Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

A well-managed septic system means a seamless sewage facility for you. The system is one of the main components of a home or building and always needs to be in tip-top shape. This is why when you need any repair work done on your septic system in Sherman, TX, you should only trust professionals. That’s where we come in. Underwood Plumbing and Septic has a team of experts always ready to help.

While septic services require skill and expertise, there are still things you can do to care for your septic system. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you get started.

  • Do have your septic inspected by a licensed contractor regularly. Routine maintenance by a professional will help lengthen its service life and help you avoid untimely septic repair. Septic systems should be inspected at least every three years.
  • Don’t treat your toilet like a trash can. Cleaning wipes, facial tissues, baby wipes or paper towels should be disposed of in the trash. When you flush these items down, they end up in the septic tank and can cause severe clogs in the system.
  • Do keep your septic tank lids secured and closed. To avoid a safety hazard, always ensure the tank access lids are not deteriorated or cracked. When you feel you need a septic replacement, contact the right experts.
  • Don’t park vehicles on the drain field, septic tank, or reserve area. During a septic installation, you can ask the crew to mark the work area. Ensure there is not too much activity in those areas. That will ensure the soil is not being packed down and prevent the pipes from breaking.
  • Do ensure you conserve water if you want to avoid overloading the septic system. This entails setting up your sprinkler system to go off at just the right times and not using too much water.

Do’s and Don’ts of Aerobic System Maintenance

Although aerobic systems are more sophisticated than standard ones, they still need routine maintenance in order to function at their peak. Here are some dos and don’ts for maintaining your aerobic system.

  • DO hire a TCEQ licensed maintenance provider to service your system. All aerobic systems are required to be checked every 4 months per TCEQ regulations, even if your county doesn’t require a maintenance company to perform the service (there’s a lot more to servicing your system than just adding chlorine, not to mention the health risk of coming into contact with wastewater).
  • DON’T panic if your alarm turns on — it is usually not an emergency. Call your maintenance provider when your alarm sounds or light turns on and reduce non-essential water usage.
  • DO hire a maintenance provider that is certified by the manufacturer of your system, and who only replaces the proprietary parts of your system with the same proprietary parts — not with parts for another manufactured system.
  • DON’T wait several days to report alarm activation.
  • DO avoid spraying your irrigation sprinklers over the same area of the aerobic system’s distribution area, otherwise excessive wetness/saturation may occur.
  • DON’T turn the system off.
  • DO check your chlorinator once a week to once a month on average (depending on your water usage)
  • DON’T store chlorine in water heater closets or by water heaters. Keep away from gas and electrical. Chlorine needs to be stored in a cool, dry, ventilated area.
  • DO use ant killer to kill ants if they start mounding by any part of the system.
  • DON’T use swimming pool chlorine tablets for tablet chlorinators. Only use calcium hypochlorite tablets that are designed for treating wastewater.
  • DO make sure all parts of the system are easily accessible at all times (do not build over any part, use landscaping that could grow over, etc).
  • DON’T allow plumbers, landscapers, irrigation companies, etc. to replace anything themselves, or handle any part of the system except adding chlorine and silencing the alarm. Repairs made by the homeowner or others generally voids the system’s warranty, and will make future repairs more costly.
  • DO be cautious of what enters the system. Items flushed down the commode or poured down the drains do not disappear; they must be treated by the system.

Aerobic systems are designed to treat domestic wastewater and toilet paper only. Things that can harm your system include:

  • excessive use of garbage disposal
  • fat, grease, and oil
  • too many cleaners
  • too much fabric softener
  • bleach
  • cigarette butts
  • diapers and wipes
  • feminine products
  • paper towels
  • excessive use of toilet paper
  • condoms
  • Q-tips
  • paint, paint thinners, and varnishes
  • drain cleaners and automatic toilet cleaners
  • hair combings
  • food (fruit, fruit peels, fruit juices, cola, wine, vinegar, salad oil, sugars, coffee grounds)
  • dental floss
  • kitty litter
  • unused medicine
  • etc.

Items such as these can cause the cost of maintenance and tank cleanings to be more expensive.

  • DON’T allow alteration to any part of the system or spray head locations. Alteration puts the system out of compliance and can cause the property owner additional expense to bring it back into compliance.
  • DO pump your system when recommended by your maintenance provider.

Dusty Underwood Plumbing and Septic takes a sludge test each time your system is serviced. We normally recommend you to pump out all your tanks/compartments when the sludge level reaches approximately 50% or higher in the aerobic unit or if excessive sludge builds up in the pump tank. (The average household will need to have the system pumped every 2-5 years).

  • DON’T plant landscaping around the system or spray heads. Keep vegetation mowed or trimmed around the system and spray heads. (Spray can only be applied to vegetative surface.)
  • DO hire a pumping company that is familiar with your make and model of aerobic system and knows what needs to be done to the system when it is pumped in order to avoid causing damage to the system. Each make and model is different in what needs to be done when it is pumped.
  • DON’T treat the system as city sewer. Economy in the use of water helps prevent overloading the system. Leaky faucets, running commodes, etc. should be guarded against as well. Avoid doing all your laundry in the same day; surges of water entering the system may hydraulically overload the system and throw off the balance of bacteria.

When it comes to your septic system, only the best care and services would do. It’s the best way to avoid emergencies and having to pay for costly repairs. Contact Underwood Plumbing and Septic and let us help you keep your septic tank in optimal condition.

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