If you're going on an extended vacation and you've hired someone to watch your house, you need to discuss septic safety with them as soon as possible. This is particularly important if your house sitters aren't familiar with septic safety. You don't want to return home to septic issues or have your septic tank overflow while you're gone. Here are five things you need to tell your house sitters.
1. The Toilet Is Not a Trash Can
When your toilet is attached to the city sewer system, you might not think about the things that are flushed down the toilet. Many people wrongly assume that there's no harm in flushing baby wipes, tampons, and even condoms down the toilet. Unfortunately, that's not the case. While these items can cause problems for city sewer lines, they cause even more significant damage to septic systems.
Condoms are perhaps the worst offender when you consider things that shouldn't be flushed down the toilet. One condom can fill with water and become a large balloon that blocks off an entire drain pipe. When leaving instructions for your house sitters, provide clear instructions that toilet paper and human waste are the only acceptable items to flush down the toilets.
2. Garbage Disposals Shouldn't Be Overused
Garbage disposals make life much easier around the kitchen. Unfortunately, they're not very good for your septic system. Too much food going through the garbage disposal will clog up your septic lines and add additional layers to the sediment layer at the bottom of the septic tank. Items like coffee grounds, egg shells, and potato peels are particularly harmful.
To make sure that your garbage disposal doesn't become a problem while you're out of town, discuss alternative methods of food disposal with your house sitters. Some alternatives include feeding safe scraps to your pets, utilizing a compost heap for egg shells and potato peels, and tossing all other food waste in the trash can.
3. Water Use Should Be Monitored
If you plan to have house sitters in your home, talk to them about the proper way to monitor their water use. Extended showers and excessive use of the washing machine can put too much pressure on your septic system. Once your septic tank becomes inundated with water, the entire septic system will fail. When that happens, raw sewage may back up into your home, especially into the bathtubs.
For maximum protection, your house sitters should limit their laundry to one or two loads a day. They should also avoid washing machine use on rainy days. The soil over your septic tank becomes saturated on rainy days, which makes it difficult to process the additional laundry water.
4. Paint Brushes Shouldn't Be Washed in the Sink
If your house sitters will be tasked with projects such as interior or exterior painting, remind them that paint supplies should be washed outside in a protected area. Paint brushes, rollers, and pans should never be washed in your sinks. All paint—including latex and oil-based paint—can wreak havoc on your septic system.
They should also be warned against pouring paint solvents down the drains, as they can destroy the good bacteria that your septic system needs to process waste.
5. Issues Should Be Reported Immediately
When you sit down to discuss proper septic system use with your house sitters, give them a list of warning signs they should watch for. Those signs include foul sewage odors from the drains, brown water that comes up in the bathtub, or soggy areas in the area above the septic field. If your house-sitters experience any of these issues, they should report them to you immediately.
Don't take chances with your septic system. If you have arranged for house sitting services while you're on an extended vacation, talk to them about the septic care instructions provided above. To reduce the risk of septic problems, have your septic system serviced before you leave town. Contact us at O'Fallon Sewer Service to schedule a service call.