If you've recently transitioned from apartment living to homeownership, you may be excited at the prospect of hosting large parties in a more expansive space. However, adding the extra strain of multiple toilet flushes -- or worse, showers -- on an unsuspecting septic or sewer system can cause major problems. What can you do to maintain your new plumbing and help it last for years with minimal maintenance? Read on to learn more about the potential impact a temporary crowd can have on your home's sewage system, as well as what you can do to help stave off any problems and provide a great experience for your guests.
How does a party impact your septic system?
Whether you have a septic tank or are hooked up to a public sewer system, suddenly adding a large number of people to your household can significantly increase your water consumption and the amount of waste being pumped through your pipes. This phenomenon becomes even worse if you're hosting your party around a popular sporting or entertainment event, like a long-anticipated wrestling match or annual awards ceremony. These highly-viewed events can sometimes impact reservoir levels or lead to a dangerously low drop in water pressure during commercial breaks.
In addition, if your guests are generous with their use of toilet tissue or attempt to flush unsuitable objects down the toilet, you could find yourself dealing with a major clog or backup mid-party. As the host, you'll likely be too busy to check the bathroom periodically -- and if your guests are too embarrassed to let you know they've clogged the toilet, the problem could become much worse before you're made aware of it.
Your toilets aren't the only potential victims of party stress -- the extra water you may use when preparing food for your party (or the dishwasher running during and after the festivities) can also strain your septic system or lower water pressure throughout your house.
What should you do to help protect your plumbing during a party?
Fortunately, a bit of pre-party preparation should be all that's needed to keep your pipes in good working condition during (and after) the party.
If you're preparing some of your party foods at home or know you'll be using the dishwasher during and after the party, it's important to give your sink and dishwasher a thorough cleaning to prevent mid-party failure. Removing lime scale buildup from inside your dishwasher's jets and drainage system can help it function much more efficiently, and ensuring your sink is free from oily clogs can allow water to pass through without putting any strain on your pipes.
Provide a discreet wastebasket for guests
Toilet paper can be rough on septic tanks -- and even for those with public sewer access, too much toilet paper could lead to a stubborn clog. Providing discreet wastebaskets with closing lids in each bathroom (and even a sign gently reminding guests to throw their toilet paper and feminine hygiene products away in the trash rather than flushing) can go a long way toward reducing the amount of solid waste put into your pipes during a party.
Test your sinks and toilets
Often, party use of the restroom facilities can simply exacerbate an existing plumbing problem, finally bringing it to light. By thoroughly inspecting the toilets and sinks in each of your guest bathrooms before your party, you'll be on top of any needed repairs and can ensure that there are no latent issues that could rear their heads at the least opportune time. Flush your toilets several times to ensure that they refill quickly, and treat any minor clogs with a commercial drain cleaner.
If you run into any problems before or after the party, it may be helpful to contact professional plumbing services to deal with the problem.