The bacteria in your home's septic tank are an important part of ensuring that your septic tank works correctly. The bacteria digest solid waste and turn it into carbon dioxide and water, and the water flows out the septic tank's outlet into your home's drain field. Keeping the bacteria in your tank healthy means that you won't have to pump your tank as often since they will be able to process the solid waste quickly — making sure the bacteria in your tank are thriving is an important part of septic tank maintenance. To learn how to make sure the bacteria in your septic tank are able to do their jobs correctly, read on
Avoid Flushing Antibacterial Chemicals or Harsh Cleaners Down Your Drains
The most important rule for keeping the bacteria in your septic tank healthy is to never flush cleaning products or antibacterial soap down your drains. Cleaning products like bleach kill bacteria quickly, and even a small amount in your septic tank can destroy all of the bacteria contained in it. Toilet bowl cleaner and drain cleaner can also harm the bacteria in your septic tank by making the water in the tank too acidic for bacteria to thrive.
Before flushing any cleaning product down the drain, make sure that the packaging says it's safe for septic systems. You can also use baking soda and vinegar as a cleaning product since it's safer for bacteria compared to harsh cleaners like bleach.
Don't Use Additives Designed to Boost Your Bacteria's Ability to Process Waste
Bacteria will be naturally introduced to your septic tank whenever you flush solid waste down the toilet, so there's no need to purchase septic system additives that contain bacteria in order to introduce more bacteria into your tank. The amount of bacteria introduced into your septic tank from solid waste is adequate to prevent solids from building up in the tank.
In fact, bacterial additives can even harm your septic tank. The bacteria in your septic tank produce carbon dioxide and water as a byproduct when they're eating the solid waste in the tank, and too much carbon dioxide can cause the water in your tank to become turbulent. This allows solid waste to escape from the outlet pipe in your septic tank into the drain field, which can clog the drain field pipes. In addition, bacteria can also cling together to produce strong biofilm mats that can block your septic tank's outlet. In order to avoid damaging your septic tank, it's best to rely on the natural bacteria that are introduced to your tank whenever you use the bathroom rather than using septic tank additives.
Avoid Flushing Fat Down the Drain, Since Bacteria Can't Process It
Finally, you should avoid pouring fat and grease down your drain. The anaerobic bacteria in your septic tank have a difficult time processing fat, and they're unable to break it down quickly. Fat will slowly accumulate in your septic tank, which means you'll need to pump it out more often. Wipe down plates and cutlery with a paper towel before you wash them in order to remove all of the greases, and then place the paper towels in the trash rather than flushing them into your septic tank.
Overall, the most important way to keep the bacteria in your septic tank healthy is to avoid flushing harsh cleaners down the drains in your home. It doesn't take much bleach to completely eliminate all of the bacteria inside of a septic tank. If you accidentally flush too much bleach or another harsh cleaner down the drain and kill all of the bacteria inside the tank, you'll need to call a septic tank maintenance service to have it pumped out — without removing the chemical killing all of the bacteria, they'll never be able to grow in your septic tank. As long as you avoid flushing harsh chemicals down the drain, however, the bacteria in your septic tank will naturally thrive on their own — there's no reason to use chemical additives or introduce more bacteria to make them break down solids quicker.
If you are in need of septic tank maintenance, contact a local professional to help.
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