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Roughly one in every four American homes uses a septic system for waste disposal. The system is comprised of the home’s plumbing fixtures and pipes, the septic tank, and the drain field. Whether you’re having a septic tank installed at your new house or you just purchased a property with this form of waste disposal, here are four important things you need to know about your septic system.

Know Where Your Septic System is Located

As a homeowner with a septic system, it’s your responsibility to know where the underground components are located. This makes it easier for a plumber to service these parts when the time comes and helps prevent accidental damage.

There are several methods for finding a septic tank depending on where it’s buried and whether it’s made of concrete or plastic. Pinpointing the nearby drain field can be even trickier. If you don’t know where your septic system is located, we recommend hiring a professional to help you find it.

Know Never to Build or Drive over the Septic System

Driving a car or other heavy machinery over your septic tank or drain field could crush the drain lines and cause sewage backups. Building home additions, sheds, pools, or driveways over them could make the lines more difficult to access for repairs. Planting trees near them could cause damage years from now if the roots invade the lines.

Once you pinpoint the exact locations of your septic tank and drain field, mark the corners with sturdy yet movable objects, such as small flags, stones or potted plants.

Know That All Septic Systems Require Maintenance

Even the most carefully designed septic system needs proper care and maintenance to stay in good working order. Septic tanks aren’t designed to handle anything except human waste and limited amounts of toilet paper, so never dump cooking grease or coffee grounds down the sink or flush wet wipes or feminine products down the toilet. Also, minimize your use of soap, detergents, bleach and other chemicals that can disrupt the bacterial processes in the septic tank.

Then, plan to schedule professional maintenance at least once every three years or anytime you notice slow drains, bad odors or water pooling over the drain field. The technician will check the scum and sludge layers in the tank and recommend when to pump the tank next.

Know That Additives are a Waste of Money

As long as you don’t overuse chemical household cleaners, the balance of bacteria in the septic tank should remain intact. Some customers believe using additives eliminates the need for pumping, but this process is necessary every three to five years whether you use additives or not, so don’t waste your money.

If you have questions about your septic system, contact A-1 Septic Tank Service online or call us at (510) 886-4455. We offer septic tank pumping, maintenance, inspections and other waste disposal services for homes and businesses.

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