You don’t need to be a septic engineer to know what it takes to make septic systems work and more importantly, NOT work. A septic system design is a very simple and efficient if there are a few factors present:
- If a septic system is designed for a 3 bedroom house, it means that it can handle the constant capacity of about 4 people. If there are more than 4 people for long periods of time, there is a high chance of septic system failure.
- You need to be sure that what you flush is septic safe. Even the toilet paper you use needs to be septic system friendly otherwise it can take too long to break down and increases the chances of blocking the system. Non human waste can also cause some issues. Things as small as dental floss can clog the pump and because it is also usually waxed, it doesn’t break down like these septic safe products.
- Having a garbage disposal puts quite a strain on the septic system as the solid waste can block the system faster than normal. Fats from the garbage disposal are the septic systems worst enemy.
- Laundry can be a big issue as well, especially if bleach is used a lot. Anything that goes into the system (out of your home) needs to be septic friendly. Don’t use detergents or a bleach that will kill the enzymes that break down the sewage.
- Public enemy number one for the drain field are roots. Any plant that is going to get great nutrition from the drain field will also clog the field. Ivy might be the worst culprit because it’s a ground cover that has a great root structure that clogs drain fields.
Who should care about your septic system the most? The answer is probably you or the person who pays to maintain or fix the system. When you rent out a property that has a septic system, there are a few issues you should make your renter aware of:
- Have a strict headcount policy. If the renter is going to consistently overload the system by having more people living in the house than the system is designed for, make sure they are charged for the extra people.
- Make sure they understand the basics of a septic system and what they can and can NOT flush.
- Take out the garbage disposal unit before you rent the unit.
- Put up a large sign in the laundry advising what products to use and what products to avoid. Consider small signs in the bathrooms alerting the user not to flush more than human waste and septic friendly toilet paper.
- Make sure that they have an idea where the drain field is and instruct them not to plant plants that could destroy the system with their roots.
Final advice to landlords, make sure your maintenance includes a septic pumping every year if you are renting the property. The baffle allows the solid waste to stay in the first tank and not clog the pump and the drain field. Without regular maintenance a $2 part can cost thousands.
We have had great experience with A Wesco Septic who have been great to work with and kept us informed every step of the way. Hopefully this helps landlords and future landlords cover their bases when renting out their properties.
Contact us if you are looking to get an investment property as we would be happy to help with all of your real estate needs.