Many homeowners in Northern Virginia use a septic tank but overlook the important task of maintenance. Without regular service, your septic system may need expensive repairs. Unfortunately, homeowners often don’t know about proper septic tank maintenance, let alone where the tank is on their property. These five tips will help keep your septic tank system and home plumbing in working order.

Reduce Your Water Usage

Using too much water can overload the septic system. To avoid this, use less sink water when washing dishes, washing your hands, or brushing your teeth. Taking shorter showers helps as well. You can also install aerators, nozzles, or flow reducers on faucets. Other ways to conserve water include filling up your washing machine or dishwasher before turning it on, and installing a water-efficient toilet, which can use half as much water during flushing. If your faucet is leaking, fix it promptly because it can waste a lot of water.

Use the Garbage Disposal Sparingly

Everything that goes into your garbage disposal ends up in the septic tank. Grease may not even make it that far; it can harden as it cools, creating drain or pipe blockages. A pipe clog can cause major damage and be expensive to fix. Disposing of too much food using the disposal can overfill the septic tank. To prevent trouble, dispose of food scraps in the trash or choose composting instead.

Minimize Use of Heavy-Duty Cleaners

Use only hand soap, dish soap, and other septic safe products. If you want to have a healthy septic tank, avoid chemical drain cleaners that can not only cause pipe damage; they can also kill microorganisms that break down waste in the septic tank. Also, avoid pouring hazardous materials down your drains, such as paint thinners, gasoline, motor oil, or varnish.

Don’t Use the Toilet as a Garbage Disposal

Toilet paper is the only thing you should flush down the toilet. Non-flushable wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, diapers, coffee grounds, cat litter, and dental floss can cause clogs as well as damage your septic tank. Oil, antifreeze, paint, and other household chemicals should also not be flushed.

Regular Septic Tank Maintenance

A healthy septic tank requires preventative maintenance, such as pumping solids from the tank. For a 1,000-gallon tank serving a family of four, this should be done every three to five years. You could go longer depending on usage. The tank should be checked at least once a year to determine its condition. But the interval between pumping depends on the tank’s size, the size of your household, volume of solids, and how much wastewater is generated. It’s also a good idea to schedule maintenance by a professional plumber familiar with septic tank maintenance and repair.

Contact Cardinal Plumbing

At Cardinal Plumbing, our plumbers are experts at septic tank maintenance to keep your system safe and efficient. We are providing no contact service during the coronavirus pandemic. Using sanitizer and following social distancing recommendations, we are here to serve you. Call 703-686-5668 to reach us at our Alexandria, Sterling, or Gainesville locations to schedule a visit by a plumber near you in Northern Virginia.