Why These Things Affect Septic Systems

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Understanding Septic System Problems

After we moved into a home with a septic system, I realized that we had to do something to understand what to expect. We started reading more and more about septic issues, and before we knew it, we had our first problem. Fortunately, because we were prepared, we didn't have to second guess our decision to call a repair person. Now when we have septic system issues, we don't worry as much about it and it is a great feeling. This blog is all about understanding common septic system problems and knowing how to fix them the first time around.


Why These Things Affect Septic Systems

10 August 2023
 Categories: , Blog

The septic system works efficiently and safely if you treat it well. For example, you should control the wastes that enter the septic system. Below are things that should not enter the septic system.

Hot Water

Hot water from swimming pools, bathtubs, or other sources should not end up in the septic system. For one, the septic bacteria responsible for breaking down waste are living things. Like most living things, the bacteria survive best within certain temperature ranges that the hot water might exceed. If that happens, your septic system's efficiency reduces.

Secondly, the additional water can harm the septic system irrespective of temperature. Each septic system treats a finite capacity of waste at a time. If you empty hot water sources into the tank, the excess water overwhelms it and sends untreated waste to the drain field.


Chemicals get into the septic system in various ways. For example:

  • Bath chemicals can get into the system if you drain your bathtubs into the septic system
  • House cleaning detergents can flow into the septic system through the house drains
  • You might send chemicals into the septic system if you clean chemical containers in the bathroom
  • You might use drain cleaners to unclog slow drains and contaminate your septic system

Whatever the source of the chemicals, they can kill the beneficial bacteria in the septic system. The inevitable result is compromised waste treatment.


Fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) mainly come from kitchen waste as cooking by-products. The FOGs are bad for almost every part of the septic system. For example, the FOGs can coalesce and solidify within the drainage pipes even before reaching the tank, clogging the pipes.

Secondly, the FOGs can remain in the pretreatment chambers even as the rest of the waste move through the system. The more FOGs accumulate in the chambers, the more they dampen the system's treatment ability. Lastly, FOGs in the drain field clog it and reduce its porosity, leaving untreated waste on the surface for a long time.


Lastly, you should not let solid wastes or trash enter the septic system. Such wastes usually enter the septic system when people flush things down the toilet. For example, some people flush wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, and even cat litter down the toilet.

Unfortunately, such trash can clog the drainage system and cause effluent backup. In addition, trash doesn't break down easily, so it will fill the septic tank fast. In short, using the toilet for trash disposal increases the risk of septic clogs, breakdowns, and frequent tank pumping.

Contact a local company to learn more, like A-1 Complete Septic Tank Service.