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Soggy Drainfields: Tips to Help Your Septic System Work

by Tom Grant on Feb 7, 2014

Going to the bathroom isn't something you advertise. It's not something you give thought to unless something's wrong. But, ignoring the septic system in your home, and failing to take preventative measures against catastrophe are the surest way to experience one. Yuck. Here are some ways to keep your system working properly.

Conserve Water

So, one of the first, and most important, things you can do is to conserve water to reduce the load on the septic system. For example, do laundry throughout the week instead of all on Saturday or Sunday. This will help space out the water usage and stress on the system. Also, use flow reducer nozzles on all showers and install low-flow toilets.

Assess The Risk Of Tree Root Invasion

Tree roots kill septic systems. Keep trees at least 100 feet away from the system, and with aggressive roots, you should make sure they're planted even farther away. Consider removing or moving trees that are invading your system.

Deal With A Soggy Drainfield Now

A soggy drainfield is a drainfield that can't handle the waste you're giving it. Design landscaping, roof gutters, and the foundation of your home so that it drains and diverts excess water away from the septic system.

Only Flush You-Know-What

Don't flush cat litter, diapers, or anything else down the toilet. Even facial tissues, coffee grounds, and cigarette buts can cause trouble for your septic system. And, even though warranty companies like Choice Home Warranty will cover you, it's going to create one heck of a mess that you'll have to live with while the fix is being done. And, your insurance company might not cover some of the systemic damage caused to the house or lawn (homeowner's insurance often doesn't cover landscaping).

Use Garbage Disposals Intelligently

You've probably seen some funny videos on YouTube or Facebook emulating the “will it blend” YouTube sensation. But, this isn't something you want to try at home on your disposal. It's a terrible idea and a good way to ruin your septic system. These things can easily double your solid waste in the system, so only dump organic materials down here that break down easily or upgrade to the top of the line disposal unit that grinds everything into a fine “dust.”

Don't Overuse Chemicals

Chemical drain cleaners, like Drano and bleach, can quickly deteriorate your septic system. They also kill beneficial bacteria in the tank that are breaking down the solids.

Don't Pour Grease Down The Drain

This is probably the most common thing people do. Don't pour grease down the drain. It doesn't matter than your neighbor, brother, mother, and college roommate do it. It's not good for your system. If you aren't saving bacon grease for future cooking (big mistake, by the way), and you don't like keeping grease in the fridge, then package it up in a plastic container and throw it away. It's easier to throw it down the drain the first few times. But, it's expensive and really inconvenient to fix your drainage and septic system later when it backs up with sludge.

 

Katy Butler owns an old home that is always in need of attention. She let's off steam by blogging about her experiences on home design and decorating sites. 

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Tom Grant

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