As one of the many homeowners with a septic tank to look after, you know that septic systems require much more regular maintenance than sewer systems. Even if you are diligent in getting your system inspected and pumped every year, one or more of your household's habits may be preventing your septic system from doing the best job possible. Here are four household habits that are slowly destroying your septic system.
1) Using the Garbage Disposal
Your septic system works best when bacteria have less interference from foreign objects; particularly solids. Things like food, paper, dirt, coffee grounds, peels, and seeds will remain in the septic tank for a long time because bacteria can't easily process them. When you use a garbage disposal, it is so much easier to justify putting food down the drain to clog the septic tank. Stop using the garbage disposal and, counterintuitively, you will see the frequency of clogs go down.
2) Using Powdered Detergents
When problems show up in the septic system, it's easy to think that the toilet is the likely culprit. But in fact, your dishwasher and washing machine are more likely the source of your septic problems. Most homeowners with septic tanks regularly avoid putting solids down the kitchen sink, but many forget that solids are being drained into the septic system through the dishwasher and washing machine, too. Powdered detergents, if used in excess, can clog pipes within the house or in the septic system, causing backwashing, clogging, and even overflowing. Switch out the powdered detergents for liquid ones, and only use the minimum effective amount for the job at hand.
3) Taking Long Showers
Your septic system relies on a delicate balance of water supply. Too little water, and no waste will move into the leach field to be processed. Too much water, however, and you will soon find several undesirable results. Over loading the system will lead to noise in the drain pipes, septic wastewater backwashing into your system, terrible smells, and drastically reduced draining efficiency. Limiting showers and other water usage tasks to the bare minimum will prevent the septic tank from being over loaded.
4) Using Harmful Chemicals
Today's household cleaners are certainly more powerful than ever, but they are also potentially more harmful to your health than ever. If these chemicals are harmful to you, they are certainly harmful to the necessary bacteria in your septic tank. Substitute your household cleaners for natural solutions like baking soda and apple cider vinegar. They will do a decent job of cleaning just about anything, and the amount of harmful effects will be drastically cut.
As your septic system has much less equipment and infrastructure to work with than sewer systems do, it requires more observation and proactive maintenance. Along with regular attention from a certified septic tank pumping professional, putting an end to these harmful habits will better ensure the longevity of your septic system.