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8 Things To Keep Your Septic System From Failing

Wet-wipe sales have exceeded $2.2 billion in 2017. It’s a massive market, and for a good reason:

Toilet paper is a pain in the…

Well, you know.

Toilet paper, even the luxury “ultra soft” brands, are still uncomfortable if you need to do some vigorous wiping. Once you’ve tried wet wipes and felt their soothing, moisturizing touch, it’s hard to go back to the uncomfortable chafing of toilet paper.

What’s the problem with wet wipes though?

It’s all about the word “flushable.” There are even lawsuits about its meaning. Wet wipes are marketed as being flushable, but the truth is that if what you’re flushing down the toilet isn’t immediately dissolvable in water then it’s likely to contribute to a clog somewhere down the line.

Wipes build up with other waste, like congealed food fat, to form massive lumps called “fatbergs” that block entire municipal sewer systems.

Now, imagine if you have a septic tank how these wipes will build up over time. Are you diligent about not putting left over cooking oil or bacon grease down the drain? The natural decay of waste inside your septic tank can’t occur with these “undigestible” wipes and fat sitting in your tank.

Then when you wash a ton of laundry at once or have a water leak that goes on for a while before you find it, all that additional water going into your septic tank creates a problem. All those solids start getting stirred up and float up to your drain lines. Those undissolved wipes will easily clog the lines.

Wet wipes, however nice they are, are not good for any sewer or septic system.

There is an answer though.

It’s cheaper than buying wipes or toilet paper, and it’s better for your septic system:

The Bidet.

They only take about 10 minutes to install. You can have warm or cool water, and water pressure can vary from a gentle stream to “full-on riot suppression hose,” leaving you feeling just as clean as if you stepped out of the shower.

What do I recommend?

If you just want the basics, check out the
Luxe Neo 120.

luxe neo bidet

Or if you want front and back nozzles (ladies) and hot water hose, then the Luxe Neo 320 is for you.

luxe neo bidet

8 Tips To Protect Your Septic System

1. Wet Wipes are bad.

Seriously though, consider getting a bidet. It’s the logical conclusion to the quest for a clean rear end.

2. Your septic tank contains living organisms. Don’t put anything in your sink or toilet that can kill them.

Most household cleaning products will not affect your septic tank. Drain cleaners, however, can kill the bacteria in your tank and temporarily disrupt its operation. Avoid flushing large amounts of toilet bowl cleaners. Use non-toxic cleaners. They’re better for you and your septic system. They’re cheap. Why not?

3. Paint and other hazardous chemicals can permanently damage your septic tank.

Remodeling and need to wash your paint brush? DO NOT let paint, varnishes, and paint thinners go down your drain. Even small amounts can damage the septic system. That $5 paint brush isn’t worth it!

4. Having a garbage disposal means you will need to have your septic system pumped more frequently.

The more solids you add to your tank the sooner it will need to be pumped. Some states even require you to install a larger septic tanking when building a new home, if you will be installing a garbage disposal.

5. Don’t plant your garden or any trees near your drainfield.

Grass is fine, but roots from trees or shrubs can clog and damage the drain lines.

6. Your toilet is not a trash can.

What you put in your septic system greatly affects its ability to do its job. Don’t use the toilet to dispose of plastics, paper towels, facial tissues, tampons, sanitary napkins, cigarette butts, dental floss, disposable diapers, condoms, kitty litter, or anything that doesn’t immediately dissolve in water.

7. Install a Lint Trap on your washing machine.

Lint from washing clothes does not readily degrade and can clog your drain lines. They’re cheap and easy to use! Click here for some options.

8. Have your tank inspected every 3 years, or once a year is even better.

If you’re moving into an older home with a septic tank, be sure to have it inspected to check the state of the septic system. Failing septic systems can cost 10 times more than if you had simply done routine preventative maintenance.

27 thoughts on “8 Things To Keep Your Septic System From Failing”

  1. I really like your recommendation to not treat the toilet as a trash can. It makes sense that toilets are designed to flush and dispose of certain kinds of waste and foreign waste can be problematic for a septic system. I’ll have to keep this in mind for my home because having the tank pumped could be a helpful way to make sure it doesn’t have anything wrong and that we can start to take better care of it.

  2. My septic system is something that I don’t want to worry about failing. It makes sense that I would want to watch out what I flush down there! I’ll keep myself from flushing wet wipes or anything like that down there.

  3. Thanks for explaining septic systems so well. My husband and I are moving into a home that has a septic system and we want to make sure we know how to take care of it first. I had no idea that wet wipes would effect the tank so much. We’ll have to make sure we are very careful or not buy those at all. The advice not to treat it like a garbage can will be a great rule of thumb and easy for everyone in the family to remember. Thanks!

  4. I wasn’t aware that you shouldn’t put paint down a drain, and that it could damage the septic system. That’s some good advice to keep in mind, especially if you want the system to continue working. It may be a good idea to research some other alternatives you could do to clean your brushes or other materials.

  5. My wife and I just moved into our first home, and we are know having our first experience with a septic tank system as well. I’m glad that you mentioned that a garbage disposal means needing to have septic tank pumping done more frequently as well. I’m going to have to see if we can find a good septic tank company in our area to come and get our pumping taken care of so that we can be sure of the last time it was done! Thank you!

