Can my septic system handle a holiday gathering?

This year’s holiday gatherings may look a little different than they have in the past. Perhaps you’ll be inviting only immediate family or a few close friends instead of hosting a large crowd. Even so, your septic system is designed to accommodate a certain number of people on a daily basis. 

So, what happens when you host a holiday gathering? Can your septic system handle the extra flushes and water usage? Keep the information below in mind and you’ll be safe from septic tank surprises during this holiday season. 


First, understand the size of your septic system

Typically, your septic system supports a certain number of people based on the number of bedrooms in your home. For example, if you have a three-bedroom home, your septic tank size is based on 1.5+ people per bedroom. We calculate an average expected water usage from each person in the household and select an appropriate tank size to accommodate your family’s water consumption and plumbing needs. 

We also take other factors into consideration, such as whether or not your kitchen has a garbage disposal, your bathroom has a jacuzzi tub, or you regularly have more people living with you or staying at your house. That’s how your septic tank and drainfield size are calculated – or were calculated before you owned the house. 


Next, think about extra guests and water usage

If your septic system is doing its job during non-holiday seasons, it’s probably because you: 


Now, think about adding extra people to the mix

Extra people means increased water usage at the sink and extra flushes in the bathrooms. If you overwhelm your septic tank with a larger-than-normal volume in a short period of time, you could end up maxing out your drainfield capacity. What does this mean for you and your guests? Potentially, backed up toilets and an overflowing drainfield. 

This certainly doesn’t mean you should cancel your plans to host a holiday gathering this season. However, it does mean that if you want to avoid plungers and plumbing disasters, you should take these steps to minimize the shock to your septic system (and your party guests).


Plan ahead

Of course, you’re planning the party from the menu to the decorations, but you also need to plan ahead in terms of reducing your water usage in the days leading up to the soirée. 

  • Avoid doing several loads of laundry or running the dishwasher a few days before your guests arrive
  • Do as much food preparation as possible ahead of time to reduce your water usage on the day of the party
  • Schedule a septic tank inspection a few weeks before your gathering to make sure your system is functioning optimally
  • Check your drainfield

On the day of your party, be sure to inform your guests about the dos and don’ts of septic systems, including what’s OK to flush and what isn’t. (You can even hang a cute sign in your guest bathrooms to remind people.)


Ready for the challenge?

Think your septic system is ready for the challenge of a holiday gathering? The best way to find out is to contact the professionals at Paradise Valley Septic. We’re experts at evaluating your entire septic system and identifying any existing or potential problems – before you send out the guest invitations. 

In the Phoenix area, Paradise Valley Septic is experienced in all aspects of septic systems, from installation to maintenance and repair. Call us to schedule an appointment or contact us online today.


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