How to Care for Your Septic System
Maintaining your septic system is not only a necessity, but it's more affordable than you would think. Typically, you only need to have your residential septic system inspected every three to five years. It's important to use a professional septic tank or cesspool company. Do not inspect your septic system on your own.
If you have a septic system with mechanical parts such as electric pumps or float switches, it is suggested to have them inspected more frequently or at least once per year.
Septic Tank Pumping
The frequency of pumping out your septic tank depends several factors:
- The size of your household. How many people that live in your home can determine the frequency of cesspool or septic tank pumping
- The more people in a household, you create more wastewater. With increased wastewater may come more frequent pumping out the septic tank
- The total volume of solids in wastewater can make a difference is cesspool pumping. Be sure not to flush items down the toilet other than human waste or toilet paper.
- Septic tank size can also be a factor in more frequent septic pumping. A smaller tank will require more frequent pumping.
A Few Tips on Water Efficiency
Using water more efficiently, you can reduce maintenance costs and increase the operational efficiency of your septic system. Basically, the less water going into your septic system, the less it has to work. Keep in mind that every flush of the toilet or drop of water that goes down the drain, must enter the septic system or cesspool. That adds up to a whole lot of water at the end of a day. Multiply that by 365 days and you can easily send over 100,000 gallons of water down the drain in a year for a family of four. The average single family, residential home uses about 70 gallons of water per day, per family member.
Get that Leaky Toilet Fixed
Did you know a leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water per day? Now that you know, the easiest way to save water is to fix leaking toilets. If your toilet is an old model with a 3.5-5 gallon tank, then it is advisable to replace it with a new, high efficiency model that only uses 1.6 gallon or less with every flush. Not only does it reduce the amount of water entering your septic syste, it will also reduce your water bill.
Washing Machines and Laundry Days
Is your washing machine Energy Star rated? If not, consider replacing your washing machine, it can use up to 50% less water than older machines. In addition to water savings and redcing water flow in your cesspool or septic system, it can save up to 35% on energy costs too.
How you wash clothes and when you do laundry can also make a difference and reduce septic tank problems. Septic systems need time to work, especially when large amounts of water are entering them.
If you are using a large capacity washing machine for small loads of laundy, you will be sending more wastewater into the septic tank if you do not set the water level to the load size.
If you are a weekend warrior who likes to get all the laundry completed over the weekend in one day, this may not be a good idea.
I know it may be a time saver, however, by doing all of the laundry in a single day does not give your septic system adequate time to treat the waste. It needs time to catch up. This can cause harm to your septic system and also your drainfield.
It's a good idea to do laundry a few times throughout the week to avoid large amounts of wastewater to enter your septic tank system to quickly without a chance for it to catch up.
We All Love Those Fancy High Efficiency Showerheads
You probably thought I was going to say something negative about those high efficiency showerheads. The fact is, that the new high-efficiency showerheads and also the use of aerators in your faucets are a good thing. They both save water due to the flow restrictions they have built into them. This helps reduce the volume of water that enters your septic system.
Don't Flush That!
The easiest way to cause damage to your septic system is using your toilet as a garbage can. A toilet is for one purpose and one purpose ONLY.
NEVER flush anything down the toilet except human waste and good old fashioned toilet paper. If you sometimes feel like sneaking a little something extra down the toilet, here are a just a few items that you should NEVER flush:
- Feminine hygiene products
- Cigarette Butts
- Cooking oils or grease
- Paper Towels
- Paints & solvents
- Wet wipes
- Cat litter
It's Alive - Cesspools and Septic Systems actually have living organisms that treat household waste
If you flush or pour chemicals such as solvents, paints, toxic chemical cleaners or oil & grease down the drain, this can kill off the living organisms that are needed to digest and treat the waste. Without them, it can harm your septic system.
Videos: Tips and Septic Tank Care
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