How to Educate Tenants On Septic Systems

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How to help tenants understand septic systems and what it takes to maintain them to avoid problems is the maintenance checkup this week provided by Keepe.

If your rental property has a septic system, you must learn the warning signs that can save you and your tenants a lot of trouble – and expense.

Let’s explore the most common issues in septic systems and rental property that are likely to arise:

  • As a property manager or landlord, you are responsible for maintaining your building’s septic tank. Regular plumbing every three to four years, depending on your tank, is the key to maintenance to avoid premature failing of septic systems.
  • You can give your tenants a list of do’s and don’ts for what to put and not to put down the toilet or kitchen sink drain.
  • In addition, give tenants information on the common symptoms they might see when a septic tank is failing to ensure you can identify the problem quickly before more damage happens.
septic systems and rental property

Tenants should also avoid very long showers, use the washing machine no more than once a day, and refrain from excessive use of garbage disposals.

Drain Maintenance Habits

Do not put these items down a drain (including toilets, sinks, tubs and showers) since they can trigger a septic-system failure:

  • Baby wipes and diapers
  • Large amounts of food waste
  • Any kind of grease. When needed, use alternative cleaning solutions that are septic-safe (like vinegar).

Tenants should also avoid very long showers, use the washing machine no more than once a day, and refrain from excessive use of garbage disposals. Tenants should know to report any drain issues as soon as possible. Being aware of these bad habits can keep tenants informed and aware if any issues were to arise.

Most Common Signs of Septic Systems And Rental Property Failures

septic systems and rental property

Sewer smells can be an indication of an issue with the septic system.

Septic systems are fragile, and issues are bound to arise at some point. Be proactive by keeping an eye out for the most common problems that occur with septic systems:

  1. Backed-up toilet: An overflowing toilet might be a sign that your septic tank is failing, but in most cases, it’s easy to plunge or snake the toilet to drain any buildup.
  2. Sewer smells: Sewer odors are likely to arise if your tank is overflowing. Other reasons might be due to a pump malfunction, such as a transfer pump that has stopped working. In this case, you’d have to have the system inspected to verify the issue. Another reason for a smelly sewer could be due to frozen rank or outflow pipes. If the weather is cold in your region, your septic tank may have frozen. In this case, you would need your tank pumped.
  3. Drain cleaners: Drain cleaners such as toilet disinfecting products that sit in the tank and dissolve slowly might actually have a negative effect on your drain. Also, hazardous chemicals, paints, solvents, antifreeze, and other drain cleaners can have a similar negative effect. Encourage tenants to avoid using these products.
septic systems and rental property

Let tenants know where your septic field is so tenants can enjoy outdoor activities and plant gardens away from the area to avoid contamination.

Other Warnings

 As a property manager, make sure to communicate the status of your septic tank to tenants to avoid related septic issues such as the following:

  • Limited-capacity tank: If your septic tank’s capacity is limited, let your tenants know so they can limit how many guests they have during gatherings in the building.
  • Septic field location: Let tenants know where your septic field is so tenants can enjoy outdoor activities and plant gardens away from the area to avoid contamination.

Other recent rental property maintenance Keepe posts you may have missed:

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About Keepe:

Keepe is an on-demand maintenance solution for property managers and independent landlords. The company makes a network of hundreds of independent contractors and handymen available for maintenance projects at rental properties. Keepe is available in the Greater Seattle area, Greater Phoenix area, San Francisco Bay area, Portland, San Diego and is coming soon to an area near you. Learn more about Keepe at https://www.keepe.com

 

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