If you're thinking of living off the grid, you may like your rural freedom, but you might miss some of the creature comforts that come with living in a city. Many first-time rural homebuyers don't know what to make of their septic systems.
Here's a quick guide to help you clean and maintain your system to living your quiet country lifestyle:
A septic system is a self-contained sewer system. All of your home's waste water flows into the system, where solids collect in the septic tank and can be broken down by natural bacteria. Other solids, however, are tougher for your system to break down. If allowed to collect, these lighter solids can overwhelm your system, causing everything to follow into your drainage field.
Most septic systems should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. However, if your house is a working farm or processes large quantities of water, you may need to pump your system more frequently. It's always a good idea to establish a relationship with a local professional who provides septic services and have them assess your septic system annually.
To maintain your septic system, you need to control what goes into the system. It's a good idea to find an alternative means of disposing the following items:
- Fats and Oils: These light solids congeal in your septic systems, clogging them, requiring them to be serviced more frequently.
- Diapers and wet wipes: These plastic-based products do not break down readily.
- Condoms and Tampons: Similar to diapers, these products will not break down naturally, causing them to collect and potentially back up your system.
- Paints and solvents: Any chemical you flush down your drain can interact with other substances in the system in ways that you can't predict. In some cases, this can cause your septic tank to leak into your soil.
In addition to keeping the aforementioned items out of your septic system, consider the following maintenance tips:
- Keep Clear: Don't build on or drive on your drainage field. This extra weight can compact the soil, which can crush the drain field pipes, disrupting your system's natural outflow of liquids.
- Water Flow: Flushing large quantities of liquids into your system can cause the septic tank to reach capacity, which will cause the liquids to reverse direction. This means you should avoid draining pools or spas into your system. You should also avoid draining a bath tub while also running your dishwasher and washing machine.
For additional information on maintaining a septic system, contact a company like Powder River Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.