If you haven't owned a home with a septic tank before, the process of pumping and maintaining it may seem mysterious. If the septic system wasn't inspected before you bought the house, you'll probably want to have it done soon after so you know the condition of the tank and when it will need to be cleaned out. Here are some other things you may want to know about living with a septic tank.
Get A Cost Estimate For Pumping
Once you move in, find a septic pumping service you want to work with and get a quote for cleaning the tank. Septic tank pumping could cost a few hundred dollars, and knowing the cost upfront helps you budget for the expense. You'll go through a lot of money moving into a new home and getting settled, so you want money set aside for septic pumping and repairs. Otherwise, the tank might get full or need work when you're short on funds, and that would pose a big problem.
Find Out Where The Tank Is Located
Hopefully, an inspection before the sale located and marked the tank location. The previous owners may even have a marker installed. It's also possible the tank is buried under soil and grass and you have no idea where it is. You can sometimes locate the tank by using a long rod and prodding the ground until you feel the tank. Then, when you work your way to the center of the tank, you should encounter the lid. Of course, the septic pumping service can locate a buried tank and uncover the lid, but you might have to pay extra for the service. Once you know where the lid is located, mark it or draw a map so it can be found when it's time to pump the tank again.
Use Your Drains With Care
Living with a septic tank and drain field is a little different than relying on a sewer pipe that connects to the city sewer line. To prevent problems with your tank and field and to prolong the time between cleanings, try to conserve water and don't put things in the drain that won't decompose quickly. Things like thick baby wipes and cigarette butts will collect and build up since it takes them so long to break down. You may also want to reconsider using garbage disposal frequently as that adds even more waste to the tank.
Plan For Changes To Your Household Size
The frequency of septic tank pumping depends on the number of people living in your house, and garbage disposal is counted as an additional person. If you get used to pumping the tank every two years and then your parents move in with your or your kids grow into teens, your water use and waste will increase. That means you'll probably need to pump more frequently to keep the tank from overflowing. The same is true when your kids move out and you have an empty nest. You'll probably be able to go longer between service calls. Pay attention to the way your toilet and sinks drain in addition to watching the date on the calendar for when you should call for a septic tank service. If your drains get slow, your tank could be full and need to be pumped ahead of schedule.