Septic TankHome Improvement

Caring for Your Septic System

We are moving into an older home (built 1979) that has a septic tank. We are a family of 3 adults, 1 child, and frequent guests. We have 3 bathrooms, a garbage disposal, and a swimming pool. What are your suggestions for taking care of the septic tank to keep it in proper working order?

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By Jamie

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful

Go to google.com and type in caring for a septic system. Many sites will come up to explain how to maintain your system, do's and dont's and how to tell if the system is failing. The important thing is to follow the rules on what does and dose'nt go into the system and have the tank pumped periodically. You don't need any of those additives one sees advertised on TV. They just make money for someone. My system is 27 years old and works just fine with out any additives.

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful

The very first thing I would do is to find out when was the last time the septic tank was pumped. You did not say if you were renting or buying but if it's the latter you may want to include a pump-out as part of your closing and have the seller pay for it. We have been on septic in two different homes here in Florida and in both we've added yeast periodically.

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Yes the kind that you use to make bread. There are also septic flushes that can be purchased but we don't really rely on those, just the yeast as it helps to break down the solids and keep everything "flowing" the way it should. It doesn't matter if the yeast is 'out of date' either, it still has enough active components to do what it's supposed to even though the bread might not rise!

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful

I have a recipe from the book "Where's Mom now that I need her?" for "Septic Tank Recharger". Here goes: 2 cups packed brown sugar, 1 pkg. dry yeast, and 1 quart of water. Mix thoroughly, pour into the toilet boil, and flush. This is a lot cheaper than Rid-X or other store bought solutions.

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July 7, 20110 found this helpful

Use toilet paper that states "safe for septic tanks" for starters. Don't put bleach or harsh chemicals in the system as it will kill the bacteria that grows and "digests" the waste.

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July 7, 20110 found this helpful

Usually a garbage disposal is a no-no with a septic tank. Maybe if yours is large enough and to you treat it well, it can handle it.

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The brown sugar yeast concoction already mentioned is great. I just mix it up right in the kitchen sink and when its all foamy I wash it down the drain. I have had plumbers and septic tank pumpers both tell me Ridex turns into a brick in the tank. Better to use yeast. Get it pumped now and with that many people, every two years.

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July 7, 20110 found this helpful

I forgot to mention to limit your use of anti-bacterial soaps as they will kill the good bacteria in the tank too. Also liquid soaps are better than bar soaps when it comes to the leech field.

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