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How to Maintain Septic System Health 9 Crucial Steps

How to Maintain Septic System Health | 9 Crucial Steps

If your home drainage system doesn’t funnel out into a public sewer, you’ll most likely have to rely on septic systems to dispose of wastewater. Depending on soil and site conditions, a contractor might fit your property with a mound, sand filter, or pressure distribution system. The golden rule of septic tanks is to call for inspection every three years—a far cry from heavy-duty responsibilities. However, there are peripheral methods to maintain septic system health, which include the following.

9 Steps to Maintain Septic System Health

Each one of the following steps is crucial to maintain septic system health in its own right. In no particular order:

1. Pump as You Need To

Contrary to popular belief, your septic tank is always on the job—even when you aren’t flushing. It’s still breaking down waste, which it drains into a leach field. Regardless of its input load, maintenance history, or cleaning chemical usage, a septic tank deserves a thorough pumping every 2 to 5 years.

2. Never Flush Wipes

If a bathroom stall asks you to avoid flushing paper waste, you should treat your toilet with the same respect. Even “flushable” wipes become trapped in pipes and cause blockages that aren’t easy to reverse. Unlike toilet paper, wipes don’t break down—a nightmare for homeowners with a septic tank.

3. Use Your Garbage Bin

Another huge step to maintain septic system health is to not treat your toilets and drains as garbage bins. Insist that your family members and guests follow suit—no exceptions!

4. Practice Proper Kitchen-Cleaning Etiquette

Without a dishwasher, manually scrubbing plates and utensils can become time-consuming. Don’t be tempted to send oil, food particles, and excess detergents down the drain—this can overburden bacteria and impact your system’s functionality.

5. No to Bleach, No to Chlorine

Bleach is a highly anti-bacterial product—which means that while it’s virtually eliminating bacteria on floors, counters, and toilets, it’s also getting rid of beneficial bacteria in your septic tank.

Replace chemical cleaning agents with environmentally friendly products such as soda bicarbonate, vinegar, lemon juice, or hydrogen peroxide. Avoid bleach and chlorine in excess, if use is necessary.

6. Save Water

Whether to improve your septic system’s performance or cut costs on utility bills, you can never go wrong with saving water—the less water in your tank, the better. Excess water can lead to blockages or overflowing and require more frequent pumping.

If your dishwashing and laundry machines have them, use eco-cycle options as much as possible. If possible, re-route your appliances to run water into the garden. Plants love phosphorus-rich water!

7. Plant Septic-Safe Foliage

Specific species of plants, such as South African trees, are water-wise and septic-safe. They help to regulate ground moisture and reduce soil erosion. Ask your local gardening center for advice—they’ll likely have a generous catalog of septic-safe plants.

8. Don’t Overburden the Tank

Never keep heavy objects such as vehicles, gardening equipment, outdoor furniture, or sheds on top of your septic system.

9. Landscape Your Setup

A poorly-placed tank can make for a challenging pumping job. If your septic tank service provider doesn’t have access to your service hatch, they’ll have to drive over your drain field or run pipes through the inside of your home. Plan ahead when installing a new system.


Septic tanks are among the most reliable waste management systems in-home. However, neglect your system, and you could face skyrocketing repair and replacement bills. By following these steps, you will be best equipped to maintain septic system health and ensure your tank continues to work reliably for many years to come.

For a septic inspection in Santa Clara or surrounding counties, give our specialists at A1 Tank Service a call. Our experts are highly trained in their ability to use accurate assessment tools and unclog lines suffering from buildup.

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