Finding Solutions for Your Septic Tank Problems

4 Questions To Ask When Looking For A Septic Pumping Company

by Senanur Norder

When you're in the market for a septic tank pumping company, you'll need to first take a look at their reputation and their business practices. But once you've gotten that out of the way, how can you tell if they're actually the right company for you? Here are four questions to ask when you're trying to get a feel for how experienced they are and whether they have good technique.

1. What are your methods for septic pumping?

A knowledgeable, expert company should be able to describe their technique to you. But more than that, you should ask this question to make sure they have their methods right. Less reputable companies may simply stick a hose into the tank and pump out the liquid. However, the liquid in the septic tank shouldn't be the target of the pumping; the solids and the floating scum layer are what really need to be addressed. A proper technique includes using a long-handled rake-like tool to scrape the solids off the bottom of the tank.

2. What advice can you give me on septic care?

A good septic maintenance company will know all about taking good care of septic tanks. Like a good doctor, a good septic company will be focused on keeping the "patient" (septic tank in this case) healthy rather than focusing on profiting from their problems. So if you ask about septic system care, a good contractor will be able to give you a list of items not to put in the septic tank, several ways to keep the leach field functioning properly, and more.

3. Do you recommend septic tank additives?

A reputable septic company is likely to tell you that a septic tank has plenty of bacteria without adding anything (unless of course, you dump gallons of bleach down your drains, which is a whole other problem). If they're trying to sell you expensive additives on a regular basis, that's a red flag. Your septic tank doesn't need those to work well if you're caring for it and maintaining it regularly.

4. How often should I pump my tank?

If the septic company in question is simply out for profit, they may recommend having your tank pumped every two years on an ongoing basis. But an expert will offer to come out and check whether or not your tank actually needs it. They'll also be able to tell you what their criteria are for deciding this.

Normally they'll check by measuring the accumulated layer of solids at the bottom of the tank, adding to that the thickness of the floating scum layer, and then recommend pumping if the total is around a third of the total tank depth or more. That's because the thicker the solids layer gets, the less room there is in the tank for storing liquids that are on their way out to the leach field.

These four questions can help you get a handle on how experienced your potential septic pumping contractors are and whether their maintenance practices are what you're looking for.