30 Jul. 20

How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped Out?

A septic tank handles wastewater from sinks, drains, and laundry machines in a residential wastewater system. It also begins the treatment process, so homeowners can eventually reuse the water.

Because septic tanks are underground, that makes them an easy maintenance project to overlook. If you leave your septic tank unchecked for too long, you may find raw sewage backing up into your home. Use this guide to help you identify when and why you should pump your septic tank.

Why Should I Pump My Septic Tank?

Septic tanks create a haven for oil, grease, dirt, human waste, and everything else that goes down your drains. The more often you flush toilets and take showers, the more work your septic tank does. Problems arise when the tank gets too full, and its contents have nowhere else to go.

The wastewater may go back up the pipes that drained it into the septic tank. This overload causes sewage to reappear in your drains, among other issues. Some other signs of septic tank problems include:

  • Slow flushing toilets
  • Poor sink drainage
  • Foul odors
  • Abnormally green grass
  • Standing water on the lawn

These problems result from design components, as septic tanks let heavy substances sink to the bottom. This sludgy layer can enter your soil absorption system when tank levels become too high. The heavy materials then cause clogs that hinder water flow and create unsanitary conditions for homeowners.

Does Septic Tank Size Matter?

Yes. The size of your septic tank influences how well it serves your septic system. Most homes have a tank between 1,000 and 1,500 gallons. These sizes work best for homes with four to six bedrooms and 2,500 to 5,500 square feet of space.

The larger your tank, the less frequently you’ll need plumbing services. For instance, if you live alone and have a 1,000-gallon tank, you should pump your septic tank once every 12 years. Note that the frequency of service increases based on the number of residents.

That same 1,000-gallon tank requires a local plumbing company to visit once every six years if two people live in the house. That number dips to four years with three people, three years with four people, and so on. Contact O’Connor Plumbing to locate, open, and measure your tank if you do not know your septic tank dimensions.

What Factors Determine Service Intervals?

While size and number of residents influence service intervals, many other factors come into play, too. They includes, but are not limited to:

  • How often you do laundry
  • How frequently you have guests
  • Whether you use the garbage disposal
  • If you have a sewage ejector pump
  • If you have a water softener
  • If you run a business from home
  • What you flush down the drain

According to industry experts, you should pump your septic tank every 3 to 5 years. This range ensures reliable year-round operation and lets your plumbing company identify and resolve any potential problems. A proactive approach helps avoid potential health risks and costly repairs.

How to Take Care of Your Septic Tank

As a first step, create a schedule for septic tank pumping. Developing a routine guarantees consistent cleaning moving forward, regardless of your tank or family’s size. If you don’t know the ideal service interval already, ask your plumbers after they finish working.

The best way to take care of your septic tank is with regular maintenance and inspection. A plumbing professional can locate damage, leaks, and unwanted accumulation. They also create a maintenance record to track past and future plumbing.

Remember that toilets do not function as a trash can. The Environmental Protection Agency discourages people from flushing anything other than toilet paper or human waste. That includes:

  • Cat litter
  • Cigarette butts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Floss
  • Food
  • Medication
  • Non-flushable wipes
  • Paints and chemical thinners
  • Paper towels

Water use efficiency goes a long way toward reducing service intervals. The average single-family household uses 70 gallons of water per person. That number jumps to 200 gallons when you have a leaky toilet or broken pipe. Install energy-efficient toilets, washing machines, and showerheads to improve your water use efficiency.

The Bottom Line

You should always call a professional for septic tank plumbing. While it’s tempting to do a DIY purge, the team at O’Connor Plumbing has the tools and experience to guarantee a job well done. You can speed up the process by locating the septic area and removing the surrounding earth in advance.

If you need septic tank plumbing services, call the experts at O’Connor Plumbing. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is standing by to assist you anytime, anywhere. Call us at (833) RIGGO44 to get started today.