How Does Laundry Affect Septic Systems?

septic system laundryDid you know that doing laundry affects a septic system’s health? The correlation is more indirect, but the ramifications are quite serious. We’ll explain how a seemingly harmless chore like washing clothes can cause harm to the septic system.

Laundry and Septic Systems: What’s the Connection?

The average American household completes about 300 loads of laundry every year. Depending on the washer model and setting, the appliance may use anywhere from five to 45 gallons of water per wash cycle.

Why is this bad for the septic system? The wastewater from the wash cycle exits the appliance and enters the septic tank. The septic system needs time to separate the waste from the water. A sudden surge of water can disrupt the tank’s treatment solutions. This leads to plumbing backups and a flooded drain field.

Prevention Measures

Schedule an annual OSS inspection. The inspector will recommend a septic pumping interval based on your current usage level. A septic system overdue for a pump will have a harder time handling a water surge.

As far as laundry goes, follow these washing tips:

  • Always set the washer to the proper load setting. A large setting for a small laundry load is a waste of water and becomes an unnecessary burden on the septic system.
  • Space the laundry out. Instead of doing the colored clothes right after the whites, wait a few hours or even a whole day.
  • When replacing the washer, look for an Energy Star model. These use about half the water as a standard washing machine.

We Assess Your Septic System

We are a septic system and grease trap cleaning service based in Bellingham. Contact Lil John Sanitary Services if you notice backups or a slow drain. Doing laundry affects septic systems more than you think; be mindful of the frequency of your wash cycles.

Septic System Assessment and Pumping

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme