Septic Tank – How Do I Empty My Septic Tank? – Answered By D.C. Merrett
How do I maintain a septic tank?
Emptying a septic tank
A well-designed septic tank should have the capacity to store up to a year’s worth of sludge. You need the right size of tank for the number of people in your home. We have an informative table below which we’ll discuss further on. The size of septic tank you have will determine the frequency of your septic tank emptying. Emptying will always depend on the capacity of the tank. If you’ve moved into a home with an older tank then you may have to look at upgrading.
When should I empty my septic tank?
- A sign that you need to have your septic tank emptied is if your washing machine or toilet runs slow. If your toilet flush is weak and you can’t find any other reason for it then you should get your septic tank checked. A professional company like D.C Merrett can check your tank as soon as possible. When a septic system works as it should. waste gets pushed through your plumbing into the tank. This waste separates as it enters the tank. The solids sink to the bottom of the tank, which usually makes up the sludge that needs to draining. It’s this solid waste that will cause problems if it overfills the tank. When the level of sludge raises too high, drainage issues can occur. If this sludge isn’t emptied, it will cause huge amounts of damage to the tank. The cost to repair your septic tank can be very high.
- Another sign that your septic tank needs emptying is when you can see “overflow” on the ground. It’ll be obvious if the tank is overfilling as you will notice the foul smell that is coming from the ground. You’ll also notice waterlogged areas where the drainage field would be. This happens as the liquid waste has nowhere to go. This results in too much liquid that’s pumped into the drainage field. If you spot this happening, you should contact a professional company straight away. Leaving issues like this can result in further costs incurred when it comes to repairing it.
What is the average size of a septic tank? / What size septic tank do I need?
The main point of emptying your septic tank is to “de-sludge” it before any problems start. It’s always best to maintain & service something so that it doesn’t break, rather than waiting for something to break which always results in drastic measures and cost. You can save a lot of money by being considerate of the future and emptying your septic tank before it fills.
If you are looking to pump your septic tank, a good way to base your schedule of emptying is asking the providers who installed your tank how quickly the tank is going to fill. They will most often give you the best advice on emptying a septic tank since they are the ones who are installing septic tanks for a living. This will give you a general idea of when you need to empty your tank to avoid any problems developing in the future. If you can’t get a rough estimate from a septic tank company then it’s a safe bet to do it on an annual basis if you are living in an average household (3/4 people in a home).
Below we have a chart featuring an estimate of the size of septic tank for a number of bedrooms for home. It’s always nice to hedge your bets by having a bigger septic tank than you need. This will also extend the intervals between “de-sludging” your tank.
|People In Property||Minimum size in litres|
|2 to 4||2720 Litres|
How often do you have to clean out your septic tank?
When it comes to septic tanks, preventing a problem is always better than facing it when it becomes a problem. You can’t be too careful with a septic tank and it’s maintenance so if you think for whatever reason your tank needs emptying, consult an expert and have them de-sludge your tank! Doing this on a regular basis is much more affordable & less disruptive than having to have your entire tank system replaced. Regular emptying is much cheaper than a repair once it overfills and makes a literal mess of everything. Overfilled tanks can be a huge hassle to repair, so it’s best to avoid problems like this.
How often do you need to pump a septic tank?
How regularly you empty your septic tank will depend on how much you are using it. It will all depend on how many people are living in your home, as well as how many appliances you are using at the time. A general rule of thumb is 600-700 litres of capacity per person. This means a household homing 4 people would have to have a 2720 litre tank. This is only an estimate, however, so you’re mileage may vary off of these sizes.
How long does it take to fill up a septic tank?
A family of 4 will fill a 2500+ litre tank in a year or so. This means that septic tank emptying should occur on an annual basis. This is according to two adults & two children, with normal household appliances like a washing machine & dishwasher. How long your own septic tank takes to fill depends on you, since your uses will differ from others. Take a brief look at your own needs, and see if you’re going to be using more water than other households.
Do all homes have a septic tank?
Not all homes will have a septic tank, as they are usually seen in rural homes that aren’t connected to sewer lines. You may see septic tanks in suburban areas but this depends on when and where they’re built. If you’re being charged for wastewater then that’s usually a good indication you don’t have a septic tank. However, the wastewater billing does not automatically mean the house is connected to a sewer. Speak to the previous home-owners/tenants or the property manager if you are unsure!
Do you need to empty a septic tank?
Septic tanks are in constant use since all water used in your home will end up going through the tank. If maintained properly, septic tanks should hold waste for up to a year or so. De-sludging is an essential preventative measure since your tank will end up filling. Solid waste will build up which has to be empty if you want your tank to work properly. We recommend emptying/de-sludging every year or so, however, this can vary depending on the size of your tank and the number of people living in your home.
Can septic tanks freeze?
