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4 Common Septic System Problems

Before you have a septic system problem causing a wet basement (yuck) or bad odours, learn the four most common septic system problems to look for to avoid costly repairs.

eptic systems are very efficient at what they were designed to do – break down human waste. The problem is when a septic system is asked to deal with something other than human waste. Septic systems work by promoting the growth of specific bacteria that breaks down the majority of the waste into liquid or gas forms. The system releases the gas and distributes the liquid to the surrounding soil. Every two to four years (depending on the size of the septic tank and the number of people using it) the solid waste that doesn’t break down needs to be pumped out.

Regular maintenance by professionals like Best Plumbing and Drainage is important to avoid unfortunate backups, clogs, or leaks. If there’s a problem, usually your nose will let you know. There’s a stomach-turning thought.

Too Much Water In The Tank

There’s a delicate balance required for waste to break down efficiently and if there’s too much water going into the system, the solid waste is lifted from the bottom of the tank. The solids can clog the system in a few places. This can lead to sewage backing up into household plumbing or seeping into your basement floor.

Do a load or two of laundry a day instead of saving ten loads for Saturday morning. Upgrade to low flow or dual flush toilets to minimize the water used. Install water-saving shower heads. These will all help.

Watch What You Put Down The Drain

Whether we’re talking about what’s flushed down the toilet or sent down the kitchen drain, septic tanks were designed to handle human waste and toilet paper. That’s it. When other items are flushed, even those that claim to be bio-degradable, problems can arise. Whether these items don’t break down at all (such as tampons or diapers), or take a lot longer to break down than human waste (paper towels, kitchen waste), this all adds to the level of solid waste in the tank upsetting the balance between liquids and solids.

Read more on how to handle an overflow problem.

Use Less Detergent

In the same vein as the point above, the phosphates used in powder detergents and soaps cause problems because the beneficial bacteria that breaks down the waste in the septic tank is destroyed. Without that natural breakdown process, the septic tank will fill much faster than it should causing backups and blockages. Use liquid and gel soaps for your washing machine, dishwasher, or kitchen sink because they lack phosphates.

The Chemicals Have To Go Somewhere

Septic systems are not designed to handle toxic chemicals such as harsh cleaning agents or other household chemicals. These chemicals cause environmental problems because the liquid waste is delivered to the surrounding soil and the good bacteria are killed.

The best way to deal with septic tank issues is not to have any in the first place! Lessen the chances of problems with your system by scheduling regular septic system maintenance with the expert drainage professionals at BEST Plumbing & Drainage Contractors. Call 519-438-6565 to schedule your appointment now.

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At BEST Plumbing and Drainage Contractors, we feel it's important to help homeowners understand the role of the contractor and the various construction solutions available for each unique plumbing, wet basement repair and drainage issue. We are more than happy to consult with you and help navigate the process.

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