We’re Making a List (Check it Twice): A Checklist of Dos and Don’ts for Your Septic System this Holiday Season
There’s no place like home for the holidays, but as your house fills with love, laughter, and additional food and guests, it’s also an added challenge to your septic system. We’ve made a checklist of dos and don’ts – be sure to check it twice — so you can enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, minus any unforeseen septic tank situations.
1. Pump first, party later.
Think of it as “preventive pumping.” If you haven’t had your septic tank serviced or pumped in the last few years, right before the big holiday gatherings commence, it’s a good idea to empty the tank. Pumping before the party can prevent overloading the system and pushing sludge out into your drainfield. When you start fresh (and empty) you and your guests can enjoy the festivities worry-free.
2. Make a “naughty” or “nice” list when it comes to flushing.
Let’s face it: many people today have public water systems and are not aware how septic systems are different. Or, perhaps your college student who’s been away for a few months needs a refresher course on what’s “nice” to flush and what’s on the “naughty” list. Make a “Santa’s Septic Helper” list to hang in your bathrooms to add some humor, while letting everyone know what they can and cannot flush.
Feel free to copy our list!
Nice to Flush:
- Toilet paper
- Organic waste
Naughty to Flush:
- Feminine hygiene products
- Paper towels
- “Flushable” baby wipes or personal hygiene wipes
- Dental floss
- Anything other than the septic-safe toilet paper in this bathroom!
Have some fun with it, and in the long run, you’ll be happier knowing your guests are aware of how your septic tank functions best. After all, nobody wants to experience a septic system emergency in the middle of serving dessert. Which brings us to our next item on the checklist.
3. Use water like you consume desserts — in moderation.
Another reminder for your houseguests (and returning college students) is to take it easy when it comes to “indulging” during the holidays. Like desserts, water usage is best in moderation. You can leave the desserts to their own discretion, but it’s a good idea to remind friends and family not to take showers at the same time, or run the dishwasher after every meal.
Both run the risk of overloading your septic system, which can lead to a backup. Staggering showers, running the dishwasher only when it’s full, or doing laundry one load at a time — when nobody is in the shower — eases the burden on your tank, even if you did have it pumped before the party.
4. Watch for FOG (fats, oils, and grease) during the festivities.
In addition to being aware of all the items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, it’s also a good idea to remind guests about FOG — fats, oils, and grease — from holiday meals that shouldn’t go down the kitchen sink. When preparing the turkey, or cleaning up after dinner, remind your guests not to pour grease, fats, meat scraps, or butter down the drain.
These items can easily clog your drains and disrupt the bacteria in your septic system. And we all know that when the good bacteria in your septic tank are interrupted, they are unable to do their job as well, breaking down waste and allowing your tank to operate as efficiently as possible.
At Paradise Valley Septic, we want you to focus on fun, and the many joys of the holiday season, so we encourage you to call us to schedule a maintenance visit before the yuletide celebrations begin. Yule be glad you did!