Toilet backups are not the gift you want to receive this Holiday Season. If you have a septic system this can be a messy & expensive fix at this time of year.
For those homes that have septic systems here is a little plumbing lesson:
All of your household wastewater- Toilets, showers, dishwasher, washing machine, sinks etc all leave your house out of an outlet line. Some homes have a split system where the laundry wastewater goes into a separate septic system called a greywater or laundry system.
These one or two lines leave your house thru one main line that flows into your septic tank(s).
The septic tank is a buried, water tight container typically made of concrete or fiberglass. Some much older models are made of metal or cinderblock (neither which are considered water tight). It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out (forming sludge) and oil & grease to float to the surface. Compartments and a t-shaped inlet & outlet baffle in the tank prevent sludge and scum from leaving the tank & traveling into the drainfield.
When inappropriate items are accidently flushed in the toilets or rinsed down the drains these items can potentially damage your septic system components if they become trapped. They can also cause a clog that will backup the wastewater line preventing any water flow which will then back up into your home. If this is not caught in time, the use of toilets, showers or washing machines may cease to function.
- Tip: Most plumbing lines are only 2-3 inches in diameter. Keep that in mind when rinsing or flushing any items. So watch your drains!
- Tip: To prevent buildup, sludge and floating scum need to be removed through periodic pumping of the tank. Regular inspections and pumping are the best and most cost-effective way to keep your septic system in good working order. Hire a certified septic contractor to provide preventative maintenance for your septic system.
- Tip: Emergency plumber or septic service calls are expensive, not to mention more involved at this time of year with frozen soil and snow covered ground.
- Tip: Educate your holiday quests by letting them know your home is on a septic system & to choose wisely what to flush & rinse.
- Tip: If having a large party or get together have your septic tank pumped & inspection prior to the event.
- Tip: Some septic tanks have been fitted with an effluent filter. Make sure this filter has been checked and cleaned periodically to prevent any backups caused by a clogged filter. If you cannot maintain this component-Hire a certified septic contractor to provide preventive maintenance.
And the most important tip of all:
- Tip: Only waste that exists your body (and 1 ply biodegradable toilet paper) should go into your toilet and only wash water should go down the drains.