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03. Routine Maintenance

John Todd Company performing routine maintenance on a septic system in Colorado.

As much as we would all love to bury our septic systems and never think of them again, routine maintenance can be crucial to the system's function, not to mention the protection of the environment from harmful wastewater as well as keeping your wallet happy. Just like any other system in your home (i.e. air filters, water heaters, etc.) your septic system needs regular attention. This article aims to educate you on the components that need regular maintenance and why.

 

First, it is helpful to know the basics of how a septic system works. If you are unsure, please check out our article about it by clicking here.

 

Second, the type of septic system makes a large difference in the amount and frequency requirements of routine maintenance. We will cover the basic types of septic systems here.

 

 

Gravity Systems:

 A "Gravity"  Septic System is exactly what it sounds like. The only thing involved in moving the water through the pipes is the force of gravity. These are the most simple systems and were very common until only recent history. This type of system also requires the least amount of routine maintenance which is the biggest perc of owning a sytem like this. For more details on the pros and cons of these systems visit our article on "Modern Treatment Technology", this post will focus on the components that need to be checked up on periodically.

 1. Outlet Tee or Baffle - Check Yearly

  This is the most crucial component to a gravity system. It keeps organic matter that floats at the top of the septic tank from going into the leach field. Even just a few weeks with a damaged or broken Outlet Tee can cause a leach field (Soil Treatment Area) failure. If you have a concrete tank there may be what is called a Baffle, which is simply a concrete wall that protects the outlet pipe from the organic matter. The danger with a concrete baffle is that the concrete can corrode overtime leaving your leach field vulnerable. Simply check once a year that your Outlet Tee or Baffle is not letting surface water in from the top of your tank.

 

Proper outlet tee for a septic system in Colorado. John Todd CompanySeptic tank with failing outlet baffle. Baffle is coroded and should be replaced with a tee.

 

 2. Effluent Filter - Clean Yearly

  Some gravity septic systems use a filter placed in the outlet tee that protect your leach field from "effluent" or tiny particles suspended in the septic tank. These filters work extremely well in protecting your leach field but they can plug if neglected for too long. When they become plugged the water will find the path of least resistance, which in most cases would be into your basement! If you have an effluent filter, get it cleaned at least every 12 months.

 

Septic tank and outlet tee with a Sim-Tech yellow 4 inch bristle filter. Install effluent filter in outlet tee of septic tank.Clogged effluent filter in the outlet tee of a septic tank. Can cause sewer backup if not cleaned.

 

3. Get it Pumped - Every 2-4 years (depending on use)

  Every septic system needs to be pumped periodically.  That is because leach field are only designed to treat water and the small organic matter suspended in it. Septic tanks actually act as a holding tank for large solids, which means they will eventually fill the tank and cause issues if not removed. For homes with large families we recommend pumping every 2 -3 years, while smaller homes can wait up to 4 years to be pumped.

John Todd Company septic tank cleaning truck septic pumping truck.

 

Pressure Dosed Systems:

 Pressure dosed systems require more maintenance than traditional systems. This is because there are simply more components that can fail. However, these systems are far superior for wastewater treatment. Again for more information, check out our post on "Modern Treatment Technology". Here is list of the componenets that should be maintained:

 1. Outlet Tee or Baffle

  This is the most crucial component to a gravity system. It keeps organic matter that floats at the top of the septic tank from going into the leach field. Even just a few weeks with a damaged or broken Outlet Tee can cause a leach field (Soil Treatment Area) failure. If you have a concrete tank there may be what is called a Baffle, which is simply a concrete wall that protects the outlet pipe from the organic matter. The danger with a concrete baffle is that the concrete can corrode overtime leaving your leach field vulnerable. Simply check once a year that your Outlet Tee or Baffle is not letting surface water in from the top of your tank.

 2. Effluent Filter

  Some septic systems use a filter placed in the outlet tee that protect your leach field from "effluent" or tiny particles suspended in the septic tank. These filters work extremely well in protecting your leach field but they can plug if neglected for too long. When they become plugged the water will find the path of least resistance, which in most cases would be into your basement! If you have an effluent filter, get it cleaned at least every 12 months.

 3. Pump & Float Switches - Check Yearly.

  Pressure dosed septic systems use a pump to force the water out into the leach field. There are many pros to this kind of system, but the pump and float switches can break periodically. Pumps, depending on the brand, can last between 10-20 years if properly maintained. Float switches are cheaper component that may need to be replaced more often. Float switches control when the pump turns on and off, and also can trigger the alarm to inform you that there is a problem. It's good to have these checked and replaced if there is any damage present.

Replace effluent pump septic pump every 10 to 20 years.Replace and calibrate float switches easily with a float switch tree. John Todd Company can install and replace float switches in Colorado

 4. Alarm, Control Panel, and Electrical Connections. - Check Yearly

  These components keep control your pump and tell it when to turn on and off, which it does through communication with the floats switches. The latest control panels and alarms can track how many times the pump has kicked on and how long it ran for each cycle; this can give you a clue about potential problems before they occur. Regular maintenance is good to ensure your system is functioning properly.

 

John Todd Company can service install and replace septic alarms to warn you before septic or sewer backup

 

 5. Lateral Flushing - Perform Every 2-4 Years

  Some leach fields have the ability to force out some of the organic matter that has built up over time.  This can greatly protect your leach field from become plugged. We recommend getting this done every 2-4 years.

 

Lateral flush on your septic system is a habit to have. John Todd Company can inspect and perform lateral flushes every year.

 

 6. Get it Pumped - Every 2-4 Years.

  Every septic system needs to be pumped periodically.  That is because leach field are only designed to treat water and the small organic matter suspended in it. Septic tanks actually act as a holding tank for large solids, which means they will eventually fill the tank and cause issues if not removed. For homes with large families we recommend pumping every 2 -3 years, while smaller homes can wait up to 4 years to be pumped.

 

 There are many other types of septic systems than the ones listed above. If you are not sure what type of system you have or if you have questions about maintenance on a specific system, please call our office or email us with the contact information below and we would be happy to help.

 John Todd Co. offers routine maintenance contracts that breaks up the cost of these services into a monthly billing cycle. These contracts allow us to automatically schedule your service when it's due and gives you the freedom of a care-free septic system. Please contact the office if you would like to sign up for the service.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Jesse Todd

Operations & Marketing Manager