Here are some ways that staying at home has affected your septic tank and what you can do about it.
Septic Tanks are Busier Than Ever Before
The spike in coronavirus cases has caused many places to issue “Stay At Home” orders. Even people who haven’t been put on an official lockdown are less likely to leave their homes. This means that more people are spending more time at home. Even with restrictions lifting, many people continue to stay at home. Adults work from home now, and children are either enjoying school breaks or learning from home across Zoom and other online platforms. With more people stuck at home, there’s more pressure placed on the septic system. It wasn’t that long ago that your septic system was relatively untaxed during the day as parents went to work and children went to school. Now, septic tanks face much more flushing, showering, and laundry than ever before.
Not only are people staying home and putting more pressure on their septic tanks because of it, but they are also cooking more. Cooking at home becomes more prevalent as we look to avoid eating out – or can’t because of restrictions. Some have taken to eating at home more as a way to save money as well. Either way, we’re all spending more time in the kitchen and have appliances on more often. We’re eating more hot breakfasts and lunches over cereal and sandwiches. Some people have even taken to making their own bread at home. While all of this cooking is great for your health – depending on what it is – it isn’t so healthy for your septic system. Extra cooking means extra dishes, which means more food debris, making it into the septic system.
More DIY Projects
The uses mentioned above could be considered an increase in regular septic tank strain. COVID-19 has done more to septic systems than just this. There has been an increase in the number of people working on DIY projects. People working from home, or unfortunate enough to have lost their job, have more free time on their hands. Many people invest that free time working around the house and finally completing those DIY projects they’ve always put off. Between patching up holes in the wall, putting down a fresh coat of paint here and there, or working on more significant projects such as bathroom and kitchen remodels, DIKY creates a lot of “liquid waste.” This liquid waste should never be flushed into your septic system, but it can still get there. Not everyone knows never to flush it, or some don’t care. This waste is made up of dangerous chemicals and non-degradable plastics that wreak havoc on your septic system.
Another thing people have taken to doing themselves at home is grooming. Many hairstylists are closed now. Even with some opening back up, you might not want to take the risk. The same applies to pet groomers. We’re all washing our pets at home now. We understand that you need to give your pets a nice clean bath, but you should be aware that pet hair poses a unique challenge to septic systems. Like human hair, pet hair flows down the drain quickly enough. The problem is that pet hair, like human hair, also clumps together in the pipe and clogs pipes and septic systems. Another issue with hair is that no matter the source, it can take years to break down naturally. All that hair down the drain adds to the layer of sludge in the septic tank. All that mess stays there until you call a septic tank cleaning Sydney provider and have a septic tank pump out.
People are Using More Disinfectants
The rise in coronavirus cases has also caused an increase in disinfectant use. It’s understandable that people want to keep their house as clean as possible and are cleaning from top to bottom, disinfecting everything along the way. Using Lysol to clean surfaces and adding bleach to laundry does mean that more of these chemicals are getting into the septic system, however.
Disinfectants are made to kill bacteria and viruses. They are effective at doing just that, which is why we use them to prevent diseases from spreading. Unfortunately, antibacterial products like this kill indiscriminately. There’s a lot of bacteria around your home that you need, such as the bacteria in your septic system. Using too many chemicals has a devastating effect on the septic system in your home. Damaging the septic system’s ecology like this means that it isn’t as effective at breaking down solids. A compromised system leads to a buildup of solid material in the system, as well as more solids backing up in the home and reaching the drain field. Trust us when we say that isn’t a pretty sight.
How to Help Your Septic System Survive COVID
There has never been a more critical time for septic tank care and maintenance, such as septic pumping. It would be best to keep a close eye on how your septic tank is doing and how much it is being used. Understanding how COVID-19 is affecting your septic system and straining it further is an excellent place to start. Aim to conserve water as much as you can to make things easier on your system. Another tip is to pace water-intensive tasks such as laundry across the week. Conservative flushing habits can help preserve the system too. Consider flushing every other visit to the bathroom or only when there is something solid that needs to be flushed.
Speaking of the toilet, also be mindful of what people flush down there. Some things should never be flushed, such as sanitary napkins and so-called “flushable” wipes. It would help if you also avoided flushing paper towels and tissues, napkins, and Clorox wipes down your drain. Avoid using your garbage disposal as much as you can, if you have one. At the very least, cut down garbage disposal use to once a week. The less you can use it, the better. There’s no harm in bathing your pets, and it can be helpful for them. However, it would be best if you brushed your pet before washing them. Brushing pets eliminates the loose fur that would otherwise have clogged up your system. The same advice applies to humans. Collect hair clippings when cutting hair and get rid of them by putting them in the bin rather than down the drain. The fewer things you put in your drain, the better.
We understand you want to disinfect your home and wouldn’t discourage you from doing that. However, you can use septic-safe household cleaners to make things better for the septic tank. Aim to reduce your reliance on and use of bleach as much as possible. Choose a natural cleaner when you can, such as using lemon juice. Lemon juice makes for an excellent natural cleaning product because it is so acidic. Lemon is also a natural disinfectant that is safe for use on toilet bowls, countertops, appliances, and sinks. Another excellent natural scum-busting cleaning product is vinegar. Vinegar is an excellent alternative to acid-filled bathroom cleaning sprays. Vinegar cuts through mineral deposits, soap scum, grease, and other problems. Baking soda is another alternative cleaning product to keep your septic system happy. Baking soda works wonders on stovetops and ovens. One benefit of using baking soda is that it’s a natural air freshener, eliminating odors from refrigerators and dishwashers.
One of the most important things you can do for your septic system is keeping up with septic pumping and other septic tank maintenance tasks. Even if you’ve already hired a septic tank cleaning Sydney service, the extra strains of living at home could mean that you need to pump the system earlier than you expected. Consider scheduling a septic tank pump out if you haven’t already. Septic tank pumping is the easiest way to find and eliminate septic tank problems before they become more severe. Get in touch today to learn more or arrange a maintenance visit for yourself. If COVID-19 has you using your septic tank more, the least you could do is put more effort into taking care of it.