  6. That’s a good tip to make sure that you have the septic tank inspected if you’re moving into an older home. My husband and I are doing that, and we love the home, but we noticed a strange smell. We’ll have to find someone to inspect the home’s septic system before we buy it.

  7. It’s interesting to learn about septic system maintenance. I had no idea that wet wipes could cause so many issues and lawsuits! I think we’ll just go with toilet paper, and only flush that down the toilet.

  8. My husband and I are about to have our septic tank cleaned and we’re wondering what some of the best ways to keep it running at its best are. So I like how you point out that you shouldn’t wash out your paint brush since paint can actually damage it. I will be sure not to clean out any of my brushes in the sink anymore so that our septic tank doesn’t get damaged.

  9. My wife and I just moved into a home that has a septic tank but we’ve never used one before. I had no idea that things like drain cleaners can kill the bacteria that is used in a septic tank. We might have to find some new cleaning solutions so we don’t do this. Thanks for the help!

  10. I totally agree with tip # 8 that you should get your septic tank cleaned every three years, or better yet, at least once a year. You may want to check if there is a contamination, in which case, it could possibly be hazardous to your health. One option is to hire a professional to assess the problem. They have the necessary tools or equipment to make the necessary repair as well. If I were to have my septic system cleaned, I would make sure to hire a licensed contractor. Thanks.

  11. I’ve been flushing wet wipes down the toilet because I thought it was okay. I didn’t realize that they don’t deteriorate the same way that toilet paper does! Maybe it would be a good idea to have my system looked at to make sure all those wet wipes aren’t causing any problems in my septic system.

  12. Dan, my aunt would agree that it’s hard to go back to toilet paper when you’ve tried wet wipes. She recently mentioned that she thinks something might be wrong with her septic system. It makes sense because I’m pretty sure she uses flushable wet wipes.

  13. I didn’t realize that having a garbage disposal meant more frequent pumping. We just barely moved into a home with a septic tank, so this is good to know. I guess we should get it pumped soon, just in case.

  14. I like that you mentioned keeping plants and trees away from the drain field. My wife and I have a septic tank in our backyard, and we love it. We’ve been wanting to put some plants in and other shrubberies to make the backyard more appealing. Thanks for the tip-we’ll be sure to plant everything far from the drain field!

  15. I didn’t know that wet wipes can block entire municipal sewer systems. Our neighbor’s septic system backed up three days ago, and my husband and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to us. We’ll remember not to flush wet wipes, and if we do end up having problems, we should find sewer services that can help us.

  16. My wife and I just got a home with a septic tank, but we have no experience with using one. I had no idea that paint and varnishes could cause damage to a septic system. We’ll have to be really careful with what we put down the drain for now on, especially the toilet. Thanks for sharing!

  17. That is really interesting that even those wet wipes that are advertised as “flushable” might be harming your plumbing and septic system. We have twin babies and go through quite a bit a day. I will talk with my wife and make sure all of them go in the trash.

  18. I have heard that you can test the dissolvability of something by putting it in a jar of water for an hour. If it does, then it should be safe for your septic system. Thanks for this information!

  19. My wife and I just moved into a new home with a septic system in the yard, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about how, if you use the garbage disposal, you’ll have to have your tank emptied more often. We’ll be sure to keep this in mind so we don’t forget to pump it after a year or so.

  20. My wife and I just moved into a new home with a septic system in the yard, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about how, if you use the garbage disposal, you’ll have to have your tank emptied more often. We’ll be sure to keep this in mind so we don’t forget to pump it after a year or so.

  21. After a year of moving into our new place, we’ve noticed that there’s a foul odor in the house and we cannot trace where it’s coming from. I don’t know if it’s just a dead rat or what so we keep on searching for it. It’s only until last night that we discovered a crack in our septic tank. This morning, we had an immediate appointment with our plumber to fix it.

  22. As homeowners, it is our responsibility to maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of our homes as I believe that man’s home is his castle, and you don’t want a ramshackle. To avoid expensive repairs, it is indeed necessary to be mindful of what you flush down the toilets and the drains. Even ‘flushable’ wipes aren’t as flushable from what I’ve experienced. I also agree to always schedule a regular checkup and maintenance of your tanks by professionals just to make sure that everything is flowing smoothly.

  23. I do like that you suggested having your septic tank inspected regularly if you’d like to save money because failing septic tank can cost you more. My husband and I never had our septic tank serviced since we moved to our place. What we don’t want is to wait for worse things to happen because we can’t afford to replace it. I will make sure to hire a septic tank cleaning company soon.

  24. It caught my attention when you said that you should consider having your septic tank pumped sooner if there are more solids being added to your tank. My father had a garbage disposal installed on our septic tank. As far as I know, our septic tank has never been serviced. Since our family is getting bigger, and we don’t want our septic system to fail, we’ll have our septic tank pumped soon.

  25. Considering how important your septic tank is to your home you’ll want to make sure that you’re taking care of it as best you can. As the article points out, one thing that you’ll want to make sure you do is get the tank regularly inspected. After all, you will want to make sure you get it pumped when it needs to be pumped and fixed when it is broken.

  26. I never knew that a lint trap on the washing machine could help keep the septic tank from clogging. I guess that makes sense that the lint can just sit there and block it up. I’ll have to try that out as well as not using the garbage disposal as much.

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