Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is your septic tank backing up? | 24 Rooter explains how to maintain your septic system.

If your septic tank and system is backing up in Yakima WA we may be able to help you better understand how to maintain your septic system to reduce costs of pumping the septic tank all too frequently. 

Here Are A Few Quick Tips

1. Make sure you have easy access to your septic tank lids. Often they are buried and not very easy to access on a regular basis if they have to be dug up every time. We would suggest installing septic risers to make access easier.

2. Check the thickness of the solids floating in the tank every 6 months. Once the solids become 4-6 inches thick, the septic tank should be pumped out. For a single family home, this is usually every 2-3 years.

3. Use septic treatment in your tank every 2-3 months and fill out your calendar in advance to help you remember to do this. A cheap and effective alternative to store bought treatment solution is sugar and yeast. Combine equal parts active bread yeast and sugar in a cup of luke warm water (a tablespoon of each is fine) and stir it together. Leave the solution setting for 5 minutes to activate. Flush the solution down your toilet. This creates an enzyme in your septic tank and your plumbing drains, which eats away at the solids and prolongs the life of your septic system.

4. Limit your use of bleach! If you are on a septic tank, you do not want to use too much bleach as it will kill the good enzymes that are in your tank. A safe alternative to bleach is Oxyclean. Once you learn to use Oxyclean properly you will probably never go back to using bleach anyway. Oxyclean works by oxygenating soils and stains without harming and breaking down your clothes. Not only will it clean your clothes very well but it will also not effect the good bacterias in your septic tank while having an effect on your entire septic system like a small sewage treatment plant.

5. No powder soap! Always use liquid soaps for you laundry and dishwasher. Powdered soaps don't break down completely and they will clog up your drain pipes and the baffle in the septic tank. If you have a water softener, powdered soaps tend to break down better but it isn't worth the risk of having a clogged drain.

6. Use septic safe toilet paper! All to often I see septic tanks that appear to be WAY over due for pumping. When I ask the homeowner how long it has been since the last time the tank was pumped they often say "maybe 4-5 years?" WOW....the septic tank will actually look like it hasn't been pumped out in 15-20 years! Sorry folks, the triple ultra thick and ultra soft toilet paper will wreak havoc on your sewer line and more importantly on your septic tank. If it doesn't say "Septic Safe" on the package....don't use it. The paper will not break down with non-septic safe papers, even with treatment. Therefore it builds up in the tank rapidly and causes the tank to prematurely have to be pumped causing you extra costs of having the septic tank pumped out. Or worse yet, if the tank is neglected and you forget about pumping the tank out the solids in the tank will build up to a level where they are making their way out into the drain field. Once your drain field is plugged with solids coming from your tank you may as well prepare to spend Tens of Thousands of Dollars to have your drain field replaced.

7. Install an aeration system! Did you know that you can turn your septic tank into a waste water treatment facility? Yes it's true. At 24 Rooter of Yakima we have been installing Aeration Systems  for several years. When done properly these systems can actually restore a failing septic system and prolong the life of a drain field indefinitely. Learn more here
 about how it is done and see how 24 Rooter can help you get this system installed.


  1. Good information as my parents have a rental house that has a septic I will pass this along to them thank you for the information :)

    1. Thank you very much Bonnie!:) Let them know we pump out septic tanks also.

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