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Plumbing can be a confusing thing to many homeowners. The function, maintenance, and problem solving when it comes to a septic system is no exception. There are many questions homeowners have when it comes to their septic tank problems, and AAA City Plumbing has an experienced team of licensed plumbing specialists that can tackle any problem your septic tank might have.

There a few common questions that our team at AAA City Plumbing have heard over the years, and we thought we would take the time to answer some of them.

Will bleach harm septic tanks?

Everyone loves a good clean home. There is nothing better than coming home to a sparkly and fresh home that has been properly cleaned and sanitized from germs and harmful bacteria. Just like there is nothing better than pulling freshly bleached white laundry out of the wash. Some would say that chlorine bleach is an ultimate household necessity. But can bleach hurt your septic tank? Bleach is commonly used to kill bacteria and other viruses, won’t it hurt the bacteria in your septic tank?

We say, everything in moderation. Bleach and other household chemicals can absolutely hurt the bacteria that is necessary for the natural processes that break down and treat your wastewater if used too often or in too much volume. The bacteria in your septic tank need an environment that they can thrive in for your system to operate properly. But a little bleach here and there shouldn’t be enough to create any septic tank problems for you. A moderate amount won’t throw off the balance inside your tank.

Here are some tips for using bleach in a way that is also safe for the longevity of your septic tank system.

  • Don’t overuse. Bleach will dilute in large amounts of water, but no matter how diluted it will accumulate over time.
  • Use the recommended ¾ cup of bleach per normal load of laundry if you need to brighten your whites. If you have a lot of laundry to do, and a lot of laundry that needs to be bleached, choosing to stagger your laundry out among a few days will help your septic tank to recover a little easier.
  • Some homeowners go as far as to make a separate drain for their washing machine that does not connect to the septic tank. This is ideal for those who constantly have large and frequent loads of laundry!
  • Refrain from using the clip-on discs that you place inside the toilet bowl to keep it clean. With every flush chlorine, albeit a small amount, is being flushed down into your septic tank system and killing off bacteria.
  • When cleaning the shower and tub, even wiping down the tile or soaking the tub in bleach is a bad idea for your septic system. A good scrubbing will go a long way.
  • Look for bleach alternatives, or cleaners with a lower concentration of bleach. Research shows that biodegradable cleaners such as white vinegar and baking soda are much safer on your septic tank, and certainly much safer than harsher cleaning chemicals.

Like we said before, there is nothing better than a super clean house. But when an excessive use of bleach can cause a complete septic system failure that results in sewage backing up into your home, it is better to be safe than sorry!

Can Borax hurt septic tanks?

Borax is a non-biodegradable cleaning alternative that is naturally forming, and is considered safer than most household chemicals used for cleaning purposes. Borax can be a good alternative for cleaning products for homeowners that have a septic system, but again, all things in moderation.

Borax has been shown to be non-toxic to people, and significantly safer for the beneficial bacteria that live in your septic tank. But too much Borax can leak out into your sewage drain field, killing plants, trees, and in large doses, animals that dwell in your drain field. Overall though, Borax is a much safer alternative to use in your household to try and ensure that you don’t have any septic tank problems. We just don’t recommend pouring an entire bottle down the drain!

Will septic tanks freeze?

Unfortunately, yes. Many components of your septic system are vulnerable when it comes to freezing temperatures. The pipes that come from your house down to your septic tank, and the pipes that lead from the tank to your drain field are particularly susceptible to freezing and damage in the cold winter months. At AAA City Plumbing, we have a few tips for preventing septic tank problems during the coldest weather of the year.

  • Preventing frost in an important step to take during the winter months. Mulch and snow cover can act as an insulating layer over your tank to help prevent frost from penetrating deep into the ground. Compacted snow from vehicle or foot traffic can actually increase the chances of freezing, however, so make sure to check the top of your septic tank often during the winter.
  • Make sure to attend to any leaks or cracks before the winter sets in. Even the smallest of leaks can freeze very quickly, leading to bigger damage. This will prevent you from having to make costly repairs and will help you conserve water as well!
  • A system that is used more often than one that isn’t will also help from having a septic tank freeze. Flowing water will help prevent freezing.
  • Make sure your tank is not filled to capacity. If it is, the effluent can backup into your pipes, freeze, and then burst. This will be a costly repair, amplified by the fact that many plumbing companies will have limited capabilities to getting to your septic system. Snow and ice coverage cause issues actually getting to the tank to pump it. A little forward planning can go a long way.

At AAA City Plumbing, we are dedicated to providing you with quality service. Our experienced team of licensed professionals will be happy to help you with any of your residential or commercial septic tank problems you might be facing.

For more answers to your septic system service questions, be sure to read part 1, part 2, and part 4 of our 4 part series.

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