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Keep Your Septic System in Check

Out of sight, out of mind. Such is the life of your septic system. Your septic system is usually pretty self-sustaining, but it needs a little attention occasionally. Here’s what you need to know to keep your septic system at its best.

The Basics

A septic system is like a miniature water treatment facility. A delicate balance of bacteria helps to break down waste. Gravel and stone filter the water as it leeches into the ground. The result? Safe water is released back into the water table. As long as all the elements do their job, the septic system will take care of itself.

The Balance

Balance is the key to keeping your septic system happy. If you upset that balance, problems quickly develop. Look out for the following:

  • Too much water in the system will overwhelm the bacteria so they can’t do their job. This may result in a sewage backup.

  • Household chemicals in large amounts can also upset the balance. Keep use of detergents, bleach, drain cleaners, etc. to a minimum. Don’t dispose of chemical wastes or even cleaning water from pain brushes down the drain in the house.

  • Non-decomposable items have no business going down the drain. Things like grease, tissues, cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds don’t decompose in the septic system. Instead, they plug it up, leading to need for pumping, cleaning and ultimately repair/replacement.


About every 1-3 years, plan to call professionals to pump and clean your septic tank. Septic systems in northern climates need service more often because cooler temperatures inhibit bacteria. The size and use of the tank also influence how often your system will need pumping. If you notice a strange smell, slow drains, or drains that back up, it’s definitely time for some maintenance.


After 15-20 years, some systems may need in-depth work. Perforated pipes, tanks, and other physical elements wear out, especially if the system has not been carefully cared for. On the other hand, a well-maintained system can last forever. Get a professional to check out your septic system to find out if you are in need of further maintenance or replacement. Just because your septic system keeps a low profile, it doesn’t mean you can ignore it. Keep it in check with a little regular care. Pitton Plumbing provides pumping and cleaning for your septic system. Call today for a visit from our licensed waste hauler.


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