For most individual homeowners in the United States, the most enticing water conservation benefit is saving money. However, lowering your utility bills is not the only benefit derived from practicing water efficiency indoors. By implementing water efficiency techniques in homes utilizing septic systems, homeowners can avoid costly repairs and potential sewage contamination of their property.
You can reduce the amount of water pumped into your septic tank by reducing the amount you and your family use. Water conservation practices include repairing leaky faucets, toilets and pipes, installing low cost, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, and only running the washing machine and dishwasher when full. In the US, most of the household water used is to flush toilets (about 27%). Placing filled water bottles in the toilet tank is an inexpensive way to reduce the amount of water used per flush.
Install Low-Flow Water Fixtures
Upgrading your house to low-flow water fixtures can dramatically reduce water consumption while also decreasing the amount of wastewater flowing into your septic tank – which is vital to proper septic system maintenance.
- High-Efficiency Toilets
Toilet use accounts for 25 to 30 percent of household water use. Toilets that pre-date 1995 could use up to 5 GPF (Gallons Per Flush) while modern toilets use an average of 1.6 GPF. Many newer models offer a dual flush option where a lower water usage option is available for liquid waste, and a slightly higher water usage option is available for solid waste. Replacing existing toilets with high-efficiency models is an easy way to reduce the amount of household water entering your septic system.
- Faucets and Showerheads
Faucets, showerheads, or toilets that were installed prior to 1995 use up to 60% more water. Faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restrictors help reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system.
Switch to Water Efficient Appliances
Using an Energy Star certified washing machine can reduce your water usage by an average of 35%. If you are like most American households who does around 300 loads of laundry per year, that is a huge impact.
Try to spread washing machine use throughout the week. Doing all household laundry in one day might seem like a time-saver; but it can harm your septic system, not allow your septic tank enough time to treat waste, and could flood your drainfield. Also, washing small loads of laundry on your washing machine’s large-load cycle wastes water and energy. By selecting the proper load size, you will reduce water waste. If you are unable to select a load size, run only full loads of laundry.
Most households run the dishwasher multiple times a week, if not every day. Making the switch to a more water efficient dishwasher can save an average of 10 gallons per cycle. In terms of dishwashers and septic tanks, the volume of water used from a dishwashing machine should not be an issue if your septic system is in good working order. However, limiting the amount of water that is discharged from your dishwasher will help maintain a healthy septic system.
Improve Water Filtration Efficiency
Not all systems for filtering your water are created equally. A typical Reverse Osmosis filter, for instance, can create up to 5 gallons of waste for every one gallon of purified water produced. However, discharged water is often suitable for other household uses.
Check for Leaks
Check all faucets and appliances periodically and fix leaks promptly. Even a seemingly minor drip can waste multiple gallons of water per day and puts unnecessary water into your septic tank. Check your sinks, toilets, showers and outdoor spigots frequently to avoid costly and unnecessary waste. Many households don’t realize what a large impact drips and leaks can have on their monthly water bill.
At West Coast Sanitation, we know that you don’t have time to deal with septic problems. If you think that your system has reached capacity, please give us a call right away. We have professionals ready to answer your questions and get your system working properly again.