Things to Do to Save Septic System During Holidays

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Things to Do to Save Septic System During Holidays

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Photo Credit: zaimoku_woodpile

The holiday season is one of the best times of year to gather with family and friends. 30% of Americans throw holiday parties in December and in preparation for those parties they’ll spend nearly $1,000. Common expenses for holiday parties include food, alcohol, decor, entertainment and attire. However, if you’re hosting a gathering this holiday season and are a septic system owner, you have an additional consideration – bathrooms. You’ll want to do some diligence to make sure you spare your septic system during the holidays. Here are 4 tips to help you care for your system by preparing for your holiday parties. 

Study your schematic. 

Knowing where all the parts that make up your septic system are located is very important. If you haven’t already procured a schematic from the previous owner of your home or the builder, you’ll want to approach the Department of Health to get one. While some records are available, not every schematic is available from the Department of Health. If you’re unable to get one by contacting the Department of Health, a skilled septic contractor can usually complete a diagram when you are having your system pumped out. 

Knowing exactly how your septic system is laid out will ensure that you can protect your investment during holiday parties. Directing traffic away from your drainfield and septic tank is very important, so be sure to rope off your drainfield and septic system to avoid people parking on them. Too much weight on your septic tank or drainfield can cause damage that can be expensive to fix. 

Pump out your tank prior to your party

A few days prior to your party, you should pump out your septic system. Your guests will eat and drink a lot during your party and will likely need to use the bathroom at some point and that’s a lot of flushing. The increased water use of a party in such a small time frame could place undue load on your system and cause your tank to overflow which can also result in tank sludge moving into your drainfield. 

The average 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom home has a 1000 gallon tank and is rated for the capacity of that home, but not necessarily for a large number of guests that may be there for an event. 

By scheduling a pumpout prior to your holiday event, you can avoid your guests filling your tank and stressing out your system which will not only help you avoid an embarrassing backup but also potentially expensive repairs. 

Inform your guests

Homes with septic systems make up only a small segment of Florida’s overall home inventory. As a result, not many homeowners understand exactly how to handle owning a home with a septic system. By educating your guests on septic systems prior to your event or when they arrive, you can avoid potential issues. The EPA’s website has multiple pamphlets that homeowners can print out and display in their bathrooms during parties to help people understand the basic rules of septic systems.

If you’d rather make your own list, be sure to mention the following:

  • Judicious water use when washing hands, cooking, and bathing if you have overnight guests. 
  • The “’Do Not Flush” list
  • The “Down the Drain” list – most homeowners don’t realize that food solids cannot go down a drain when homeowners have a septic system

Consider portable toilets

Portable toilets are a great alternative during large parties for homeowners that have septic systems. Large parties can cause frustration when it comes to bathroom lines and you may be able to avoid pumping your tank if you get nicer portable toilets that guests are likely to use. 

Portable toilets can come in traditional individual stalls or nicer restrooms with lights, fans, stairs and sinks. Luxury portable restroom trailers are very popular at large events, and if you’re accommodating a large number of guests, these can be the perfect solution to help save your septic system during a large party. 

A well cared for septic system can last more than 30 years if it is treated properly, and replacing a septic system is extremely expensive. The better you care for your system during everyday use and on special occasions for holiday parties, the longer your system will last. Avoid undue strain on your septic system this holiday season by following these simple tips.