Are you moving from a house that's hooked up to the city sewer system to one that has a septic tank? Are you worried about how to care for your new acquisition? Having a septic tank can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. As long as you follow a few simple rules when using your septic tank, it should function almost exactly the same as being hooked up to a sewer system. Here are some of the biggest differences that you need to remember:
Stagger your laundry loads
When you're doing laundry and hooked up to a city sewer system, it doesn't matter if you do all of your loads of laundry at once or if you do them as your clothes get dirty. However, some septic tanks can get overwhelmed with too much water at once. In order to process your sewage, a septic tank relies on various beneficial bacteria to help break down the waste and separate it from the liquids. Your laundry water, on the other hand, is relatively sterile. If you do a half dozen loads every single Saturday, for example, you could lower the bacterial count enough that it is no longer able to function efficiently. Without the waste being processed properly, you'll need to call a pumping service more frequently to clean out your tank. Instead of doing all your laundry at once, do a load every day or every couple of days.
Avoid flushing anything besides toilet paper
A healthy septic tank can break down a variety of foods and organic waste, sewage is obviously okay. As is bathroom tissue. However, you may want to consider avoiding using a garbage disposal, especially for fatty foods. And pouring leftover oil from your deep fat frying down the drain is another no-no. Too many fats and oils can create a barrier on the surface of the material in the septic tank. While some amount of fat is okay and will eventually get broken down, a thick layer of it can prevent the bacteria from getting oxygen and from processing the waste. You should also avoid flushing things like napkins or paper towels as these are too large to process and break down efficiently, resulting in more calls to your local pumping service.
Use a septic tank additive
Even if you're very careful with what you put into your septic tank, the weather or being prescribed a course of antibiotics can have an adverse effect on the bacteria in your septic tank. Having a pumping service clean out your tank can help "reset" things, but something else that can help is to use an additive formulated especially for septic tanks. This will get the bacteria in your tank back into balance, helping prevent the need for having the tank cleaned out.