How To Prevent Septic Systems From Clogging And Backing Up

One of the drawbacks to using a septic system for your home is that occasionally it will need to be emptied — and that you may not always realize this until your backyard is flooded or your drains are backing up. This can be as expensive to fix as it is disgusting, but proper care of your system can save you constant repairs and damage. In addition, properly taking care of your septic system can mean you won't need to empty your tank as often.

Reduce Water Usage

While it's true that water itself won't clog pipes, heavy water use can cause multiple problems. Apart from the fact that it can fill up your tank much more quickly, using plenty of water can also overload your leach lines, which in turn will prevent your tank from naturally draining. Heavy inflow can also disrupt solids that should be resting at the bottom of the tank and clog your leach lines. To prevent this, do things like spreading laundry out over the week instead of doing it all in one day, and minimize full, hot baths. If you can, drain bathwater elsewhere instead of into your tank.

Fix Leaks and Maintain Plumbing

A slow drip may not seem like it will cause much trouble, but even a slow drip can send gallons of water down your drains per day. Check all your sinks, shower attachments and toilets to make sure nothing is leaking. For toilets, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank, then check the bowl a few hours later. If there is any food coloring in the bowl, your toilet has a leak.

Avoid Draining Chemicals and Solids

Inside your septic tank are a myriad of helpful bacteria that come naturally from waste. While that might sound foul, the bacteria in the tank actually work to break down solids and can actually help prevent clogs and other problems. Small amounts of chemicals being sent down your drains are usually acceptable, but too many chemicals can kill off that helpful bacteria and disrupt the tank's ecosystem.

Along with cleaning chemicals, cooking oils and grease should also be drained elsewhere. Not only can these kill off bacteria, but they can also cause clogs and buildup in your pipes and tank, disrupting how liquids are able to drain. Similarly, restrict use of your garbage disposal to whenever it is necessary and no more. The disposal does not grind up solids enough to stop them from being a risk.

Finally, when it comes to toiletries, only flush paper and trash the rest.

Avoid Septic Additives

Septic tank additives claim to help you avoid needing to empty your tank as often, but this generally isn't the case. Septic additives are not always harmful — though they can disrupt your tank's bacteria and can hurt more than they help — but they are often simply an unnecessary drain on your finances. Useful bacteria occurs naturally in your tank and does not need the help. Talk to your local septic tank service, such as Rhode Island Septic Service, for more information.