5 Proactive Steps for Septic System Maintenance in Florida

Contact Us

Contact Crews Environmental for all of your septic needs, including 24-hour emergency service. If you are experiencing a septic backup or other septic emergency, call 239.332.1986. You can also use the contact form for non-emergency inquiries


Crews Environmental

5 Proactive Steps for Septic System Maintenance in Florida

Table of Contents

SepticSmart Week 2022 SealFor homeowners in Southwest Florida that are on a septic system, it’s critically important to the health of that system and the quality of your groundwater that it be properly maintained. A poorly maintained system will require costly repairs and need to be replaced more quickly than a well-maintained system. New construction septic systems in Southwest Florida can cost a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars, whereas a properly maintained septic system can last for more than 30 years. Being proactive about how you manage your waste and wastewater will save you tons of money in the long run in repair costs and headaches caused by overloading your system.

If you’re looking to prolong the life of your septic system, conserve water and help the environment – here are 5 proactive steps you can take for your Southwest Florida septic system maintenance.

1. Be wary of water use.

When it comes to your septic system, being Septic Smart about how you use your water is critical to avoid overloading your system. Your septic tank has a normal operating level and overloading it can be detrimental to your system. If you are using too much water in your home, your septic tank can be overfilled, interrupting the natural separation and bacterial breakdown process and causing untreated sewage to leak into your drainfield or back up into your home. You should always be careful of how much water you’re using at one time and follow these tips to be proactive about water use:

  • Avoid having too many guests for a prolonged period of time. Your septic system size is based on the average normal capacity of your home and too many guests flushing toilets and showering can cause stress to your system. If you’re having a large party, consider having your system pumped and inspected prior to the arrival of your guests or rental portable toilets for larger parties.
  • Be mindful of doing too much laundry. Don’t overwhelm your system by letting your laundry pile up and doing it all in one day. Spread your laundry out throughout the week to give your septic system time to process the wastewater at a normal pace.
  • Turn the water off while brushing your teeth or doing dishes. Many people let the water run while they do dishes or brush their teeth. Rather than doing this, conserve water and be proactive about your septic system health by turning off the water while you brush your teeth or wash your dishes.

2. Be careful what you flush

Not everything that is “compostable” or “flushable” is actually friendly for septic systems. This is very important and diligence surrounding what is being flushed down your toilet is critical. Make sure that you are very careful about what you allow to be flushed down your toilets by doing the following:

  • Get a toilet lock for toddlers. Toddlers love to flush things down the toilet! As they develop the understanding of object permanence, making things disappear is very compelling for a toddler. Be sure to purchase not only a toilet lid lock but a lock for the handle of your toilet as well – this can help with unnecessary water use AND keep unwanted objects from making their way into your plumbing. Here’s a great lock set for both.
  • Get dispersible toilet paper. Not all toilet papers are septic system friendly. Dispersible toilet paper is toilet paper that breaks down the moment it gets wet. You can test if a toilet paper is dispersible by putting some into a glass jar with water and shaking it. The toilet paper should break down entirely. Brands like Scott’s and Angel Soft are more dispersible than others, but make sure that you don’t purchase quilted brands of toilet paper, as they can accumulate and build up in your tank and cause issues.
  • The never flush list: You never want to flush diapers, condoms, feminine products, or “flushable” wipes if you have a septic system. These items are difficult for the natural bacteria to break down and aren’t made to be broken down the same way dispersible toilet paper and human waste are. Here’s a blog we did about the full list of paper products to keep out of your septic system.

Related Article: what you should and shouldn’t be flushing down your toilets.

3. Don’t use harsh chemicals

Harsh chemicals are everywhere in our homes. From cleaning products that we wash our dishes with to laundry detergent to the bathroom and sink cleaning chemicals that get washed down our drains – all of them can be harmful to the carefully balanced bacteria environment that is present inside your septic tank. These bacteria break down your solid waste and are critical to the longevity of your system. When you dump harsh chemicals down your drains or clean and rinse them down your drains, it has the potential to kill the bacteria that are helping to break down your solid waste. Here are a few great chemical alternatives we’ve laid out for you to help you avoid some of the chemical cleaners.

4. Watch what you put down your drain

This is another seemingly simple suggestion for septic maintenance that is overlooked more often than you think. Keeping food items out of your septic system and even certain liquids can be critical to ensuring your septic system can work properly. Avoid putting the following things down your drain:

  • Food solids
  • Cooking oils
  • Coffee grounds
  • Bacon grease

In general, only non-oil and non-acid liquid food items, human waste and wastewater should be going down your drains. The rest should be composted or placed in your trash can.

5. Make sure to have your system pumped out

This is probably the most obvious proactive measure, but you’d be surprised how many septic system owners wait until they experience a backup or issue before they have their septic system pumped out. By proactively scheduling your pump out every 3 years, you can avoid backups, pooling water, drainfield issues, slow drains and other symptoms that occur when your septic system needs a pump-out. This is a very small expense in comparison to having to replace or repair your system.

Being a responsible septic system owner will not only help prolong the life of your system, but it’s better for the environment and can be great for the resale value of your home. Proof of long-term septic system maintenance is a great plus for potential buyers. Your septic professional will also be able to give you insight on when you should expect to have to replace or repair your system so you can plan accordingly and be proactive about your new system installation when the time comes.