Does Your Water Softener Affect Your Septic System?

Does Your Water Softener Affect Your Septic System?

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If you have a septic system, you’ve likely heard all about routine septic maintenance. You’ve probably even brushed up on your septic care knowledge before hosting a party or building a house. After all, the integrity of your septic system depends on how your household handles water.

But how does a water softener fit into the picture? 

This type of system treats the water that goes in your home, while the septic system treats what goes out. Naturally, you may wonder if your water softener affects your septic system.

HOW DOES WATER SOFTENER WORK?

First thing’s first: Water softener is a solution for hard water. This “hardness” is caused by high levels of minerals, which mainly include calcium and magnesium.

Hard water isn’t dangerous, but it can be annoying. Common problems associated with hard water include:

  • Soap scum in bathtubs  
  • Mineral deposits left on dishes
  • Stiff laundry
  • Mineral buildup in pipes
  • Extra soap required to clean hair, dishes, or other surfaces

A water softening system can help these issues. It involves a resin bed that swaps the calcium and magnesium for sodium ions. The result is softened water, which flows through your home as usual.

When the resin is full of hardness ions, it begins a regeneration cycle. A high-sodium water, or brine, passes through the resin bed. The brine gives sodium ions in exchange for hardness ions. Eventually, it goes down the drain, taking the hardness ions with it.

WATER SOFTENER AND YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM

Understandably, you might wonder how the process of water softening impacts your septic system. Maybe you’re concerned that the brine will harm your system’s natural bacteria. Or, perhaps you’re worried about the extra liquid entering your septic tank.

There’s also the concern that the hardness ions can disrupt your drain field’s absorption.

Well, we have some good news. A water softener does not pose a problem for your beloved septic system.

In fact, it can lend a hand. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, softened water can promote the growth of “good” bacteria. This will only enhance the effectiveness of your system.

Another study by the Water Quality Research Foundation also found that the brine doesn’t cause overflows. The brine’s high content of calcium and magnesium actually helps solids settle, thus reducing the risk.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR WATER SOFTENER AND SEPTIC SYSTEM

While the above benefits sound great, there’s just one catch: Both systems need to be efficient.

Your water softener must operate properly in order to help your septic system. For instance, a water softener that regenerates too often will surely overload your septic tank.

Likewise, your septic system should be well-maintained. This includes being mindful of water usage and what is sent down the drain.

TREAT YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM WELL WITH PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC

Paradise Septic is ready to answer all your questions. We can explain how your water softener affects your septic system, along with general maintenance and care. We’ll even manage your pumping scheduling with our automated service.

By keeping up with regular maintenance inspections, you’ll help your septic system stay in good shape. In turn, you’ll feel good knowing that your water softener is helping — instead of harming — your system.

Paradise Valley Septic has served Phoenix and the surrounding areas for more than 18 years. We can’t wait to help you, too. Contact us at (480) 351-1725 to get started.

Rain And Your Septic System

Rain and Your Septic System: Everything You Need to Know

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Now that it’s officially monsoon season, it’s important to know what happens to your septic system when there’s heavy rain. Excess water, after all, can make it difficult for your system to do its job. It can also cause long-term problems and damage, especially if your system hasn’t received regular maintenance.

However, by understanding the possible effects of rainy weather, you can prevent problems before they arise.

Let’s look at how Arizona rain affects your septic system.

HEAVY RAIN AND YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM

Generally, most rain-related issues involve the drainfield, which is directly exposed to the elements.

But when it comes to monsoon season, it’s best to know how heavy rain can potentially impact your entire system.

Here are three ways excessive rain can cause problems.

  1. Excess Water Flow

Your septic tank is designed to accommodate a certain amount of wastewater from your home.

But if rainwater merges with your wastewater, your septic tank will receive more liquid than it can handle. In turn, your tank will quickly fill up, causing water to back up into your drains or overwhelm the drainfield.

  1. Clogged Drainfield

Normally, liquid waste exits the tank and flows into the drainfield, where bacteria “digest” organic substances. This process creates purified water, which disperses into the surrounding soil.

Heavy rain poses a problem because rainwater can collect on the drainfield. If this happens, the drainfield can’t properly absorb wastewater because it’s already saturated.

Since the water won’t have anywhere to go, it can back up and overflow your septic tank. Eventually, the overflow can move into your plumbing and cause slow drains, gurgling pipes, and stinky odors.

  1. Groundwater Contamination

Excessive rain can also make it difficult for the drainfield to properly purify water.

If the drainfield is already saturated, the liquid waste won’t be able to filter through the soil. Instead, the untreated water will leak out of the pipes before it’s purified.

This wastewater can then accumulate around the drainfield and flow into groundwater, potentially contaminating nearby streams and water sources.

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM FOR HEAVY RAIN

As you can see, heavy rainfall can cause serious septic issues.

There is good news, though. It’s possible to reduce your risk of potential problems before the rain begins.

