A Few Basics to Septic Systems

If you are a new homeowner, just moved away from city-sewer, or want to educate yourself on your system, here are a few basics to help you out:

  • Learn the location of your septic tank and drainfield, especially if your cover is underground.  If that’s the case, it will need to be dug up before your pumper comes.  (You can have risers installed to alleviate this problem.)
  • Your state may require that your system is pumped and/or inspected within a certain amount of time.  For example, here in Wisconsin, the requirement is every 3 years.  That maintenance is overseen by each county.  Any good local septic service will be able to explain how your county handles that requirement and what you will need to do as the homeowner.  However, each system is different and it may be wisest to pump more often.
  • Keep your system “healthy” by cutting back on antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaning products in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Using a monthly bacterial additive can also help in this matter.
  • Whenever you suspect a problem with your system, do not hesitate to call a professional.  Don’t try to fix it yourself.



33 thoughts on “A Few Basics to Septic Systems

  1. I finally had my septic system tank pumped, and I should have done it a little sooner. I hadn’t realized that pumping it every 3 years was a good standard to have in place. Is it best to have the system inspected at the same time as when I have it pumped?

    1. Thanks for your comment! We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog. To help answer your question, helping you maintain your septic system is important to us here at Kuettels Septic Service. Each time we pump a system, we visually inspect it, looking for anything that may need attention immediately, within the next year, or even a few years down the road. A good and thorough pumper should communicate this information to you, even if it’s just an “everything looks good” note on your invoice. Never hesitate to call your pumper with any questions.

  2. I like that you mention learning the location. I think it can really help out and make a difference because then you can make the tank clean from time to time. I know that you will need help for cleaning when the time comes. That is why you should know where it is located.

  3. My husband and I just bought a house that has a septic system, so I’ve been trying to learn everything I can about them. It’s our first house, so we want to make sure we take very good care of it. I really like your tip about calling a professional if a septic system ever needs to be repaired. I know I would be super confused if I ever tried a DIY job like that!

  4. I didn’t know that states would have requirements for how often you have to have your tank inspected. Is this usually more often than the manufacturer suggests? Will I need to use a certain septic service to do an inspection, or can any company complete the state requirements? Thanks for sharing this information.

  5. I want to install a septic tank in my house. Thanks for the advice about how you should get your septic pump inspected for a certain amount of time. Another thing to consider is to get a licensed professional to do the inspection.

  6. Learning the location of the septic system is a good first step. That way you can know where it is so you can check on it regularly. And, if you need a professional to come and check it out, it will be easier to point them to it. Then you both won’t spend forever trying to look for it!

  7. I’ve been reading all your information for proper care of septic systems which have been very helpful. But it doesn’t take much to confuse me. I still see all the ads for Ridex, yeast, vinegar/hot water mix. Can you recommend just what is the best product in your opinion is best for reducing the bacteria. Thank you for all you posts.

  8. Thanks for sharing. I just moved into a place that has a septic system. I had no clue that the state may require me to get it inspected and pumped every few years. I will have to look into what my state regulations are.

  9. I don’t really know that much about my septic system when it comes down to it. I didn’t know that you’re supposed to have it pumped or inspected every so often! I’ll make sure I do that, because I don’t want to risk any issues with it.

  10. I did not know that 3 years was a common time for a septic system to be pumped or inspected. That is a good amount of time because it is not too often, and not too long either. I think I should do a better job at trying to keep it healthy. Thanks for the ideas of where I can start!

  11. Thanks for sharing some basic tips for maintaining septic tanks. My husband and I just moved into a home with a septic tank, so we want to make sure we are taking proper care of it. I like that you suggest calling a professional if there are any issues. It makes sense that trying to fix it ourselves might cause serious problems.

  12. Thanks for mentioning that your state might require you to get your septic tank inspected within a certain amount of time after you move in. Specifically, you mention that in the state of Wisconsin, you must get your tank checked every three years. I also think that being cautious of the amount of grease that you put in your disposal will help to lower the chances of a septic tank failure.

