How To Make Sure Your Kids Don't Damage Your Septic System

Septic systems can only handle so much water at once. If they are overloaded with too much water at once, they'll flood, leaving a nasty pool of stinky water in your yard. Septic systems also do not handle flushed items like cotton swabs, facial tissue and toy cars very well. Thus, keeping your septic system functioning well when you have several children in the home is a little harder than managing it as a single person or adult couple. Here are a few tips to prevent overflows and other issues commonly seen in septic tanks in homes with children.

Conserve water at bath-time.

Two adults showering and two or three kids taking baths discharges a lot of water into your septic tank. Conserve water as much as possible by installing a low-flow shower head, taking shorter shower, and having your children take baths in a more shallow tub of water. When your children are young, consider having them share bath water on days when they're not so dirty.

Emphasize the importance of only flushing toilet paper.

Kids love flushing things down the toilet, and unfortunately, there's really no way to guarantee yours won't try this at some point. You can minimize your chances of a problem by reminding them often that the only thing they should flush is toilet paper. Remove cotton swabs, facial tissue, and other cosmetic items from the bathroom and keep them elsewhere, so they don't "accidentally" get flushed.

Teach children to conserve toilet paper.

Giant wads of toilet paper aren't great for your septic system, either. Teach your children how to use toilet paper sparingly. Two or three squares is enough in most cases.

Teach your kids to scrape their plates.

Rinsing food particles down the kitchen sink is a bigger deal when you have a septic tank than when you're connected to a sewer. These particles can cause your tank to fill up more quickly than the particles and other waste breakdown, which may cause clogs or a backup. Show your kids how to scrape the food off of their plates into the trash can before rinsing them in the sink. You can even give each child his or her own rubber spatula to make the process more fun.

Overflowing septic systems are certainly no fun to deal with. It's easier to avoid an issue than it is to go without water for three days while your system's is pumped and repaired. Discuss this issue often as your children grow old enough to understand it, and you won't have to worry as much about septic problems. For more tips about how to best care for your plumbing system, visit sites like