When it comes to septic systems, it's always better to maintain now than repair later. Septic system issues can be catastrophic if they're not caught in time. Before you end up with a major problem on your hands, follow these tips to know what to watch out for.

1. Be Mindful of What Goes Down

If you have a septic tank, then you have to be careful about what you put down your drains and flush down your toilet. Be sure to use biodegradable toilet paper, and don't flush baby wipes, facial tissues, or anything else.

As for your sinks, take care to avoid putting fats, oils, or greases down the drain. It's also not advisable to install a garbage disposal when you have a septic system, as it will lead to more solid waste in your septic tank.

2. Inspect and Pump 

Once a year or so, open the lid to your septic tank and perform a visual inspection. Never climb into the tank because the gases can be deadly. If the sludge at the bottom looks like it's filling 25% of the tank or more, it's time to get it pumped.

Most septic tanks need to be pumped every 3-5 years. But if your home produces more wastewater than average, you may need to have it pumped more often.

If you don't get your septic tank pumped regularly and too much sludge builds up, the results can be disastrous. For example, if the solid waste has nowhere to go, it can back up into your home — specifically your sinks, toilets, and bathtubs — or into your septic drain field, causing potentially irreparable damage.

3. Nothing but Grass Should Cover Your Drain Field

Avoid planting trees on or near the septic drain field, as tree roots can wreak havoc on the pipes. Your drain field also isn't the best place to plant a garden or dig around the dirt in general.

Never drive or park a car over the drain field. You also shouldn't install asphalt, concrete, or any other non-permeable surface on top of the drain field, as the bacteria need oxygen to break down waste. Sticking with dirt and grass is the safest bet.

4. Conserve Water

If you want to extend the life of your septic system, reduce your household water usage. The less water you use, the less wastewater running through your septic system. Here are some simple ways you can conserve water in your home:

  • Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators
  • Install a dual-flush toilet with half and full flush options
  • Fix any leaks in your plumbing
  • Take shorter/less frequent showers
  • Only run your dishwasher when it's full

By no means is this an exhaustive list; research other creative ways to cut back on your water usage. As a bonus, when you conserve water, you're doing your part to help the planet.

5. Don't Ignore Septic System Issues

It's important to call in the septic professionals if you notice any of the following issues:

  • Slow drains on multiple plumbing fixtures in your home
  • Sewage backing up into sinks, toilets, and bathtubs
  • Water pooling in the vicinity of your drain field
  • A noxious odor coming from your drain field

These can be signs of a serious problem with your septic system. It's critical to remedy these issues as soon as possible because wastewater from a failing septic system can contaminate local groundwater and become a public health hazard.

By taking some simple precautions, you can avoid many common septic system problems. If you do experience any issues, call a local septic technician as soon as possible.

For all of your septic service needs, contact American Portables