The holiday season is just about here, and for most, that means that family members will be coming to stay overnight. While it is certainly nice to have those you love all in one place, the abundance of house guests can also be a strain on your septic tank—especially if your tank is on the smaller side or there has been a lot of rain lately. Here are some tips to avoid septic-tank issues when you have an abundance of house guests.
Be conservative with your showers.
Septic tanks are usually sized based on the expected number of occupants in a home. For instance, if your home has three bedrooms, your septic tank is probably large enough to accommodate the average water use of about five people. If you suddenly cram 12 people into the home and everyone showers back to back in the morning, this might be too much liquid for the tank to handle all at once. So when everyone arrives, have a talk about being conservative with your showers. Ensure your guests know that you have a septic tank and that it might overflow if too much water is used at once. Encourage short showers and taking showers every other day instead of daily. Also, see if guests can split up their showers—some showering in the morning and others in the evening—so not as much water is sent down the tank at once.
Limit garbage-disposal use.
Your garbage disposal can really come in handy, but when you're suddenly cooking for a crowd, all of those food scraps can add up quickly. They add to the volume of solid waste in your tank, leaving less room for liquid waste and increasing the chances of an overflow until they break down (which can take a few weeks). So while your guests are in town, consider putting a ban on the use of the garbage disposal. Start composting your food waste instead—or just bag it up and put it in the trash.
Limit your flushes.
This sounds gross, but it's a lot less gross than having your septic tank leak sewage into your backyard! Make a rule that the toilet can only be flushed after "number two." If someone goes "number one," they should not flush the toilet. You'll end up sending a lot less water down into the septic tank. You may want to put a little sign on the toilet reminding guests of this rule, as most are accustomed to flushing without question each time they use the toilet.
Talk to a plumber for more information about proper care of your plumbing over the holidays.