Your average septic tank shouldn’t freeze since the soil around it usually acts as an insulator so it still retains heat. The pipes connected to your septic tank, however, can freeze. This can cause malfunctions & damage to the tank.
How do I stop my septic tank from freezing?
Septic tanks shouldn’t generally freeze since the tanks themselves are insulated from the harsh temperatures from the metres of soil surrounding it. The pipes that connect your home’s plumbing to the tank can freeze in prolonged icy condition. Wrapping any metal pipes in insulative material or covering any exposed pipes in mulch, hay or straw to draw moisture away will prevent your pipes from freezing up.
What do I do if my septic tank pipes have frozen?
Septic tank pipes can freeze up & cause blockages in the winter, so it’s good to know a septic tank repair service if this happens! A professional provider will take a look at the septic tank, providing a trained opinion on how to fix your tank. If anything needs repair, they should be able to do so on-site.
Can I add anti-freeze to my septic tank?
Adding anti-freeze to a septic tank isn’t advised by professional septic tank providers. The chemicals in anti-freeze will kill the beneficial bacteria in the tank. This bacteria is essential to the breakdown of solid waste in the tank. The use of chemical additives is not advised as they tend to be detrimental to the function of the septic tank.
How often should my septic tank be emptied?
Should septic tanks be emptied?
Will vinegar damage septic tank?
Vinegar isn’t strong enough to damage or kill the bacteria in the septic tank. A lot of “homebrew” cleaning recipes call for the use of vinegar, so you can rest easy with the knowledge that vinegar won’t cause any damage to your septic tank.
How do I care for my septic system?
We’ve written a few helpful tips if you are looking for ways to care for your septic system. Following these steps can be very useful as they are all ways of preventing unnecessary stress on the septic system, giving it the best chance to last for years.
Septic tank is an expensive but ultimately worthwhile investment. Tank maintenance, however, should not be taken lightly, as the correct maintenance needs to happen for it to remain functional. Septic tank cleaning is a vital process you need to arrange for your tank if you’ve had it over a few years. Sludge will build-up to the point it blocks important pipes which will damage the internals of a tank. De-sludging can be done by any professional provider like D.C. Merrett.
Knowing what you’re flushing down the toilet/putting down the sink is also vital since grease, oils and other chemicals are a big no-no when it comes to septic tank disposal.
Hiring professionals to empty your septic tank:
What do we recommend?
Is my drainage field clogged?
When should I empty my septic tank?:
You’ll know when you need to empty your septic tank if you start seeing odd pressures with your water. If your toilet starts to flush quite sluggishly, it means that your septic tank is affecting your plumbing.
Another sign that your tank is blocked & damaged is a foul stench as solid waste starts to be pumped out into the drainage field. Your drainage field should only be dealing with liquid waste which can be absorbed into the surrounding soil. Solid waste is much harder to deal with and ends up literally fouling your drainage field (usually located in your garden somewhere)
Stop using unnecessary water
Septic tank systems are made to last as they are usually made from an industrial strength of plastic. However, the pumps/plumbing can only handle so much water at any one time. The tank needs to have time to separate the solids & liquids. It needs a chance to syphon the liquids into the drainage field. Too much liquid waste can force solid waste into the drain field, which is a huge health hazard.
Learning to use the right amount of water is great for many purposes. It’ll help you save money as well as helping to maintain your septic system.
Overusing the washing machine can cause major stress on a septic system. Several washes a day can result in hundreds of litres of water being pushed through the septic tank. Depending on your system, this can be a huge strain on the tank. The best approach, in this case, is a slower one, giving the tank time to process the water.
Protecting your tank.
Cleaning out the tank
Emptying a septic tank may seem costly at first but compared to the cost of a septic tank repair or replacement, it’s nothing. If a lot of residents around your area have septic tanks you can talk to a provider about area discounts. This will end up saving you money in the long run.
The size of your tank will determine how regularly you need your tank emptied, so it’s best to consult with a professional on a proper maintenance plan to make sure you’re preventing any overfilling issues which can cause major issues & damage.
It’s also a great idea to have your tank serviced & inspected whilst it’s being emptied so that the professional company can spot any issues that may be a problem down the line.
If you are looking for a reliable company to de-sludge/empty/pump/drain your septic tank then D.C. Merrett is the provider for you. We have been providing reliable environmental services for years to the local areas. Our technicians have decades of experience between them so you know you are in good hands. Enquiring with D.C. Merrett means you’re enquiring with experience & expertise. Call our team on 01452 740782 or visit our page to learn more about our tank emptying services. We can also provide cesspit services & drain jetting. Our fleet of environmental vehicles is able to cater to any type of property. This means we can tailor our service to your exact needs, using specific equipment for your job!
Alex Lee is a content producer for D.C. Merrett and has been writing for the company for years. Alex Lee has a keen eye for bringing industry news to consumers in an easy to understand manner.