A common question that our Clermont FL septic company hears is, “Is Using a Garbage Disposal Safe For Septic Systems?” Although there are not any codes or regulations in Florida prohibiting the use of the garbage disposal with a septic system, we advise our customers to proceed with caution when using both together.
The Garbage Disposal Isn’t a Trash Can
One of the reasons some Florida homeowners experience trouble with their septic tank is because they treat the garbage disposal like a trash cash.
When they stuff vegetables, leftovers, macaroni, rice, grease, and anything that can fit down the drain, it all eventually finds its way to the septic system.
Many things being placed into a garbage disposal can’t be broken down by the bacteria in the septic tank while others like rice and macaroni expand in size and can clog the lines before ever reaching the tank.
When our Clermont FL septic tank repair teams are pumping out the tanks of customers, we can instantly tell who overuses the garbage disposal by the piles of food caked under the inlet pipe of the tank.
Along with the need for extra pumping, that septic tank full of dinner leftovers could throw your septic tank’s bacteria out of balance, making it run less efficiently in treating all that wastewater.
Stop Overusing The Kitchen Garbage Disposal
The best advice if you have a septic tank system is try to imagine the disposal is not there in the first place. By using that disposal each day, you run the risk of having an adverse effect on the septic system, resulting in more pump outs and potential repairs.
Pretending the disposal is not there will benefit the septic system in the long run. While little pieces of food in the disposal are fine, the wrong types of food or too much tip that balance and make the septic system have to work harder to do its job.
Get into the habit of scraping most of the leftover food on the plate or in the cooking pans right into the trash, then you can rinse the rest in the sink and use the disposal with far less concern.
Can Specialty Garbage Disposers Like the Insikerator Evolution Septic Help?
There is a big buzz in this area concerning the Insikerator Evolution garbage disposal and how it can grind food particles into tiny pieces that are safe for the septic, but how true are those claims?
Like anything else, you really have to read between the lines here before rushing out to make the switch. Too much organic matter in that septic tank can overload the bacteria, not to mention the additives going down the drain with the food so the system runs efficiently.
Additives aren’t recommended for any septic system, they are simply adding something most professional septic repair companies in the industry will tell you does not help the septic tank. It is safer to use the garbage disposal minimally, putting most of the trash, grease, and food waste into the trash can.
The Do’s and Don’ts for Using a Garbage Disposal with Septic Systems
- DO pump out the septic tank more frequently if garbage disposal is being used heavily.
- DON’T put food, macaroni, veggie peels, grease, egg shells, etc. down that garbage disposal.
- DO consider building a compost pile for all those leftover peelings, coffee grounds, and egg shells.
- DO pretend the garbage disposal is NOT there.
- DON’T use the garbage disposal like a trash can.
- DON’T put grease or any oils down the drain.
8 Things That Should NEVER Go Down The Garbage Disposal
There are some items that should never be placed in the garbage disposal, whether you have a septic tank or not. They can clog your pipes along with being hard on a home septic system. Plumbers and septic companies agree on avoiding these items:
1. Fibrous and Stringy Foods
Avoid putting vegetables like celery, asparagus, or corn husks down the garbage disposal because those particular items can easily wrap around the blades and possibly break the disposal.
2. Bones, Seeds or Pits
Keep bones. fruit pits or large seeds out of the garbage disposal because they can hurt the unit. If a cherry, peach, or avocado pits accidentally gets into the garbage disposal, disconnect the power to the device and get it out before running or you will damage the blades instantly.
3. Coffee Grinds
Those coffee grinds appear so tiny they are harmless, but once they get into the disposal they can cause significant wear on the sharpness of the blades in very short order.
4. Oil, Fats, Grease
We all know what happens when bacon grease is left in the frying pan. It solidifies and hardens, and this is exactly what is happening in the pipes when grease goes down the drain. Once the grease hardens and the line clogs, you have even bigger problems on your hands.
5. Egg Shells
The stringy membrane of the egg shells could wrap around the garbage disposal and eventually clog your pipes. Toss those egg shells in the trash or in your mulch pile because they make great fertilizer!
6. Beans, Rice, Pasta
The beans, rice, and pasta contain starch, and will eventually expand in the drains as they come into contact with water. Even if these particular foods are fully cooked, they continue to expand and can clog the pipes.
7. Potato Peels
The peels of the potatoes contain an abundance of starch too, forming a thick paste-like substance that not only clog the garbage disposal, other food particles cling to those peels, blocking the passage of water to the septic.
8. Non-Food Items
If the item that’s going into the garbage disposal is not food related, it’s best to put it in the trash can where it belongs. Similar to the “Do Not Flush Rules,” these include cigarette butts, rubber bands, bread ties, pull tabs, sponges, wipes, and any other non-organic items. These things are not capable of breaking down, so they will either get stuck in the lines, dull the blades of the disposal, or stay trapped inside the septic tank.