Importance of septic maintenance before the holidays

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Holidays are the best time to bring family and friends together and create wonderful new memories. If you live in a rural area without a municipal sewer system and instead you use a septic system for your residence, you would agree that a beautiful new memory doesn’t involve foul odors and wastewater coming back into the house. 

There are a few ways to make sure that doesn’t happen to you and your family holiday doesn’t get ruined. It’s essential to take good care of your septic system and know the importance of its correct maintenance before the holidays. 

Things you can do vary from limiting water usage to emptying the tank beforehand and renting a portable restroom. This article covers everything you can do and all precautions you can take to minimize the risk of septic system failure during the holiday season.

What to do to spend a relaxing holiday?

If you have decided to host this year’s holidays at your property and want to invite a large group of people, be it, family or friends, you need to make sure your septic system can take and process the increased amount of waste. 

As you might already know, septic systems are specifically designed to treat wastewater generated by a specific amount of people or per room in the house. Everything you generate above this limit can cause a septic system failure. 

So if you want to spend a relaxing holiday with your close ones, take the preventative measures outlined in the following paragraphs. It is best to consider all of them to eliminate the risk of a septic emergency, not being able to find a septic system service provider during the holidays and costly repairs down the road. 

Do not underestimate the importance of pre-holiday septic system maintenance in all cases.

Prepare food ahead of time

Hosting a holiday feast in your home means lots of food. If you don’t order it to be delivered, you will probably prepare it yourself and in large quantities. Preparing food for so many people requires lots of dishes, rinsing, cleaning, scrubbing and other chores that need water use. 

Our advice is to prepare food ahead of time, or at least the food that doesn’t require to be served immediately and can spend a few days in the fridge without getting spoiled. 

The reason for this is you can take your time to wash your dishes and clean the kitchen, which will result in less water consumption. In addition, you will give your septic system and drain field the time it needs to consume the wastewater flow.

Run the dishwasher when it’s full

Although this is one of the first rules for septic system users, we need to emphasize its importance during the holiday season. You will most certainly generate large amounts of dirty dishes, so do not turn on your dishwasher unless every inch is taken. Avoid using the dishwasher while you’re using sinks or showers. 

Another preventative measure you can take is only to use eco-friendly programs that use minimal amounts of water. If you expect more people and are very worried about your septic system, you can buy recyclable dishes, cutlery, and cups to decrease dishwasher usage. 

Avoid consecutive laundry loads

Having family members or friends staying at your house for the holidays may increase your laundry loads, especially if children are playing around in the yard. Since washing machines are a significant burden to your septic system, we advise you to prepare ahead and decrease the number of laundry loads during the holidays to a minimum.

Run all the permanent residents’ laundry before the holidays begin and before your guests come over and make sure you’ve cleaned your washing machine lint filter. Leave the generated loads to be washed after everyone has left. As for your guests’ laundry, minimize washing machine usage by combining it and running only full loads. 

Use eco-friendly programs, run the machine during nighttime when nobody is using the showers or sinks, and leave a few days between washes.

Limit time for showers and brushing teeth

Personal hygiene cannot be limited, but time for it can be. Since shower and sink use can potentially overload your septic system, think of a way to determine when each guest is allowed to use them. 

One way is to set a time limit within which you can enjoy a refreshing shower. Instruct your guests not to leave the water running when not necessary, for example, while brushing their teeth. 

You can set a specific time of the day when showers are allowed or make a schedule for each person. Avoid filling bathtubs since they use a considerable amount of water.

Remind guests and children of what can be flushed and what cannot go down the drains

Not all people use septic systems in their homes, so make sure to remind your guests of the rules of septic system use. You can either talk to them when they arrive or put reminder lists in key places such as bathrooms. 

These lists should include all items that are not supposed to be flushed or go down the drains, including:

  • Anything other than toilet paper – Feminine hygiene products / Wet wipes / Diapers / Floss / Cotton buds
  • Non-biodegradable items
  • Cigarettes

In addition, inform your guests to use as little water as possible and keep their vehicles away from the septic tank and leach field area surfaces. Remind them not to rinse or leave any fats, oils or coffee grounds in the sink.

Get your septic tank pumped

Most importantly, one of the best practices is to pump out the septic tank contents before the holidays begin. That way, you can be sure you can use its total capacity when your guests arrive. It’s also a good practice to check the overall condition of the septic system. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the precautions mentioned above.

Turn to a local septic company to book an appointment. You can contact us for professional services if you live in Redmond, Woodinville, Sammamish, Issaquah, Bellevue, Snohomish, and Monroe. 

Additional tips

Here are a few additional tips for keeping your septic system intact during the holiday season. 

Rent a portable restroom

If you expect lots of guests to come over and stay for a few days or weeks, consider that your septic system is not designed to handle their waste. You can rent a portable restroom to reduce wastewater, and it will also minimize bathroom waiting times.

Avoid garbage disposal use

Avoiding garbage disposal will also help your septic system perform well during the holidays. Throw food leftovers, solid foods, potato peels, grease, fat and eggshells in the trash instead. 

Plan when you will water the lawn

Your drain field’s capacity is limited. That’s why it’s important to plan activities that increase moisture and leave them for sunny days when you don’t have guests over. That includes watering your lawn and washing your car.

Check the weather forecast

Another tip is to check the weather forecast beforehand. See if any storms are approaching and if you are expecting heavy rain. If that is the case, it’s best not to invite people over to eliminate the septic system failure possibility. 

If that’s not possible, try limiting the number of guests or be extra cautious about your septic system.