Your septic system is an integral part of your home, so it makes sense that you should do everything you can to ensure it continues working properly. Not only will this help you avoid major drainage problems in your sinks, toilets and tubs, but it will also prevent costly repairs should your septic system fail. Managing your waste water is a major part of this, but so is educating yourself on the basic maintenance needs of your septic system.
Everything that goes down a drain in your home will end up in your septic tank, so it's critical that you take steps to minimize the damage being done. This means making sure only appropriate paper products end up in your toilet, food waste stays out of your kitchen drain, and anti-bacterial cleaners are disposed of somewhere other than the nearest drain. This will reduce the amount of solid waste in your septic tank, and ensure that there are sufficient bacterial colonies there to begin breaking that waste down.
Unfortunately, the trouble doesn't stop with your tank, and the outgoing waste water from your laundry room can also pose problems in the form of fine lint. The small fibers from your clothes will pass through the netting in your septic system and settle in your drainage field, where they will lodge within the dirt particles and prevent air flow. Investing in a drain screen for your washing machine will keep these fibers from reaching your drainage field, where aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen, finish processing liquid waste before it returns to the water table.
Your septic system stores solid waste as it settles to the bottom of the tank, and over time this solid waste will build up. As a result, your tank will need to be cleaned out by a company like Hemley's Septic Tank Cleaning to keep it from overflowing, or backing up into your home. The frequency with which your tank will need cleaned out is based on its volume and number of users, but ideally a 3 bedroom house with a 1000 gallon tank, used by 4 people should be cleaned approximately once every 2.6 years.
Planning for the maintenance of your drainage field is a more nebulous matter, since a good drainage field should function indefinitely. However, soil settling, root encroachment and rising water tables can all have an impact on its viability. To keep your drainage field functioning, aerate the soil on a semi-annual basis. This will ensure good air flow for the aerobic bacteria there and ensure proper drainage is maintained.
While it's true you won't pay a monthly fee to use your septic system, there are still costs associated with using one. Make sure you're doing all you can to prevent those costs from skyrocketing due to a failure of the system.