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septic system
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Make sure your septic system is protected from large parties

septic system

The additional water input from bathroom use during a large party without prior planning can be an unpleasant surprise for your guests.

We often host parties, entertain guests, and have social gatherings in our homes during the holidays. If you live in an area with sewers, this should not be an issue. If you have a septic system, this could be a problem. Any time of the year, be it holidays, graduations, or other celebrations in your home, is a time to consider the load on the septic system. Septic tank pumping or drain field failures during the holidays are especially inconvenient because most septic service companies are closed on weekends and during the holiday season.

The design of a septic tank takes into account the number of bedrooms and potential inflows of a house. An average home with one to three bedrooms would have a tank that could hold 1000 gallons of water and would be intended to house four or five people. This tank is big enough for normal use. However, large parties would make this more of a problem. Are you able to handle the increased load?

It is possible for the septic system to become overwhelmed if a lot of guests arrive within a few hours and generate a lot of water. This could lead to sewage backups and increase the risk of untreated effluent flooding your drain field. Septic tanks and on-site waste water systems require about 24 hours for solids to settle out. Waste is broken down by anaerobic bacteria. This settling and decomposition time can be reduced or eliminated by flooding your system with water.

With aerobic microbes in the soil, the drain field continues the breakdown process. As the water slowly drains back into the water cycle, the soil layers filter it further. By filling up the pores in the soil, solids flowing into a drain field reduces airspace and microbe habitats.

In order to minimize the impact of a party on your septic system, you can take the following steps:

  • A few days before your party, reduce extra water usage from laundry, dishwashers, and showers
  • Food preparation and other water-intensive cooking should be done in advance
  • Post some bathroom rules to politely inform guests what they can flush or rent a portable bathroom
  • If you haven’t pumped out your tank recently, inspecting and pumping it prior to your party is the best choice
  • Ensure that external sources such as eavestroughs are routed away from the drain field

By planning for guests’ water usage in advance, you can have a carefree holiday party without worrying about septic problems.

We are fast approaching the holiday season, which means it’s time for a house full of friends and family to celebrate this joyous time of year. Hosting parties or having guests stay for a few days at your home means more water usage. An installation built for four people now serves a house of six to ten or more! An old, partially clogged, or already full system can ruin your plans. An overloaded septic system is the last thing you need!

There are a few easy ways to prevent septic backups during the holiday season. Now is the right time to put your plan into action so that during the holidays no issues arise that will dampen all the fun.

Here are seven tips to avoid and prevent septic system problems during the holiday season:

1. Stagger Shower Usage

Make some compromises and stagger when you take your shower, allowing your guests to choose the time that is convenient for them. You take showers in the morning if your guests wish to take showers before bed. By slowing down shower usage, you reduce the amount of water entering the septic system and the likelihood of septic tank backups.

2. Thoughtful Dishwasher Usage

The dirty dishes are sure to pile up quickly when there are guests in the house. Do not wash load after load of dishes in the sink, but instead stack them in the dishwasher, then run it in the afternoon or late at night while no one is in the shower. You might as well give yourself and your dishwasher a break by using holiday paper plates.

3. Limit Laundry Washing

Don’t do laundry during the holidays when your house is full of guests. To make sure you can make it a few days without having to run excess water through your septic system, either spread out your laundry loads over the next few days before or after they arrive, or do one big load the day they arrive.

4. Don’t Use Toilets As Trashcans

During the holidays, some guests do not realize they are contributing to the problem by flushing toilet paper, tissues, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, gum, and paper towels. It might be uncomfortable to ask guests not to flush things down the toilet, so clearing out the bathroom is the best way to prevent unwanted things from entering your tank. Take out paper towels and wipes from the bathroom. Provide a small trashcan with a lid next to the toilet in order to encourage guests not to flush their trash. An amusing sign can also help spread the message.

5. Don’t forget the kitchen sink

Use the trash disposal to dispose of potato peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, and other solid foods instead of the garbage disposal. Keep grease, oil, and fat out of the drain.

6. Conserve and Maintain

Make sure the toilets and faucets are not leaking.  Reducing water consumption can be achieved by installing water-efficient shower heads and toilet conversion kits.

7. Schedule a Septic Tank Pumping

Schedule a septic tank pump out before your guests start arriving to avoid slow drains, foul smells, and backups. Your filter will be cleaned along with the pumping. When you have a house full of guests this holiday, these preventative items will greatly reduce the chances of problems.

Schedule a septic service for your Stillwater home today to avoid holiday backups! Better yet, save your system by leaving the house!