SAME-DAY SERVICE GUARANTEED - $99 Main Line Drain Clearing Get Offer

SAME-DAY SERVICE GUARANTEED - $99 Main Line Drain Clearing Get Offer

SAME-DAY SERVICE GUARANTEED - $99 Main Line Drain Clearing Get Offer

How Often Do You Need to Empty Your Septic Tank?


No two homes are identical, and no two septic systems are identical. While many Florida homes have septic systems, that doesn't mean your maintenance schedule is the same as your neighbors. A good rule of thumb is to have your septic system checked every three years. It might not need emptying that frequently, but some systems fill more quickly than others.

What determines how often to empty a septic tank? There are many factors, including both the size of the tank and your household size. To get a better idea of when to schedule an inspection, we've put together a guide to your septic system which includes:

  • Understanding your septic system
  • Factors affecting how often your tank needs emptying
  • Signs it's time to pump your septic tank
  • Septic tank maintenance tips

Knowing how to care for your septic tank is an important part of homeownership in Florida. Keep reading to learn more about your system's functions and what to watch for to get the jump on possible issues.

Is your septic tank filling up?

Contact Red Cap Plumbing, Air & Electric today to schedule an inspection of your drain and pipes. We treat you like family and give you upfront, honest pricing.



Understanding Your Septic System

Septic systems consist of four main components that combine to create an individual sewer treatment system:

  • Pipe running from the home
  • Septic tank
  • A drain field
  • Soil

The pipe connects to the septic tank, where your wastewater gathers. Inside the tank, solid waste separates from water and starts getting processed by the bacteria at the bottom of the tank. The contaminated water is released to spread through the drain field, where other types of bacteria break down organic matter and remove harmful contaminants, eventually becoming nutrient-dense soil and purified groundwater. Scum, a mix of oils and other semi-solids, slowly forms on the top of the tank.

Over time, the scum in your septic tank builds up, and it will need removal. So, how often do you empty a septic tank? It depends on a variety of factors.

Factors Affecting How Often Your Tank Needs Emptying

You only need to empty your tank when the scum reaches about one foot below the top of the tank or has a thickness of more than six inches. Scum levels are the determining factor for how often to empty a septic tank. The larger your household, the more quickly scum forms and builds up in your septic tank.

There are also kitchen habits that can affect your timeline. If you regularly pour grease down the drains, it can be a major problem for your septic system and speed up the time until your next pump out. Hygiene products are another culprit when it comes to scum buildup. The more thick and oil-based products you use, the more frequently you'll need to have your tank pumped. Ultimately, the size of the tank, the amount of waste, and your household size are the factors most closely tied to your pumping schedule.

Signs It's Time to Pump Your Septic Tank

If you haven't checked your tank in more than a year, it's likely a good idea to have a plumber take a look and assess your system. However, if you don't have a maintenance plan or you're new to the home, it's a good idea to know what to look for when it comes to a full septic tank. Some of the most common signs that it's time to schedule pumping include:

While a full septic tank isn't the only thing that can cause these symptoms, it's a good place to start when you notice any of these issues cropping up.

Septic Tank Maintenance Tips

Here are a few maintenance tips to keep your septic system in good repair.

  1. Schedule annual inspections. While you likely won't need your system pumped annually, it's a good idea to track your waste levels and monitor bacteria levels to ensure everything is functioning properly between pumps.
  2. Watch your water use. The less water you use, the better for your septic system. That doesn't mean you have to rush through your showers, but it does mean that high-efficiency fixtures and appliances are a big boost for your septic system.
  3. Think before it hits the sink or toilet. If it goes down your drains, it winds up in your septic tank. Anything that kills bacteria can decimate the digestive bacteria in your tank. Avoid flushing or draining anything that isn't human waste, toilet paper, or minimal food residue. Scrape your plates and dispose of chemicals elsewhere.

Need help with your septic system? Call Red Cap!

Let the courteous and knowledgeable technicians at Red Cap Plumbing, Air & Electric handle your next drain service, along with septic tank service. We'll show up on time, guaranteed, and always give you honest pricing.


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