Here’s how:

  • Prioritize proper septic maintenance. This includes regular septic pumpings and inspections to catch issues early. When your septic system is in good shape, it will be prepared to handle excessive rainfall.
  • Be mindful of what you flush. Avoid flushing feminine hygiene products, diapers, and paper towels. Your septic system can only break down toilet paper and human waste.
  • Pay attention to what goes down the drain. Similarly, don’t put fat, grease, oil, or chemicals in the drains. This includes bleach, gasoline, and paint thinners.
  • Conserve water. While it’s always wise to save water, it’s even more important during rainy weather. Give your system a break by limiting laundry, long showers, and baths when it’s raining.
  • Redirect runoff water. Make sure runoff isn’t combining with your wastewater. Keep gutters away from your drainfield, too.
  • Keep vehicles away from the drainfield. Avoid driving or parking cars, tractors, or motorcycles on the drainfield. Heavy equipment and vehicles can decrease the area’s absorption by compacting the soil.

PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC WILL GET YOU THROUGH MONSOON SEASON — AND BEYOND

Understandably, Arizona’s monsoon season can be stressful for homeowners. You might also be concerned about rain and your septic system, especially if you’ve had problems in the past.

Paradise Valley Septic is here to help. Our team of experienced technicians can lend a hand before, during, and after monsoon season. Plus, since we’re familiar with Arizona’s rainy weather, we can provide tips for helping your system stay safe during a monsoon.

To schedule an appointment, contact us at (480) 607-7763 or send us a message online.

How Much Water Can a Septic System Handle Each Day?

How Much Water Can a Septic System Handle Each Day?

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Whether you’re flushing the toilet or catching up on laundry, water enters your septic system every day. It’s exactly what makes your home comfortable and functional! Yet, when we go through the motions of everyday life, it can feel like the water simply disappears into the abyss.

In reality, every septic system has a limited capacity, which is why we’re told to avoid overloading our systems with too much water. If your water usage overwhelms your septic tank, you’ll be left with a big problem and an even bigger headache.

But how much is “too much”? The answer is different for every household, but it’s possible to make an educated guess. This way, you can ensure your tank lasts for years to come.

Read on to learn how much water your septic system can handle each day.

HOW YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM TREATS WASTEWATER

Let’s start by looking at how wastewater moves through your trusty septic system.

When wastewater from your household reaches your septic tank, solids and liquids are separated. The solids are broken down by bacteria in the tank, while the liquids travel into the leach field. There’s also a filter that prevents solids from leaving the tank.

In the leach field, pipes with tiny holes filter the remaining wastewater into the surrounding gravel or soil. Here, bacteria in the ground digest leftover organic waste, which purifies the liquid.

This process takes time. So, if your septic tank receives a lot of wastewater at once, the solids can quickly buildup and block your leach field pipes.

The result? Slow drains, standing water in the yard, and unpleasant sewage odors.

HOW DOES A SEPTIC TANK EXCEED ITS CAPACITY?

Overloaded septic tanks are often caused by excessive water usage. This may happen if you:

  • Host a large party without pumping your septic tank first
  • Suddenly have more people living in your house
  • Have a leaky fixture, such as a running toilet

In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, a running toilet could waste up to 200 gallons of water each day. That’s a daily addition of 200 extra gallons in your tank!

Flushing anything other than toilet paper can also cause problems. If items like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and diapers end up in your tank, they can build up and leave less room for actual wastewater.

In other cases, septic problems might be caused by physical damage, improper installation, or lack of routine maintenance.

SO, HOW MUCH WATER CAN MY TANK HOLD?

On average, a person uses 60 to 70 gallons of water per day.

Tanks are designed with the assumption that there are two individuals in each bedroom.

Therefore, a septic tank can typically handle about 120 gallons per bedroom each day.

Residential septic tanks are generally 750 to 1,250 gallons, but the exact size of your tank depends on the size of your house. The only way to know for sure is to ask a reliable septic system provider such as Paradise Valley Septic.

WATER USAGE OF EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES

The best way to stay within your tank’s limit is to understand how much water is used during daily activities.

Once a septic provider confirms your tank’s capacity, you can plan your water usage to accommodate its size.

Here’s a breakdown of how much water is used by different fixtures:

  • Washing machines: 15 to 45 gallons per load
  • Toilets: 1.28 to 7 gallons per flush
  • Showers: 17.2 gallons per shower (or 2.1 gallons per minute)
  • Bathroom sinks: 1.5 to 2.2 gallons per minute
  • Kitchen sinks: 2 to 5 gallons per minute
  • Dishwashers: 4 to 6 gallons per cycle

While these numbers are general estimates, this list shows how much H2O simple activities can use.

Additionally, older fixtures typically utilize more water. Newer high-efficiency models use less water and are at the lower end of these ranges.

PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC CAN DETERMINE YOUR SEPTIC TANK’S CAPACITY

If you live in the Phoenix Valley or the surrounding areas, give us a call. We can let you know how much water your septic system can handle so you can plan accordingly. Our team is also happy to provide tips on how to save water based on your household size.

With careful planning and yearly septic maintenance, your system will stay happy and healthy for years to come.  

Let Paradise Valley Septic take care of your septic system needs. To schedule an appointment, contact us at (480) 607-7763.