Believe it or not, your septic system needs maintenance on a regular schedule. "Out of sight, out of mind" definitely does not apply to your septic system. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean you can forget about it. Without proper maintenance, your septic system can have a breakdown — usually at the most inconvenient time.
Avoid these common mistakes and your septic system should have a long and efficient life:
Sure, toilet paper is made to flush down the toilet. But to protect your system, be prudent with the quantity of paper used. Toilet paper does NOT include tampons, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers or baby wipes. These items do not break down sufficiently in the septic tank and can cause clogs, resulting in possible damage.
Do not pour grease down the sink or any pipes leading to the septic system. Grease congeals and over time clogs pipes, builds up in the septic tank and eventually blocks drain field lines. Dispose of grease in your garbage.
4. Garbage disposal
For the sake of your septic system, forget you have one (if you do). It is too convenient to scrape all kinds of things down the disposal that absolutely should NOT end up in your septic tank — fruit and vegetable peelings and scraps, bits and pieces of bone and meat, as well as grease. These items do not break down in the natural atmosphere of the septic tank. Instead they build up and cause eventual clogging and blocking of plumbing pipes and possibly drain field lines.
Please don't wait until your septic tank is backing up to decide it is time to pump it. Just as your car requires regular maintenance to keep it running at peak performance, your septic system needs maintenance on a regular schedule as well. We recommend pumping your septic tank every 5 to 7 years, depending on how many people live in your house and how much water is used.
6. Save your money
Additives do not extend the life of your septic system. They just give a feeling of false security. Your septic system requires no additional additives to function properly.
One of the wonders of modern life is the washing machine. No more going down to the river to scrub our dirty clothes with a rock. However, consider your septic system — as well as the environment — when doing your laundry. The washing machine puts out a tremendous amount of water, so try and wash full loads. Spreading your loads of laundry over several days is a good idea as well. Multiple loads on the same day may put a strain on your drain field lines.
8. Cat litter
Even though the box of cat litter says it's flushable — DON'T. Not if you have a septic tank system. Cat litter does not break down totally and will clog and build up in the septic tank and lines. The convenience is not worth the expense of a repair.
Being mindful of what goes down your plumbing lines and out into your septic system will go a long way to ensuring the efficiency and lifespan of your system.