Will My Septic System Work During a Power Outage?
PLEASE NOTE: If you continue to use water by flushing toilets, washing dishes, or even taking showers, the septic tank continues to fill. When effluent doesn’t get pumped to the drainfield, the pump tank becomes full and effluent may back up into the house!
Here in Southwest Florida we expect power outages from time to time. Mostly as a result of some powerful storms, then again other issues, like a car accident, could also cut the power to your house. First you need to make sure your family is safe. You should always have flashlights and battery operated lights ready for such an event. You should always avoid using candles if possible to reduce the chance of accidentally starting a house fire. If you have a generator you can usually choose what appliances you want to keep working in your house. If you don’t have a generator, and you also have a septic system, you will want to know what to do in the even you lose power. Usually people want to know, will my septic system work during a power outage? Let’s look at some factors to answer that question and how you can keep your family safe.
Be “water-wise” during power outages
When you loose power your toilets, sinks and showers may still work. You will want to reduce the amount of water you use as your septic tank will still collect the water, but it won’t be pumping the effluent (liquid sewage from the septic tank) to the drainfield.
- Turn off the breaker for your septic pump
- Take quick showers
- Do not wash laundry
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shaving or rinsing dishes
- Try not to flush the toilet every time its used for liquid waste
What to do when power is restored
There are two types of pump systems, On-Demand and Timer. Its important to know which one you have. If you have a time pump system, this means a timer automatically will turn on in preset intervals to pump water to the drainfield. In this system, the timer is set up so work with how the drainfield was designed, and how much water it can handle. In this case you can turn the breaker back on and restore the power to your system, and the timer will work to effectively restore your system without over loading the drainfield.
The second type is what is called the on-demand system. In this set up the pump turn on and pumps waste water to the septic drainfield when the water reaches a preset level in the tank. In this type of system you will need to be patient when restoring power so that you don’t cause damage to your drainfield and property.
Here is what you should do, to help restore your septic system
- When the power is restored, turn the pump ‘on’ for 2 minutes and ‘off’ for 4 – 6 hours. You are now “dosing” the right amount of effluent into the drainfield over a given period of time. If there was little water use during the power outage, the pump may automatically turn off during the first manual dosing.
- Conserve water and continue the 2-minute pumping every 4 – 6 hours until the pump turns itself off.
If you have any questions about your system, or it has been a while since you had your system inspected, give us a call or complete our online request for an appointment. We are Southwest Florida’s top rated septic company.