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.