If you’ve lived in your home for some time, you may find yourself looking around wishing for a facelift. Or if you just bought a fixer-upper, you may not even have had time to sit down yet. But if you have a septic, before you start your home improvement projects, you need to think about what remodeling with a septic system means.
What special considerations can you anticipate? How will home improvements affect your septic system? Can projects operate like normal?
Remodeling With A Septic System
When it comes to remodeling with a septic system, it’s better to plan ahead. The saying “it’s better to ask for forgiveness, not permission” does not apply.
Your septic tank was built to handle a specific size of home and household.
Adding an office or mudroom is one thing, but if your household expansion adds space for more people or more water resources (like a bathroom or laundry room), you’ll want to verify that your tank can handle the additions. Too much water with too small of tank leads to backups and your system’s inability to treat the wastewater, leaving your home properly.
Landscaping Changes and Installing Pools
Your septic system dwells in your yard, just under the surface. So whatever you do above ground affects its ability to function underground.
This includes significant landscaping changes. Adding a patio, heavy lawn decorations, or even certain trees and shrubs can be disastrous for your septic.
And before you start digging out a spot for your new pool, make sure your plans mesh well with your existing septic.
When adding drywall, your contractor and construction workers may utilize your sink to clean off the joint compound from their tools.
This is a big NO.
While the compound looks like it’s dissolving into the water just fine, these compounds contain high amounts of minerals like limestone and talcum, making its pH around 7.5 – 9. A healthy septic tank’s pH is typically around 6.5-7.5. See the potential issue? The addition of the compound and minerals will kill off the beneficial bacteria necessary for breakdown waste in your septic tank.
So, if you are remodeling with a septic system, make sure to wash the drywall tools outside of the home.
Painting Your Home
Most folks know not to wash oil-based paints down the drain. But, what about latex paint?
While dubbed the “eco-friendly” alternative, latex paints aren’t so friendly with your septic tank. Just like joint compounds, the chemicals in latex paint aren’t healthy for your tank’s bacteria. Additionally, latex paint isn’t designed to break down, including when it’s in your septic tank.
So now, you’re adding to your tank’s sludge layer while also killing the bacteria that could help break things down—a double whammy of trouble.
Once the home improvements are made, the clean-up begins. When cleaning up, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t dispose of any drywall remnants or construction dust down the drain.
- Use septic-safe cleaning agents (ones without strong chemicals and bleach).
- If bleach must be used, follow the instructions to dilute the mixture properly.
Septic Inspections for Home Buyers and Remodeled Homes
When buying a home with a septic system, it’s always essential to have the septic inspected. This is especially true if the house was recently remodeled. Before purchasing a home, make sure the septic system is healthy and that the recent home improvements didn’t damage the home’s septic system.
Get Your Septic Ready for Home Improvements
Before remodeling with a septic system, take time to get yourself and your septic ready. Before starting an irreversible home project, verify things like septic tank size, drain field location, and permitting regulations.