If you’ve just had a new septic system installed, you probably have plenty of questions. How do you keep it working properly? What can and can’t go down your drains? A new septic system is an expensive investment, and you want to keep it in good working order. Well-maintained systems can keep working flawlessly for up to 40 years. Here’s how to care for your new septic system.
Simple Tips for Septic System Care
There’s a lot you can do to keep your system working well. Taking care of a new septic system isn’t hard, but there are a few important things to keep in mind. On a day-to-day basis, be mindful of what you’re washing down your drains or flushing down your toilets and that you’re using water efficiently. In addition, there are septic system maintenance tasks that will require the help of a professional.
Don’t wash harsh chemicals down your drains. Septic systems work on a biological basis. Helpful bacteria in the septic tank break down the solids that get flushed or washed down the drain. However, sending cleaning chemicals, bleach, nail polish remover, or other harsh chemicals down your drains can kill those bacteria, which means the waste will take much longer to break down and the system might fill with solids and become backed-up.
Use septic-safe toilet paper. Papers that aren’t made for septic systems are often too thick and don’t break down as quickly.
Use water efficiently. Installing low-flow plumbing fixtures and using efficient washing machines and dishwashers will help prevent your septic system from getting overloaded.
Maintain your drain field. The drain field is a vital part of your new septic system, working with the tank to release and filter the water that goes through the system. Don’t drive on it or park heavy equipment on it. While it’s fine to plant a lawn or even flowers and perennials over your drain field, avoid planting trees and shrubs, which have deeper roots that might damage the septic system.
Have your system regularly inspected and pumped. The size of your household will ultimately determine how often your system will need to be pumped, but it should be inspected at least every three years by a septic system professional. They can ensure that the system is in good condition, and alert you to whether it needs to be pumped or not.
Are Flushable Wipes Safe for Septic Systems?
“Flushable” wipes are not safe for septic systems. Though some brands might claim they’re septic-safe, avoid flushing anything but toilet paper and human waste down your toilets when you’re on a septic system. In fact, that’s good advice to follow whether you have a septic system or are connected to a municipal sewer system.
Other items you shouldn’t flush include:
Feminine hygiene products.
Diapers and baby wipes.
Cooking oils or grease.
What to Do if Your Brand-New Septic System Smells
Well-maintained septic systems usually don’t smell. Septic odors are usually the result of gases or solids trapped somewhere in the system. If your brand-new septic system smells, there are things you can do to get rid of the odor.
Sometimes, the odor is due to food or dirty water trapped in the drain. An easy and often effective way to deal with this is to pour a cup of baking soda down the smelly drain, followed by a few cups of boiling water. In many cases, this clears the mess away and eliminates the odor. Even if there isn’t an odor, this is an effective way to maintain the system’s pH balance; consider doing it weekly.
You can purchase septic system booster products at most home improvement centers. Use these products according to the directions on the package and monitor whether the odor goes away afterward.
If you have tried these remedies and the odor still hasn’t gone away, it’s time to call a plumber, especially if the smell seems to be getting worse.
Trust Your Local Mr. Rooter for Septic Services
If you have a new septic system and observe these general day-to-day maintenance tips your system should continue to work trouble-free for years to come. But if for some reason your system has a problem, or isn’t working right, the best way to deal with the issue is to call a local plumbing professional. Your local Mr. Rooter is available 24/7 for plumbing emergencies. Give us a call at (855) 982-2028 or request an estimate online.