Modern Appliances’ Effect on the Septic Tank System

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Septic Tank System

Understanding your Septic Tank System

The Septic Tank System is a crucial part of a household and the best solution to discard waste water and gunk if you don’t live in an area that has sewer service.   Problems with the septic tank system can arise, and if not dealt with properly, they can lead to damage to your septic tank sysytem that can cost you thousands of dollars to repair.

The septic tank system has two main parts – the septic tank and the drain field.   After you have used any water in your house, the water (and waste that has been flushed) will flow to your septic tank.  This waste water will sit in your septic tank for at least 1 day.  If there are any solids in the waste water, it will settle in the bottom of your septic tank and form a layer of sludge there.

If the sludge on the bottom of your septic tank is not pumped (something a lot of companies offering “cheap septic tank pumping” often don’t pump out), it can cost you in the long run as cutting corners in the septic tank cleaning company business will eventually result in more costly septic tank repairs, and possible the replacement of your entire septic tank system.

Scum Layer

In all septic tank systems, there is a “scum layer”.  This layer of scum is caused by light solids and grease that is flushed down the drain or toilet.  Bacteria is added to the septic tank to help break down both the septic scum and septic sludge. This bacteria helps in breaking down these layers, but it does not get rid of either in their entirety.  Over time, as these layers accumulate, your septic tank will need to be pumped out.

The waste water itself (excluding solids and / or grease), forms a middle layer.  This water is pushed out of the septic tank, when new water enters, into the drain field.  If too much water is flushed into the septic tank in a short period of time, the waste water will flow out the tank before it has had time to separate, THIS IS NOT GOOD!

Two common reasons that water would be pushed out of the tank before it has a chance to separate into layers are:

  1. If there is more water usage than usual
  2. The septic tank system is too small for the size of the household (this sometimes happens when additions are built onto a house).

When a septic tank malfunctions, it can sometimes be blamed on household appliances.  Some modern day appliance can put an extra burden on a septic tank system.

Modern Appliances And The Septic Tank System

Hot Tubs

As people have started investing in hot tubs for relaxation in their home, damages to septic tank systems have been on the rise.  This because if you connect a hot tub to the waste water system, it can (A) Force too much water into the septic system at once, causing existing water to be pushed into the drain field prior to the solids separating and sinking to the bottom, and (B) Kill the bacteria in your septic tank that helps break down the solids.  This is because of the amount of chlorine in the hot tub. (Source)

It is crucial that you ensure that the water from your hot tub drains into a location that is not either your drain field itself (as it can become saturated) or the septic tank system.

If you do drain hot tub water into your septic tank system, it can cause damage to the drain field that will need to be repaired immediately!

Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals are very convenient, but if your house has a septic tank system, you should consider reducing your use of it.  This is because regular use of a garbage disposal can increase the solid waste in your septic tank by as much as 50%!

Decreasing the amount of solid waste in your septic tank will allow the bacteria to work more effectively.  This will reduce the time in between septic tank pump outs, and will make your septic tank system last a lot longer.  This of course means less maintenance cost for your septic system.

Water Softeners

Water softeners put an undue burden on your septic system by adding a lot of water to your septic tank.  This can cause the solid waste in the tank to not have enough time to settle to the bottom (or decompose).  This can lead to solids being pumped into your drain field – something you definitely don’t want to happen.  Water softeners remove a lot of additives to water, including any salt.  If this salt builds up in the tank, it can affect the breakdown of the other solids in the tank.

If you are having any septic tank system issues, you should consult a reputable septic tank professional like Robbys Septic Tank Service in Lakeland, Florida.  We are a highly recommend septic tank company and we never cut corners.  Your septic system will thank you!

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