If you've recently moved into a home with a septic tank, you may be unsure about what's involved when it's time to clean the system. Since solid wastes accumulate in the tank over time, it will need to be cleaned out eventually or sewage will back up into your home and yard. Here's what you can expect when it's time to have your tank cleaned.

Find The Lid

Ideally, the previous owner placed risers on the septic tank lid or marked it in some other way. If not, and if you don't have a diagram of the system, you'll need to poke around your yard and look for the lid. You can let the septic cleaning company do this, but there may be an extra charge. Be sure to ask when you call for service so you know what to expect. You may be able to locate the lid yourself since it isn't buried very deep.

Push a metal rod into the grass in various locations in your yard until you find a place it meets resistance. If you have a metal detector, that will help you find the lid too. Once you find the lid, cut away the grass so the lid is exposed and ready for the contractor to begin work. Try to lift up the grass along with the roots and soil so you can replace it when the job is done.

Pump The Tank

When the contractor arrives, he or she will drop a vacuum hose into your septic tank to pump out all the contents. The hose is attached to a tanker truck that collects the waste for proper disposal. When all the solids and liquids are removed, the tank is backwashed. This knocks sludge and debris off the wall so the tank is clean. Once the tank is clean, the contractor inspects it for signs of leaks, cracks, and broken parts. If repairs are needed, they can be done at that time. It's a good idea to make repairs when they are minor, because they could eventually cause problems with the drainfield. Drainfield problems are more costly to repair since it involves digging trenches to replace or move pipes.

Control Maintenance Costs

The cost of cleaning your septic tank depends on the size of the tank and what services are required. Simply pumping out a small tank could cost as little as $75. If you have a large tank, it could cost as much as $300. If you need more extensive work, such as drainfield repairs, the cost could soar to $2000 or more. One way to control the expense associated with maintaining a septic system is to make sure you don't stress the system so it needs pumped more often than necessary.

Use toilet paper that dissolves quickly when wet, and don't throw any other trash down the toilet. Avoid adding unnecessary solid wastes to the tank by not using the garbage disposal. Be sure to fix leaky plumbing so the tank doesn't have to process excess water. While you may want to prolong the time between cleanings to save money, don't wait too long. When your tank gets too full, the filter or drainfield can be damaged which adds to the cleaning cost.

To learn more, contact a septic cleaning company like Burleson Septic Cleaning