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Frequently Asked Septic System Questions

How often should I get my septic tank pumped?

Our experts at Paterson Septic & Hydrovac Service recommend every 2 to 4 years. This can depend on how much your system is being used, which can be determined by the number of individuals using the system and their habits. It is recommended that if you are moving into a property that has a septic tank, have the tank pumped and inspected to determine its condition.

What are the causes for septic system failure?

For most septic systems in place today, their useful lifecycle is between 20 and 30 years, but that can be affected by how often the system is used and how well it is maintained.

One cause for failure is that the soil in the leaching facility can become clogged. Also pipes can be blocked or crushed. Faulty installation can be another cause for failure. There are many things that can go wrong, but your best defense is regular maintenance.

By having your septic system pumped and regularly inspected, you can avoid many of the causes for system failure.


Will cleaners hurt my system?

Some household cleaning products do kill the bacteria that are needed for proper decomposition within your tank. Common perpetrators include detergents, toilet cleaners, paint, polishes, etc. Remember that many household chemicals and products are not suitable for introduction to your septic system.


Should I use septic additives?

At Paterson Septic & Hydrovac Service, we recommend avoiding additives. Most will over-stimulate bacteria within your system, affecting your system’s natural working conditions.


I smell septic in the house. What does that mean?

This smell can be attributed to many things. One reason is that drains within your home have dried out. This allows for smells to travel more easily. A common solution is to run the water in toilets, sinks and showers that are not operated regularly. Another cause for the smell could be a cracked or loose gasket around your toilet.


If there is a smell outside, this could be coming from the septic system’s vent pipe, which is typically located on your roof. This pipe allows for gases from the septic system to be released. To make sure that no other outlets are leaking odours, ensure that caps are tightly fastened to all stand pipes, monitor tubes and cleanouts.


Will high volumes of use overload the system?

If your system will be used more frequently than usual, there is a risk for overload. If you know more people will be using the system, have your tank pumped before this increase in use occurs. You can also think of renting portable toilets for large events.

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