How to prolong the life of home drainage systems

July 29, 2015

Most people who aren't plumbers don't think much about septic systems. But, as a home owner, you'll want to try your best to keep them running smoothly to save you time, work and money. Here are some tips to do that.

How to prolong the life of home drainage systems

Keep drain systems clear

Here's an easy way to keep your drains free of clogs:

  • Mix 225 grams (one cup) of baking soda with 250 millilitres (one cup) of salt and 50 grams (1/4 cup) of cream of tartar.
  • About once a week, pour 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of this mixture into each drain, followed by one litre (one quart) of boiling water.
  • Be careful pouring the hot water.

Keep grease out of your septic system

  • The anaerobic bacteria that break down septic waste can't digest grease, so the stuff just floats to the top, clogging the leach field of your septic system.
  • To prolong the life of your septic system, scrape all grease from your dishes and pans into cans and toss it into the trash.
  • Or have a grease trap installed in your waste line and clean it regularly.

Don’t use a garbage disposal with a septic system

  • If your sink has a garbage disposal, you'll naturally dump more solid stuff down the drain.
  • Even though it's ground up, this stuff will put an excess load on your septic tank's filtration system, allowing some solids into the leach field.
  • Once your leach field clogs up, the septic tank follows, and it's time to call those expensive guys with backhoes to dig it all up.

Don't drive over your septic field

  • Septic leach fields need oxygen to work.
  • If you drive over the field, you'll compress the soil, squeezing out the air and shortening the effective life of the field.

Prevent rust buildup in galvanized pipes

Galvanized pipes have a zinc coating designed to resist rust. Trouble is, after a couple of decades, the flow of water wears away at the pipes and rust starts to build up. There are three ways to prevent rust build up.

1. You can prolong the life of the pipes by having a plumbing service ream out and flush the pipes annually.

2. You can also slow down the rust by turning the water heater down to about 30°C (85°F), which you shouldn't do if you have a dishwasher, which needs a higher temperature to clean properly.

3. Of course, the most permanent solution is to install copper pipes that don't rust.

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