The EPA recommends cleaning a septic tank about once every three years. No single interval will work for every home, but this recommendation works for most situations. If your septic cleaning company finds that your tank solids levels are particularly high or low, you can easily adjust your schedule to pump the tank more or less frequently in the future. 

However, there are some situations where you may want to ignore this advice and pump your tank more often. While most homes won't require pumping more often than once in three years, these three situations may necessitate scheduling a cleaning much sooner.

1. You Just Bought Your Home

A poorly-maintained septic system is a potential ticking time bomb. If you've recently purchased a home, the previous owners should have inspected and cleaned the system before the sale. However, not all areas require this step, so some sellers may choose not to clean their tanks. In these cases, you won't know how much time has passed since the last tank cleaning.

Fortunately, you probably don't have anything to worry about if the system isn't currently backing up. Instead, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Once you get the first cleaning out of the way, you can start pumping on a normal three-year schedule, adjusting as necessary based on future inspections.

2. You Use "Septic Safe" Wipes

Solid waste is your septic tank's number one enemy. In fact, the reason you need to pump your tank is that the microfauna inside can't keep up with the volume of solid waste forever. Keeping your tank well-maintained means avoiding anything that would cause solids to build up more quickly, potentially necessitating more frequent cleaning.

Minimizing solid build-up means only flushing toilet paper and wastewater down your drains. While many "septic safe" products are available, none will break down rapidly enough to avoid eventually causing a clog. If you use these products regularly, you'll want to consider pumping your tank more often than you would otherwise.

3. You Use a Garbage Disposal

While you can use a garbage disposal with a septic system, the presence of food waste in the tank will often result in a more rapid build-up of solids. More powerful disposals will have a smaller effect, while less powerful disposals will cause more problems. Over time, any large chunks of food that make it through your disposal will cause your septic system to back up.

If you've recently installed a garbage disposal or you've been using it more often than in the past, you may want to consider more frequent tank cleanings. This extra maintenance step will help you avoid the potential problems that can arise from allowing your septic system to become dangerously overfilled. 

Reach out to a septic tank cleaning service to find out more.