How to Extend the Life of a Septic System

Too much water in a septic system is actually not a good thing. This is because it doesn’t give the bacteria enough time to break down the particles and to do its job. You should always make sure you’re looking for leaks and drips. A good way to do this is by adding a drop of food coloring into your water tank, and if it leaks into the bowl of your toilet, you have a leak that definitely needs to be addressed. A good idea would be to also add a “water displacer” into your tank. This will substantially reduce the amount of water used each time you flush the toilet. Installing aerators also reduces water intake, so it would be a good idea to install them if you have not already done so. If you need to replace any old fixtures you may have, it would be good to invest in the newer “low flow” style fixtures.

Also, you shouldn’t use too much water at the same time. An example would be taking a shower while someone else in the residence is doing the dishes or running a load of wash. Overloading your septic system by doing those types of things is the primary cause of septic tank failures. It is especially important to be watchful of the water usage in the morning and at night, because those are the most common times that the most water is used. If you are running your washer in the morning, you should do the dishes at nighttime. This is the best way to conserve water in your home and not overload the septic system to the point at where it fails. A good way to make sure you are being cautious is by separating your wash schedule throughout the week instead of doing it all in one day.

If you use your garbage disposal too often, this can also lead to a septic tank failure. They increase the amount of solids in the septic tank, which in turn will lead to it pumping more frequently. If you are going to use a garbage disposal, make sure that you are using a high quality system, because this will grind up the particles more, and give the bacteria more time to break them down.

It is very important to know what you can and cannot pour down your drain. Things like kitty litter, coffee grounds, and plastic by-products are not acceptable to put down the drain. This will clog the drain up, and will cause a septic system failure. Also avoid dumping oils and fats down the drain as well. This will coat the drain and lead to backups. The more solids in your septic tank, the less capacity it can hold.

Use normal amounts of septic safe detergents. No or little phosphate and Bio-Clean are good detergents to use. Avoid use of anti-bacterial soaps, bleaches, drain cleaners, household cleaners and other products. Solvents such as dry cleaning fluid, pesticides, and type of photo developing fluids, paint thinner, or auto products and motor oils will kill the bacteria needed to break down the materials in your septic system. Another issue that these fluids can cause is getting into your well water. This is a definite health hazard, and can cause major consequences for you and your family.


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