You, Your Garbage Disposal and Your Septic Tank

August 8, 2016

Did you know that 81 million homes use a septic system in the United States? It’s more common than you may think. That’s 65.5% of all American homes! Yet, only 23 million of these homes have a garbage disposal installed.

We don’t know about you, but our garbage disposal is our best friend. It helps keep our home smelling fresh and clean, helps us cut back on how many times we have to take the trash out, and it means less solid waste that will just end up sitting in a landfill! Still, the 78% of homes with a septic system, and no garbage disposal, say they don’t use the device because they think it will be too hard on their septic system or drain field.

Don’t worry though. As long as you stay on top of your septic tank maintenance and your septic system has been sized correctly, a garbage disposal is perfectly fine. You just need to know what you can and cannot put down your garbage disposal. Once you know that, the device can be a real life safer when it comes to your chore list and the environment (less solid waste means less emissions when landfill is burned plus, fewer garbage bags).

Yet, a lot of us use our garbage disposal like a trash can. We dump leftover rice down the sink, peel potatoes right over the garbage disposal, or stuff down the ends of our chopped veggies.

All of that is hard on your garbage disposal. It’s like when you do too many chores around the house. If you spend your Saturday mopping, washing the dog, and cleaning the bathroom afterward, you end up collapsing on your couch at the end of the day with your remote in hand and a scowl that reads like a neon sign saying “don’t ask me to do anything more!”

The same goes for your garbage disposal. If you ask it to do too much, it’s going to start gurgling louder than usual to indicate that it’s out of commission.

When we pump out a tank that has heavy garbage disposal use, it is pretty obvious. The excess food from your dinner will begin to pile up under the inlet pipe of the tank. When there’s a pile-up in your tank, you can expect that your septic tank will need extra pumpings. Plus, all those leftovers can overthrow your system’s bacterial balance. Meaning, your septic system will become less efficient in treating wastewater. To help avoid that, here are 6 things to stop putting down your sink the next time you’re thinking of flipping the switch of your Sinkerator.

6 Things You Can’t Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

  1. Never pour grease, oil, or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability and will clog your drains.
  2. Don’t put too many potato peels down your device. The starch will turn into a thick paste and can cause the blades to stick. The same goes for rice and other starch rich foods.
  3. Never put large amount of food down the garbage disposal at one time. Instead, feed them into the device a little at a time so that food scraps can flow freely through your drain pipes.
  4. Avoid putting expandable foods, like pasta or rice, down the garbage disposal. Rice and pasta expand in water and will often cause jams and clogs in your pipes.
  5. Definitely avoid putting coffee grounds down your garbage disposal. Those grounds can damage the blades and your pipes.
  6. Never grind fibrous materials like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, or artichokes. These can tangle and jam your disposal

To keep your garbage disposal and septic tank functioning at their peak performance, keep these tips in mind the next time you are cooking dinner or emptying out your fridge. You can also keep the blades of your garbage disposal sharp and clean by tossing a few ice cubes down your sink. This trick will also help break up any grease build-up that has accumulated. Or, use baking soda and vinegar for any stubborn smells.

If you have any concerns about how your garbage disposal is affecting your septic tank, give us a call and our team will be happy to help! Ask us about septic tank pumping and maintenance, pump replacement, drain field replacement, as well as many of our other extended services. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Have a question? Need service?

Call us TODAY at 770-461-6033