Being a first-time homeowner is extremely exciting but can bring with it a lot of stress. If you’ve never owned a home then there’s likely a long list of things that you’re learning as you go. One of those things is probably a septic system — why you need one, how it works, and the best way to care for it. We’ve been there, so we know what you’re feeling right now. In this blog, we’ll answer all your basic septic system-related questions so that you can check one thing off your to-do list as you settle into your new home.
Why You Have/Need a Septic System
Your home will have a septic system if it’s not connected to the municipal sewer. Your septic tank will serve only your home and therefore is your responsibility to care for. The purpose of a septic system is to remove waste and wastewater from your home. You need the system to break down the waste and keep it moving away from your home. It’s also important to note that some states have certain regulations and expectations regarding septic systems. For example, in some states, getting a septic inspection before selling your home is required. Miller’s highly recommends getting a real estate septic inspection done before you purchase a home just to ensure that the previous owner took good care of the system. Miller’s offers these real estate inspections should you decide you want one.
How it Works
There are several different types of septic systems that you may encounter, however, in this blog, we’ll focus on the most common type. All septic systems work in generally the same way so this information should be a good baseline of knowledge for all septic owners. You have three major parts to your septic system, each plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the system.
- The pipes are the first major section of your septic system. These pipes connect to your plumbing system and take the waste from your home to the septic tanks. They also connect the septic tank to the drain field (which we’ll discuss later). These pipes carry all of the wastewater.
- The septic tank is the next major section of your septic system. This tank is typically located underground and serves as a collection area for all of the waste. In the tank, solid waste will be broken down before moving to the next section. Newer septic systems will have risers with lids that are level with your yard. This makes it easy to locate the system when it’s time for pumping.
- The drain field is the final section of your septic system. This is typically a large section of grass in which the wastewater will be disposed of or broken down further by the soil. This section is important because it’s the final holding spot for all of the wastewater. You may also be required to have a reserve field which is essentially a second drain field.
Best Practices: Caring for Your System
Now that you have some idea why you need your septic system and how it works we’ll look at some things that you can do to care for it. These are best practices you can follow to keep your septic system functioning properly and for a long time.
- Have your septic tank pumped and the system inspected by a professional every 3-4 years. Miller’s experts are happy to come out and complete this task for you! Doing this regular maintenance will help ensure that the system is working effectively and efficiently.
- Watch what you’re planting around your septic system. Large-rooted plants like trees can grow large enough that their roots will puncture pipes or even the septic tank itself. Being aware of what you’re planting will keep a costly accident from occurring. It’s also recommended that you plant grass or drought-tolerant plants in your drain field to help keep the dirt in place.
- Try to be mindful of the amount of water you’re using in your home. Wasting water with long showers, tons of laundry, or constant dishwasher loads can be bad for your septic system. Constantly running water and waste through your septic system can cause it to work harder than necessary which may lead to more frequent breaking.
If you’re a new homeowner we hope that you found this blog helpful! Even if you’re an experienced homeowner, we hope that this blog refreshes your septic system knowledge. As always Miller’s Services is dedicated to you and your needs. Our team of septic experts is here to answer your questions that you may have. Just give us a call at (804) 758-4314.