  13. Your tip about learning the location of your septic tank is a really great suggestion. I have no idea where my septic tank is located. But it would be good to know in case it breaks or overflows and I have a situation on my hand. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I didn’t know that some states required you to check your septic system. I don’t think I have ever had ours inspected, so that is not good. I will have to find out if there is a certain time when I need to have it checked.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Not all states have such a requirement. Those that do send out paperwork to their residents with septic systems informing them of their deadline. Even without such a requirement, it’s still a good idea to have your system pumped and inspected every few years by a licensed professional. A lot of online sources recommend every 3 to 5 years. It sounds like your system hasn’t given you any problems so far, but having it pumped every few years can help you avoid big issues down the road.

  15. I didn’t realize that the state required you to inspect your system is pumped and inspected every few years. I can see how this is useful to know since doing this would not only keep you in good terms with the law but also keep you safe. I will make sure to find out more about this so I do things right. Thank you for the information.

  16. This is some really good information about septic tanks. I didn’t realize that most states require you to pump your septic tank. It does seem like a good thing for me and my fiance to look into. We just got our home and we don’t really know how to take care of one.

  17. I appreciate the information on the basics of septic systems. I agree that it is important to learn and know the location of your septic tank so that you can avoid it if you are doing any work in that particular area. I would imagine that if you were to puncture or do something to destroy the septic tank, it would cost a lot to repair.

  18. Thanks for the tip on finding out how often you’re required to pump the tank. I didn’t realize that this was something that was required by the state! I’ll have to contact a local septic service to find out how my county handles these requirements.

  19. I want to make sure that I take good care of my septic system. It makes sense that I would want to start by knowing it’s location! I’ll make sure that I have it pumped or inspected every couple of years or so, too.

  20. It’s good to know that there may be state requirements for your septic system. I live on the east coast, so the regulations for septic pumping might be a little more stringent. I’ll have to check online, and see what those requirements may be. The last thing I want to do is break the law!

  21. I have no clue where my septic tank is located! That’s a good idea, I will check it today! I hope mine isn’t underground. I feel like it would be a pain to dig up. I will also get a bacterial additive to put in sometimes! I never thought of that either. I’m a new homeowner so these tips were helpful, thank you!

    1. Hi Pam! We are happy you read our post and found some helpful suggestions. If your cover is in fact underground, you can have a riser installed. A riser is like an “extension” that brings your cover above-ground, which makes servicing your septic system much easier.

  22. I had no idea that some states require regular septic tank inspection. My husband and I recently moved across the country for his job and now we live in an older farm house. It seems like a good idea to get our septic tank inspected early on and to also be able to ask the service providers about local laws regarding regular inspection.

  23. I had never thought to add a bacterial additive! That definitely would help break down a lot of the materials that might be a little bit more difficult to break down or even materials that are accidentally in there. I guess you could call it a preventative. Thanks so much for all the information!

  24. My sister recently bought a home that uses a septic tank. She is wondering how often she should have it pumped by a professional. I didn’t realize that some states have a set amount of time that you must have it serviced, and that a local installation company will know what the requirement is. I’ll be sure to let my sister know about this information.

  25. I want to install a septic system for my home. I had no idea that it is required to get your system pumped every 3 years. Another thing to consider is to get your septic tank inspected once a year by a professional. That way, you can be sure everything is running smoothly.

  26. I think that septic tanks are great options for home sewage, and we recently moved into a home with one of these systems. I’ve never had to deal with septic tanks in the past, so I’m glad you said to learn the location of the cover. I’m going to have to see if I can figure that out, and see when the next time we should have our septic tank pumped and serviced should be! Thanks for the information!

  27. It is good to know that cutting back on antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaning products can help your septic system. Paying attention to what you put down the drains in your kitchen and bathrooms would be beneficial. I have heard that it is wise to have a septic tank pumped before moving into a new home.

  28. I appreciate how you said that some states require a tank to be pumped or inspected every so often. My husband and I just moved and have a tank on our property. We will be sure to find out if there are any laws, so that we can stay on top on it’s maintenance.

  29. I just wanted to thank you for helping me understand more about septic tanks. To be honest, I had no idea that each state recommends different amounts of times for the tank to be inspected. Definitely sounds worthwhile to make sure someone understand the regulations that are in place in their state for their system. I know I’m kind of curious to see what the differences are between each state.

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