One way to keep your home's septic system in good working order is by regulating what goes into the system. So, you may wonder whether comet or soft scrub is safe for the septic system. We researched the topic, and this is what we learned.
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Cleaners like soft scrub or comet are safe for septic systems. You only need to follow the prescribed guideline when using these products.
There is still a lot to learn about septic systems. Tag along as we discuss the cleaning products you can use on septic systems. We will also tackle how to maintain these systems and why you should keep inspection records. So, let's get started.
What Cleaning Products Are Safe For Septic Systems?
The septic system relies on bacteria and other microorganisms to break down solid waste from your home into treatable slime. For this reason, you should only use chemicals and cleaning products that will not kill the bacteria or damage the septic system.
It is prudent to avoid toxic household chemicals that can upset the pH level in the septic system. Generally, the microbes in this system thrive at a pH level between 6 and 7.5. In unfavorable circumstances, the bacteria fail to break down waste.
Products like drain cleaners, liquid bleach, and disinfectant cleaners can disrupt normal operations in the septic tank since they are very alkaline. Liquid drain cleaners have a pH of about 14, whereas the pH of bleaches and disinfectant cleaners is 13.5.
Your septic system can stand minimal use of these cleaning products since the acidic nature of human waste balances out the resultant pH level in the septic tank. But when you overuse these alkaline products, you may end up upsetting the environment in the tank.
Having this in mind, check product labels to ensure they are septic safe. Read and follow the guidelines stipulated when using these cleaners to minimize your septic tank's exposure to damage.
You can use soft scrub and comet for your cleaning needs at home. These products do not pose any risk to your septic system. Additionally, many water-based cleaners (such as water-based tub and toilet cleaners, disinfectants, and carpet cleaners) are septic safe.
When evaluating cleaners, a good rule of thumb would be to check whether you need to wear gloves when using them. If the products are too harsh on your hands, then it is probable that they will adversely affect the microbes in the septic tank.
How To Maintain Septic Systems
A dysfunctional septic system is messy and leads to expensive repairs. Furthermore, it is an environmental hazard since it can contaminate nearby water sources, including wells and surface water.
But you can mitigate the adverse consequences via regular maintenance and evaluation of your septic system. This section will offer pointers on keeping these systems in good condition.
Monitor What Goes Into Your Septic System
Everything that goes down the drain in your home ends up in the septic tank. For this reason, it is wise to carefully evaluate the impact that the products you use in the shower, pour down the sink, flush in the toilet, drain from the washer, or grind in the garbage disposal, will have on the septic system.
We've already discussed the impact of various cleaners on your septic system. We will now focus on other products that you use at home that can deteriorate the system's health.
Avoid draining products that the bacteria and microbes will have difficulty breaking down to avoid the waste buildup that can result in wastewater backing up into your home. So, avoid pouring grease, fats, or oil down the drain.
In addition, avoid draining items that the microbes cannot break down since they only fill your septic tank, eventually leading to problems. Therefore, do not flush sanitary items, wipes, disposable diapers, and earbuds, among other things. Also, do not drain synthetic lint fiber from your washer.
It is best to put the non-biodegradable products or those products that decompose slowly in the bin, then dispose of them as appropriate.
Kindly refrain from using harsh chemicals that can kill the bacteria in your septic system. If you want to unclog pipes, it would be best to use boiling water or a drain snake instead of chemical drain openers.
Also, do not drain insect or weed killers, photographic chemicals, paint, paint thinners, gasoline, motor oil, and cigarette butts, as they contain toxins that can kill the bacteria.
Use Efficient Fixtures And Appliances
When you use appliances that use water efficiently, you enhance the septic system's efficiency and minimize the possibility of malfunction.
If you live in an older home, you can consider swapping the existing toilets for newer high-efficiency toilets to reduce the amount of water that goes into the septic tank every time you flush the toilet.
Most old toilets drain about 3.5 to 5 gallons per flush. In contrast, the newer models empty around 1.6 gallons per flush. So, the newer models reduce your septic tank's workload.
While it is best to avoid using a garbage disposal, if you must have one, kindly invest in a top-of-the-range appliance that grinds the waste finely. Big waste chunks take longer to decompose. Consequently, they can create problems for your septic system.
You can use a garbage can instead of a garbage disposal. If you wonder where to place it in your kitchen, please read this post: Where To Place A Garbage Can In The Kitchen?
Use high-efficiency shower heads to reduce the volume of water that flows into your septic system every time you shower. Additionally, encourage those in your household to reduce water wastage by closing taps and running the shower only when needed.
Space Out Household Chores
Doing all your household chores simultaneously can be very enticing, mainly because you save time. However, this can harm your septic system since too much water gets into the system at the same time.
It is best to run the dishwasher and washing machine on different days or at another time of the day to enhance the septic system's operations.
Also, to reduce water wastage, please run full laundry loads on the washing machine. Additionally, run your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded. If you must wash a small load, ensure that you pick the correct laundry size to conserve water.
At the same time, space out your laundry throughout the week so that you don't need to run multiple loads in one day to avoid overwhelming the septic system by draining too much water.
Inspect For System Failure
Even with proper maintenance, septic systems eventually exhaust their useful life, thus requiring replacement. Also, your wastewater management needs may have changed since installing the system, necessitating an upgrade.
If you notice any of these signs, call a septic service provider as soon as possible to mitigate the problem and avoid a full-blown system failure.
- Water in the sinks, bathtub, or shower drains slowly
- Foul odor, especially around the area where the septic tank is installed
- Sewage backing up
- The grass looks greener and healthier around the drain field
- There are water puddles near the drain field
- Gurgling noise when you flash the toilet or drain the sink
Schedule Regular Inspection
Schedule inspection for standard household septic systems every 1 to 3 years. But if the system has mechanical components, pumps, or electric float switches, it is best to inspect them annually.
Regular inspection can help identify and address issues early. It is more cost-effective to tackle minor problems than countering premature system failure.
It is ideal to pump the tank every 3 to 5 years. But with regular inspection, the system maintainer can evaluate whether pumping your system makes logical sense.
Various factors (such as tank size, the number of people in a household, the quantity of accumulated solid waste, and water habits) affect the septic tank pumping schedule.
Since we don't have a one size fits all solution, a good rule of thumb is to pump the tank when the solid waste covers 2/3 of the tank's volume.
When you pump the septic tank as needed, you prevent pollution and control your exposure to health hazards that the bacteria in the septic tank can cause.
Why Should You Maintain Proper Septic System Inspection Records?
Maintaining a regular inspection schedule for your septic system is not enough. You should also carefully file these pumping and inspection records. Otherwise, you may be forced to pay for an inspection to assess the condition of the septic system when selling your property.
Maintaining the pumping schedule records also helps plan appropriately. Furthermore, you can evaluate whether you need to improve your septic system based on the pumping frequency.
Because poorly maintained septic systems can be a health hazard, you want to avoid trouble by ensuring that you have the proper paperwork, such as the required permits for constructing the system. Your local health department can ask for these records.
Maintaining records indicating the system's installation date is also necessary. Septic tanks do not last forever. So, it would be helpful to know when the system should be replaced. This information is also key during inspection or when selling your property.
You should also maintain a map that indicates where the septic system or drain field is. The map will help you and other property users avoid costly damages resulting from parking or building on top of the drain field.
Septic systems come in handy in areas that lack centralized sewage systems. Therefore, you should take care of your system to help it take care of your home.
Use septic-safe products such as comet or soft scrub in your household cleaning. Avoid those products that can upset the system's environment, thus hindering the microbes from breaking down waste.
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