With Central Florida’s sub-tropical climate, it is not always clear when seasons begin and end. However, high heat, humidity, and rainfall during summer in the Sunshine State can lead to problems with septic systems.
Summertime Septic Tank Maintenance
In addition to a regular septic inspection every two to three years, there are things that homeowners can do to ensure that their septic system continues to perform in an optimal way during the summer.
Avoid Drainfield Problems
Treated wastewater from your home’s septic tank is discharged into a drainfield, where contaminants and impurities are removed as the liquid percolates through the soil. Your septic system’s drainfield was designed for your home’s specific needs. As such, it is intended to process a certain amount of wastewater, determined by the size of the home and other factors. However, heavy rains or excessive irrigation can cause the drainfield to become saturated, limiting its ability to effectively process wastewater.
While you cannot control the weather, you can be careful with the frequency of landscaping irrigation, and you can avoid creating other ways for the drainfield to become overly wet. Indoors, you can help limit the amount of water entering the drainfield from the home through basic water conservation measures: conserve water by limiting showers and baths, do not leave water running when it is not needed, and stagger your family’s laundry so that it is not all done in one day.
Landscaping and Summer Septic Care
Summer is a time when many homeowners do a lot of landscaping. While small plants like grass and flowers are fine to plant near a drainfield, some larger plants can become an issue as they grow. Avoid septic problems by not putting trees or other deep-rooted plants near drainfields or septic tanks. Roots are drawn to water, and many trees are more than capable of causing damage to a septic tank.
If you are considering building structures like sheds, gazebos, or patios, do not build them on top of drainfields. Additionally, do not drive heavy equipment or machinery over the septic tank, drainfield, or septic pipes.
Vacations and Your Septic System
Summer is a time when many people travel. If you are going to be away from your home for more than a few days, you should have a septic inspection to avoid any problems while you are on vacation. If needed, have the septic tank pumped.
Florida Weather and Your Septic System
While hurricanes, tropical storms, and other significant rain events are unpredictable, you should do what you can to prepare in advance. One of the most important things you can do is to have a septic system inspection and septic tank pumping. This ensures that the entire system is functioning at its best before it gets stressed by the weather.
Another tip is to be even more diligent about conserving water when there are periods of heavy rain. By minimizing how much wastewater the septic system has to process, you can reduce strain on the system during times when a problem would be especially difficult to address.
Summer Parties and Your Septic System
Many homeowners take advantage of Florida’s weather to host parties or other gatherings during the summer months. Keep in mind that more people means more waste going into the septic system, and too much waste can cause clogs or other septic problems. It is wise to have the septic tank pumped prior to entertaining large groups.
It might also be advisable to let guests know the general guidelines for homes with septic systems so that they do not inadvertently cause issues by flushing things that should not be put into the system. You could post a note listing the things that should not be flushed so that your guests who are unfamiliar with septic systems know the do’s and don’ts.
Year-Round Septic System Guidelines
Regardless of the season, there are certain tips that you should always follow to keep your septic system functioning effectively and minimize the need for potentially costly septic repairs. Here are the basics:
- Do not flush anything other than toilet paper and wastewater. This means that you should not flush diapers, paper towels, napkins, feminine hygiene products, condoms, wipes, cigarettes, plastic, cat litter, or even dental floss.
- Avoid putting things down the drain that will kill bacteria in the septic tank, since this is a vital part of the waste removal process.
- Do not use excessive amounts of antibacterial soaps or strong cleaners like bleach. Occasional use of cleaning products is okay, but too much can cause problems.
- Never dispose of medications by flushing them, since this can throw off the balance and kill bacteria in your septic tank.
- Conserve water wherever possible. Consider installing low-flow showers and faucets, and high efficiency toilets. Do not let water run if it is not needed.
- Do not put oil, grease, or fat down the kitchen drain.
- Avoid adding coffee grounds, eggshells, or other items to the kitchen sink. Even if they go down easily, they can cause pipes or screens to become blocked.
- Spread laundry out throughout the week, rather than doing it all in one day.
Some homeowners do a monthly treatment for septic tanks, and there are a wide variety of products available for that purpose. However, some septic professionals advise against using additives because they can have a detrimental effect on the functioning of your septic system. The Environmental Protection Agency says, “Septic tanks already contain the microbes they need for the effective breakdown of household wastewater pollutants. Periodic pumping is the only true way to ensure that septic systems work properly and provide many years of service.”
Septic and Drainfield Service in and Near Lakeland
Septic and Drainfield Depot serves Lakeland and the rest of central Florida. We are Polk County residents with years of experience in construction, septic, and other service-based industries.
We offer transparent pricing and inspections, and we always strive to ensure that our customers fully understand the operation of their septic system so they can make informed decisions.
Contact us today for a free, no commitment septic and drainfield estimate.