Five Common Questions About Septic Systems

Five Common Questions About Septic Systems

May 1, 2020

Anyone who’s lived most of their life in an urban environment may feel perplexed when they move to a new home with a septic system. In our years of providing these services, homeowners’ septic service questions in Bay City, MI often focus on how these systems work and how to maintain them. If you are a newcomer to septic systems, here are the answers to five common questions.

I want my septic system to run well! Should I try this new additive?

Short answer: no. Liquid pipe cleaners, extra chemicals and other methods that may be common “quick fixes” with municipal systems are nearly deadly to septic systems. Chemicals kill the helpful bacteria and reduce the system’s ability to break down waste. If you use additives rather than staying on top of maintenance, you risk long-term damage that is expensive to repair.

I know I need to pump my tank, but how often should I schedule this service?

An experienced septic technician can help you determine a pumping schedule. Frequency depends on the number of people in your household and the size of your tank. If your family of five moved into a home previously occupied by one or two people, we guarantee you will need to pump the tank more often. Most customers schedule this service once a year or every two years, depending on use.

How do I know if the tank requires pumping?

Normally, there are no obvious signs your tank needs maintenance, which is why you hear nightmare stories of unexpected septic tank failure. Your best approach is to stay on schedule with these appointments.

By the time you notice signs, any need for maintenance is long overdue and you need to act quickly. Signs include liquids surfacing over the tank or drain field, overflows in the cleanout and a backup incident in your home. If sewage is pouring out from toilets and shower drains, failure is imminent. Contact us immediately.

How do you clean a septic tank?

Processes often vary by the type of system you installed. Generally, when we clean tanks, we open the lids and pump out the waste. We may inspect the tank for any issues as well, especially if you noticed something unusual. Once complete, we give you a write-up of the work performed and any issues requiring repair.

I have a backup! What did I do wrong?

If you are up to date on your maintenance schedule, you may have done nothing wrong. Backups can occur from a tank failure, but they have other causes, too. The system’s cleanout pipe (the short PVC pipe that sticks out in the ground between the tank and your home) could be blocked. Also, the liquid level in your tank may be low. If there are no blockages in your cleanout pipe and the liquid level is normal, call a technician immediately.

Septic systems are also more likely to have problems as they age. If your system is pushing 25 years old or you do not know when it was installed, you may have to look into replacing it.

Thornton Brothers Sewer Service offers nearly 50 years of experience cleaning sewers and fixing septic systems. We are prepared to address any homeowners’ septic service questions in Bay City, MI, and offer free estimates if you require repairs or installation. Call us today to schedule a visit.

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Thornton Brothers Sewer Service
2476 Larry Ln
Bay City, MI 48706

(989) 684-1400


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