Your home's septic system relies on a delicate balance of water, solids, and bacteria in order to function properly. While some household appliances improve various aspects of your home life, some of them can severely damage your septic system.
The worst offenders as far as home appliances that damage septic systems are:
- garbage disposals
- water softeners
- washing machines
Here is some information about each appliance and its potential affect on your home's delicate septic system balance:
Garbage Disposals and Septic Systems
Garbage disposals are horrible for septic systems. The garbage disposal grinds up food that would otherwise not be placed into the septic tank, and then it deposits it into the tank when it goes down your kitchen sink's drain. Too many undigested solids and grease will lead to a layer of solids in your septic tank that is too thick and will require frequent pumping to avoid unnecessary damage to the system.
Water Softeners and Septic Systems
Water softeners and water conditioning systems are bad for your septic system because when they backwash they send a lot of water through your septic tank all at one time. Flooding your septic tank with water pushes the solids that have not yet had time to breakdown out through the leach lines. This can clog the leach lines and lead to septic system failure.
If water softening is necessary to treat very hard well water, then you should discharge the backwash water outside of your septic system if it is legal where you live. If this is not possible, then opt to install a high-efficiency model or one that does not use salt.
Washing Machines and Septic Systems
While you may balk at the idea of not having a washing machine in your home, the lint from the machine builds up and will clog the leach lines and drain field over time. In addition, any nylon or polyester fabric fibers will not biodegrade like cotton and wool fibers will, and they can become entangled in the solid layer within your septic tank and lead to clogging as well.
Finally, if you choose to use a washing machine with your septic system, you should use a liquid detergent because it is less prone to clumping like a powdered washing soap will. And, you can prevent flooding of your septic system by washing a single load or two of laundry each day, rather than washing many loads one after the other. This gives your septic system time to rest between injections of water.
However, if you do have any problems with your septic tank, contact a local specialist, such as Kulp and Sons, to take a look.