Many homeowners do who don't live directly in a city have private septic systems and if you are one of them you should know that there are ways to care for your system that goes beyond getting the tank pumped. There are things you can do that support beneficial bacteria growth and prevents water overload.
Taking action to keep your system healthy can save you costly repairs, avoid destructive septic back-ups, and prevent your system from completely failing. A new septic system can cost as much as a new car – so it is worth the effort in maintaining your system.
Here are a few facts to help you take care of your septic:
- Small amounts of Chlorine bleach are not as disruptive for a septic system as you may have heard. But did you know that the drain cleaner you use every couple of months is terrible. A study found that it took nearly two gallons of liquid bleach but only about a teaspoon of chemical drain cleaner to kill the beneficial bacteria in a septic tank.
- Never flush tampons, paper towels, tissues, or baby wipes down the toilet. These types of items clog septic tanks in less time than you might imagine. Even the flushable toddler wipes take 3 years or more to break down.
- Never pour oils or grease down the drain. Dump it outside or let it set and put it in the trash. Grease can clog drainage into the leach field or prevent the bacteria from fully breaking down the waste.
- Reduce use of super tough cleansers. They tend to kill of good bacteria.
- Do not flush any medication or pour down the drain. All antibiotic medicines are harmful to bacteria growth.
Cut back on water
The amount of water going into the septic system impacts how well it functions.
- Fix leaky faucets. Large quantities of water are added to your wastewater system when you have leaking fixtures. Timely detection and repair can help to maximize the life of your system,
- Use flow reducer nozzles on showers to help lower water consumption.
- Reduce water levels for small loads of laundry.
- Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it or try a shorter dishwashing cycle, which uses less water.
- Reduce the amount of water needed to flush the toilet with a displacer.
If a septic system is not located in a suitable spot, designed properly, correctly installed, and well maintained, it can fail. It can also fail if solids clog it. As a homeowner, you can take steps to protect its operation, saving costly repairs and unpleasant back-ups.