Can you own a garbage disposal if you have a septic tank? Absolutely – but you’ll need to use it carefully and sparingly. For public sewer users, garbage disposals are a no-brainer solution to conveniently getting rid of kitchen waste. With the push of a button or flip of a switch, you can watch cooking waste and leftovers disappear in seconds. However, septic systems aren’t as forgiving as sewer systems when it comes to garbage disposals. If you rely on a septic tank and want to use this modern kitchen appliance, you’ll need to learn some important rules to avoid costly plumbing disruptions.
Understanding Food Waste
While you may assume food waste is easy on your septic system because it is naturally biodegradable. The problem, however, is that food doesn’t break down very quickly. In fact, food breaks down a lot slower than septic-safe toilet paper. This can create issues within your septic tank, which relies on the timely and balanced breakdown of wastes to avoid an overflow or backup. This is why some septic tank owners prefer to start a compost bin or simply throw their food waste in the trash instead of risking a garbage disposal.
Garbage Disposals are Not Garbage Cans
If you learn anything at all about proper garbage disposal usage, understand that they are not meant to replace your trash can. Just because you can put something down the garbage disposal does not mean that you should. To allow your septic tank and garbage disposal to safely coexist, follow these simple “dos” and “don’ts”:
- Use cold water when you grind food. Cold water will cause any grease or oils to solidify so that they can be chopped.
- Pour a small amount of dish soap inside the disposal after washing dishes and run it with cold water for one minute.
- Run your disposal regularly to avoid rust and/or corrosion.
- Grind hard food materials occasionally to scrub the inside the grind chamber and help clean the garbage disposal’s walls.
- Do let your water run about 15 seconds longer than the motor after food has been grinded.
- Do not put anything in the garbage disposal that is not a biodegradable food.
- Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste.
- Don’t turn off the motor until grinding is complete.
- Don’t grind fibrous materials like corn husks, celery stalks or onion skins that can tangle your blades.
- Do not pour oil, fat or grease into the disposal (or your drain)!
- Don’t put large amounts of food down the disposal at once.
- Don’t put coffee grounds or expandable foods like rice or pasta into your disposal.
Septic Repairs Near You
We are experts at diagnosing septic tank issues that result from poor garbage disposal habits. Backups and clogs can be costly, so we encourage customers to use their garbage disposal with caution. If you live in the Cartersville area and suspect septic tank needs attention, call Metro Septic.