Most homeowners only need their septic tank pumped every couple of years. After all, septic tanks are designed to allow most solids to break down and eventually be washed out into the soil. But the tank only works this way if you use it as intended. Some behaviors and lifestyles cause septic tanks to accumulate solid waste faster and to need pumping more often. In particular, if you do any of these things, it's a good idea to have your septic tank pumped out once a year, rather than every few years.
Use a garbage disposal
Using a garbage disposal in a home with a septic tank is not usually recommended, to the degree that many plumbers won't even install a disposal in a home on septic. This is because all of the food particles that you send down the disposal drain end up in the septic tank. They take a lot longer to break down than human waste, so they fill the tank up quickly. If you go against the conventional wisdom and use a garbage disposal in your home on septic, then you should have the tank pumped out yearly to remove all of the food that's not breaking down quickly enough.
Have a lot of people living in a small home
When they install a septic tank, septic professionals choose the size of the tank based on the size of the home. This is due to the assumption that more people will live in a larger home. So, if you have a small home, the tank is probably only big enough to deal with the waste from four people, at most. If you have more people in the house than that, then the tank will fill up too fast and could benefit from being pumped annually.
Clean with a lot of bleach
This may seem like an odd one, but here's why it's important to consider: bleach kills bacteria. That's a good thing when you're using bleach to clean inside your home, but it's not a good thing for your septic tank. The bleach will kill some of the bacteria that are supposed to be breaking down waste in the tank, which means that waste will accumulate in the tank more quickly. In a perfect world, you would put less bleach down the drain. But if you don't want to change that habit, you should definitely have your tank pumped more frequently.
It's always best to be proactive about pumping your septic tank. If you do any of the things discussed above, you should have your tank pumped annually rather than risking an overflow.
To learn more, contact a septic tank pumping service.