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Common Septic Tank Problems (and how to avoid them)

A septic tank is essentially a large holding storage tank created to hold human biological waste product while all-natural bacterial activity separates it into 3 parts– gases, water (combined with some components that aren’t taken in by bacterial activity), as well as solids. In time, the gases, as well as water, are eliminated from the tank right the surrounding environment.  Gas flows through vents while the fluids travel through tubes laid right into a circulation area.  Finally, the solids sink to the base and have to be regularly pumped out and cleared.  Sewer systems are more common because they are maintained and ran by local municipalities.  In recent years however septic systems have become more popular because they are an environmentally friendly alternative.

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Common issues a septic tank can have

Now that we have covered what a septic tank does, let’s discuss what can go wrong with them.  A septic system is designed to really only handle human waste, sometimes known as grey or black water.  Since things like your dishwasher, shower, bathtub and toilets all drain into a septic system, they are likely handling more than they were designed to.  This includes things like soap, food waste, toilet paper and more.  This is one of the leading causes of issues with septic tanks that need to be addressed by a local plumbing company.

Too much water in the septic tank

When a household uses too much water, it causes the tank to have too much extra water in it.  A septic tank with too much water will have internal environment problems.  The primary being that solid waste will not have enough time to break down.  This can cause the solids to travel through and clog the water distribution lines that were only meant to handle liquids.  You can reduce the amount of water in your septic tank by extending the days between clothing washing cycles.  You can also shorten the length of showers and avoid double-flushing toilets unless necessary.

Using too much detergent

It may sound weird, but detergents have phosphates that will actually encourage algae growth within the tank and internal piping system.  If you are using too much cleaner in your dishwasher or laundry machine it may not be able to dilute all the extra soap.  Homeowners can accidentally use too much, or the wrong type of soap in these machines.  The plumbers are Plumbing Utah Heating & Air recommends using liquid or gel soap as they do not contain phosphates like powdered alternatives.

Non-biodegradable items have been flushed

Just as it sounds, these materials will not break down due to natural processes.  These items take up space and can cause your septic system to clog.  This will usually require a professional to come flush and jet your septic tank.  Whether you have a sewer or a septic tank, remember to only flush human waste and a small amount of toilet paper down your toilet.  You should also avoid putting kitchen waste down your drains.  This includes things like oil and grease and as little food as possible.  A garburator should be connected to the system to help pulverize food as it breaks down differently than human waste.  Remember all non-biodegradable and even so-called “flushable” products shouldn’t be flushed.  This includes tampons, diapers, paper towels, and cigarette butts.

Call a professional plumber if problems exist

Along with the tips we have suggested above, avoid harsh chemicals as they can break down piping and fittings.  If you have a leak or are experiencing problems with your septic tank, call Plumbing Utah Heating & Air at (801) 601-1298 to speak with a professional and schedule a dispatch today.  One last tip.  It is suggested that you flush your septic tank every 2 to 4 years to help ensure that your system will continue to run properly.

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