Septic systems are a convenient and environmentally friendly way of processing waste for homes that cannot connect to municipal systems. However, moving to a house that relies on a septic system can be confusing for homeowners who are used to other systems. If you're new to having a septic tank, the following brief guide explores some common questions.   

A Guide to Septic Tanks

1. Do they smell gross? 

Septic tanks don't smell any worse or more potently than any other system. They require pumping every one to five years, which can leave behind a smell for a couple of hours post-service. Since the septic tank is outside the home, the scent won't be trapped indoors and will easily dissipate in the air. However, if there are smells inside a home, it's likely because the system is overdue for service. 

2. Do I need to use different cleaning products? 

septic tank

Septic tanks rely on beneficial bacteria to break down waste. Any substance that enters drains that kills bacteria can compromise the system's efficiency. For these reasons, harsh chemicals and bleach are not recommended for homes with septic systems. Instead, you can opt for cleaning products labeled as septic-safe, or you can use household items such as baking soda and vinegar. If a stronger product seems necessary occasionally, you can follow up with a beneficial bacteria additive to regenerate the little helpers. 

3. Where should it go? 

The placement of a septic tank varies due to different ordinances and rules set by each city and state's public health department. No properties are alike, so the exact spot a professional chooses for installation is dependent on where the flattest piece of land is to allow proper septic flow. It will also be installed a healthy distance from the home's foundation, decided upon by the health department, to avoid indoor contamination.

4. How will I know if something is wrong? 

The answer to this question varies, but some key issues to keep an eye out for are slow draining pipes, any puddles or standing water above the tank system, or a harsh smell. These problems can either stem from a pipe rupture or a blockage. The latter can be fixed with a system pump, while a break will require repair. Either way, a professional will assess the damage and determine its source to properly fix the septic tank and get it back on track. 


If you're installing a septic tank or have questions about a pre-existing system, call A-1 Pumping Service and Drain Cleaning in Dalton, GA, for prompt, expert service. They've helped local homeowners manage, clean, and install their septic tanks for over 20 years, making them a dependable, reliable choice. Visit the website for more information, or call (706) 272-3352 to schedule an appointment.