on customer service too!

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