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Can I Use a Garbage Disposal with a Septic System?

If your home has a septic system and you’re concerned about whether or not you can install a garbage disposal, you’re in the right place. The answer is yes, you can use a garbage disposal with a septic system, but it comes with risks. 

For that reason, homeowners must take certain preventative measures. For example, if you have a septic system, you must ensure that the garbage disposal does not disrupt the system’s functioning. Many homeowners find it challenging to keep up with these measures, but that is up for each individual to decide. Learn more about the steps you must take to ensure your garbage disposal does not interfere with your septic system below.

How Does a Septic System Work?

A septic tank works by separating floating matter such as oil and grease from the wastewater coming from your home. The floating stuff rises to the top while the solids sink to the bottom. And as the layers of floating sludge grow, the septic tank’s capacity decreases. Bacteria decompose some of the solids but won’t dissolve all of them. That is why you need to have your septic tank pumped regularly.

When you use a garbage disposal with a septic tank, the ground food particles from the garbage disposal add to the solids at the bottom of your septic tank. That means if you use your garbage disposal often, it will dramatically increase the waste pumped into your septic tank. Bacteria cannot decompose these solids quickly enough to make more space, meaning your septic tank will need more frequent inspections and more frequent pumping.

Using a Garbage Disposal with a Septic Tank 

If you want to use a garbage disposal with a septic tank, you must be very careful about what you put in the garbage disposal. You should only dispose of food waste down a garbage disposal. Fats and grease will cause problems, as will any non-food items. That includes plastic utensils, small toys, nuts and bolts, and more. All of these materials can lead to a number of issues, including:

  • Garbage disposal malfunction
  • Clogged drain
  • Clogged pipes leading to septic tank
  • Septic tank backup

To avoid these potential problems and the need for a garbage disposal repair, make sure that food is the only thing you dispose of in your garbage disposal. You should dispose of everything else in the standard garbage can.

Another thing that homeowners can do if they have a garbage disposal with a septic tank is to minimize their garbage disposal use. Only use the garbage disposal for minimal food debris that comes off slightly dirty dishes. Do not use it when dishes have a large bulk of food still on them. 

Many manufacturers now make garbage disposal systems designed for use with septic systems. These systems often include enzyme solutions and other chemicals that assist in the breakdown of solid compounds in the septic tank. These additives are harmful to the bacteria ecosystem inside of your septic tank. Also, they may not be as helpful as advertised for making your garbage disposal work better with your septic tank.

Plumbing experts recommend that homeowners use caution before installing a garbage disposal unit with a septic system. Having a garbage disposal in your kitchen may seem like a great idea because of its convenience, but it comes with a number of potential problems. The risks of ruining your septic system may not be worth it.

Ultimately, you should always discuss your concerns with a plumbing professional. Plumbers can assess your home’s unique situation and determine the best way to use a garbage disposal with a septic tank. They can also answer any questions you have and ensure your systems are correctly installed and operating safely. 

Call Kellie Plumbing for All of Your Garbage Disposal and Septic Tank Needs

If you’ve spent the last 30 minutes googling “plumbers near me,” good news! You landed in the right place. Kellie Plumbing provides a long list of plumbing services to the Franklin area. Our professionals can perform everything from drain cleaning to toilet repair, and we arrive at every job with a fully loaded truck, ready to tackle the task at hand.

Every industry expert on the Kellie Plumbing team is committed to quality service and customer satisfaction. We want our clients to be happy with our work, which is why we treat every home as if it were our own. Call us today to schedule your appointment!