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Septic Systems 101: Learn the Basics of Septic Systems

Why Homeowners Need to Know About Septic Systems

Septic systems are an important part of a home plumbing system. Homeowners who have well-water, no water meter, and do not pay for sewer on their monthly utility bills most likely have a septic tank.

All of a home’s drains lead to the main sewer line or septic tank to dispose of wastewater. The city controls sewer lines, whereas the homeowner controls a septic tank. Septic tanks are more common in rural areas with no centralized sewer system.

Homeowners should know the basics of their septic system to save money and protect the safety of their households. Knowing how their septic system works helps homeowners properly maintain it and prevent a septic system breakdown. Homeowners can brush up on their septic system knowledge this back-to-school season with this quick guide from professional plumbers.

How Do Septic Systems Work?

Septic systems are made up of two main components, a drain field (also called a soil absorption field) and the septic tank container. The water from the home’s drain exits the house through the plumbing system into the underground septic tank. Septic tanks are made of concrete or durable materials to safely hold water underground.

Once the wastewater reaches the septic tank, the process of disposing of the wastewater begins. Solids in the water sink to the bottom, and greasy, oily substances rise to the top of the septic tank as the wastewater sits inside.

Wastewater from septic systems is called effluent. The effluent is disposed of by releasing it slowly into the soil underground or evaporating it. The area where the effluent is released is called the soil absorption field. Septic systems use various methods to disinfect the wastewater and prevent spreading pathogens.

Signs You Need Septic Tank Repair

wet patchesHomeowners should be looking for warning signs that their septic system needs repair. A qualified professional should perform septic tank repair immediately after a problem is detected to prevent the problem from worsening. The longer the septic tank is left in a state of disrepair, the more damage could occur.

A malfunctioning septic tank could cause wastewater to backflow up the drains into the home. Backflow is usually accompanied by foul smells that could make it difficult to even be inside the house until the problem is fixed. Exposure to wastewater's germs, bacteria, and toxins can harm human health.

Homeowners should inspect the area around the septic tank outdoors to check for signs of a malfunctioning septic system. Warning signs include strong, bad smells around the septic tank. Wet, squishy patches of soil in the lawn around the drain field could also indicate a problem with the septic system, like an underground leak.

Septic Tank Maintenance

septic tank maintenanceHaving a professional plumber do septic tank maintenance can go a long way in improving the longevity and safety of the system. During maintenance appointments, the plumber will have a chance to inspect the septic tank for signs of damage. Catching problems early can save homeowners a ton of money by preventing future damage.

Homeowners should be careful never to flush anything besides toilet paper down the toilet to protect their septic tank. Certain types of toilet paper are manufactured to be healthier for septic tanks than others. Homeowners should also avoid exposing their septic tank to harsh chemicals, including draining hot tub water into the tank.

Septic tanks must be flushed every once in a while by a professional plumber. It depends on the tank’s size and how many people live in a home, but a septic tank could need to be cleaned anywhere from every 1-5 years. It can be dangerous for homeowners to flush their septic tank, so it’s best to leave it up to the experts. One other thing that homeowners need to be aware of when it comes to maintaining their septic tanks is that the lawn's landscaping could impact the septic system's function.

About Guardian Plumbing and Drain

Guardian Plumbing and Drain is proud to provide top-of-the-line home services to its neighbors in Cobourg, ON, and the surrounding areas. They offer free estimates, same-day service, and financing. Call them today for septic services in Cobourg, ON.


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Guardian Plumbing and Drain
200 McGuire St
Cobourg, ON K9A 0H9
Phone: 289-251-1626
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