It has been eons since I lived in a house with a septic tank, but I know some of you still do, and this is for you.
The Environmental Protection Agency has some tips on how to keep waste in its place and not let septic-system problems get out of hand:
Spread laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day. Consider fixing plumbing leaks and installing faucet aerators and water-efficient products. Too much water use at once can overload your system, particularly if it hasn’t been pumped in the last couple of years.
Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain; these can clog your system.
Homeowners should have a septic system inspected every three years by a licensed contractor and have the tank pumped when necessary, generally every three to five years. Regular inspection and pumping of a septic system can save homeowners from costly repairs. On average, it costs $250 to pump a system, while the price of replacing a conventional septic system is $5,000 to $10,000.
Ask guests to put in the toilet only things that belong there. Dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes, feminine-hygiene products, cigarette butts and cat litter can clog and potentially damage septic systems.
Remind guests not to park or drive on your system’s drain field, because the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow, causing system backups and floods.
Q. I had lovely delft kitchen tiles installed as a backsplash in 1981. I am now moving everything from one side of the room to another and want to reuse the tiles. Do you have any ideas how to do it?
Removing tiles from a wall successfully seems to depend on the wall and on the adhesive used. For example, it has been my experience that tiles on plaster walls that were installed after the plaster cured are much easier to salvage than those stuck to drywall.
The worst luck I’ve had was with wet-bed installations – tiles embedded in wet concrete. It is virtually impossible and incredibly labor-intensive to do so.
Delft tiles continue to be made and sold. You would be taking on more work than is warranted by trying to reuse them.
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