Septic Protector

pamelahJune 28, 2010

Have any of you installed the Septic Protector filter on your washing machines? Our new home will have a septic tank. I am skittish about a septic system because I have not lived in a septic tank serviced home in 50 years!

The science behind the device leads me to believe that we should install this device, but the seller's website photos do not show the installation into a typical standpipe. If you have intalled it this way, please let me know if you have experienced any issues from diverting the washer discharge up to the Septic Protector unit.

This is the link to the info about the unit:

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Look at the installation picture ... instead of draining it into a wash tub as shown, the bottom of the filter would discharge into the standpipe.

The FAQ specifies "Discharge hose can be routed to a standpipe, wallbox or laundry tub"

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 10:39AM
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Lazygardens, I read the FAQ. My question is whether anyone here had installed the unit and had issues diverting the discharge up to the filter and back down to normal standpipe height. Sorry if my question was poorly worded.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 1:22PM
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I have had a septic tank at our home for the last 21 years with no "septic protector" and have had no problems. We do get it pumped out every 2-3 years. I usually do 3-4 loads of laundry each week. If you use an environmentally friendly detergent I shouldn't think there would be a problem. I would be more concerned with a dishwasher. A lot of the dishwasher detergents contain phosphates.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 3:13PM
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Septic systems is all I've ever had. I've had absolutely no problems with having my washer drain into it. Maintain your septic system by getting it pumped out at LEAST every five years. Every three years if it gets heavier use, such as children still living home.

If you still have concerns, I would look into a gray water system before I'd buy into a "protector".


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 5:00PM
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It isn't the chemicals you need to worry about when running laundry water into septic systems, nearly as much as the fibre particles in modern cloth. Natural fibres break down in a septic but synthetics don't! This was not an issue before cottons, wools and linens gave way to what amounts to plastic clothing. The fibres may not settle into your tank for routine clean-outs, but be carried as a suspension with the water into the leach field where they will eventually settle, and turn into impenetrable mats of petroleum based clogs. You can always switch out a septic tank, you cannot always lay a new leach field.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 5:33PM
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Phosphates have been around a long time, and AFAIK septic system issues had nothing to do with banning them. Wording like "Contains no phosphates. Safe for septic systems", on some laundry product packaging, might give the impression that the two are related.

The idea behind the Septic Protector filter sounds reasonable to me. But the statement "lint is a leading cause of sewer pipe obstructions" in city sewer systems seems inconsistent with the claim that lint stays in suspension in a septic tank. If the lint doesn't settle in a septic tank, which should be sized so the water is largely quiescent, how could it settle in a sewer pipe where the water is in motion? I've always heard that grease is the main cause of sewer pipe clogs.

A few years ago I called a reputable septic contractor and asked how I could prolong the life of my septic field, which had been replaced by a previous owner in 1985. His answer was, put in a two-compartment tank of the appropriate size, with an outlet filter. Now, the outlet filter is a visible mesh, not a micron filter. But I like to think that its filtering capability improves as it fills with other debris. Next time I clean the filter, I ought to dry out the contents and examine it with a microscope, and see if I can identify what it has caught. Anyway, between the outlet filter and the fact that we wear very few synthetics, I think I can do without the Septic Protector unit. It might make sense for some people.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:25PM
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I was looking for the statement about lint being the leading cause of sewer pipe obstructions in city systems and didn't see it. Where did you get that Suburbanmd? My guess would also have been GREASE as well. Especially since the popularity of garbage disposals in most kitchens.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 8:13PM
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"Entire communities, prisons, and laundromats are using the Filtrol 160Â washing machine lint trap, and many contractors are automatically including it with every system they install. Some government agencies would like to make the Filtrol 160Â a code requirement. Many clean water agencies are now writing their materials to include filtering wash water. People on city sewer systems are also using the Filtrol 160Â, because lint is a leading cause of sewer pipe obstructions."

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 9:18PM
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Oh......I didn't go on to read literature on any manufacturer's products. Thanks. I wonder if entities not directly involved with filter sales and manfacture would support that statement?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 3:12AM
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We JUST moved into a house with a septic system in December '09. Like you, I was very skittish about getting on septic and that was compounded by the fact that our system failed it's inspection!

We ended up with a new tank, but two of the laterals are still iffy. At any rate, one of the things we did do was put on a Septic Protector. I get less stuff in it now than I did initially, but wow - it was an eye opener.

Whether or not it has saved us from any problems I have no idea, but I'm glad we have one primarily because I can SEE what previously went down to the septic.

Also, be aware that the types of products you use make a difference. I did a lot of research on what kind of detergents to use. You might try finding out what the gallons-per-month load is on the tank, then compare it to what you are currently using (call the water company) to see if you need to make lifestyle modifications (we use low-flow faucets, bought a front loader washer, etc..).

For example, we have a 4,000 gallon tank (typical size) and were previously using over 10,000 gallons a month. YIKES. The family before us was using 10,000 gallons + a month and that's a big part of why our laterals have/had issues. Too much water pushes solid waste into the laterals before it can be broken down.

With slight modifications (mentioned above), our water usage is now below 4,000 gallons a month.

Toilet paper and personal products are two of the BIGGEST problems for septic systems. We had two different septic companies tell us they love Charmin and tampons because they keep them in business! Yes, people have used Charmin and flushed tampons without problems, but then again everyone's septic system is "just fine"........until it's not.

I don't want it to fail into my house, so I do what I can to keep it happy!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 4:38PM
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300-400 gallons a day is a drop in the bucket for a 4000-gallon septic tank. That's a huge tank.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 5:30PM
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I don't know all the ins and outs of septic tank sizing, but it's supposed to be able to handle 4,000 gallons a month (something like that, lol).

Heck, I probably have the sizing totally wrong. 4,000 sticks in my head, but I don't know why that is. Looking at typical sizes, we likely have a 1,000-1,500 gallon tank. My bad. We only have a 3 bedroom house, so it wouldn't be that big.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 6:11PM
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As I said, I've never, ever had a problem with a septic system, even when raising five children and doing tons of laundry for little boys that loved playing in dirt. We had it pumped every few years, and our girls knew not to flush personal care products down the toilet.

Tree roots will destroy a leach field. Not having the septic tank pumped for years on end might. I've never had laundry, showers, the toilets, or the dishwasher ruin one.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 6:21PM
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Pamelah, did you install the septic protector? We have a septic system and unlike most of the people who responded to your question, we have had to have out system pumped out once a year since we moved in in 2005 and there is just two of us in a 3 bedroom house! We've also had the pipe the water uses to go out to the "sud tank" - which is separate from the "waste tank" - cleaned out 3 times because of the lint. I've been using a mesh sock over the pipe into the stand pipe for a year now and it's helped but I too was looking at the Septic Protector. Can you fill me in on what you did and how it worked out?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:15PM
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...i don't know if this helps, but it changed my mind about powder washing detergent for the washing machine. My septic guy told me not to use powder, but to use liquid instead. I believe the reasoning was because powder can harden?? Anyone ever heard of it also?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 1:49AM
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We just replaced our entire septic system -- tank, leech field and pipe leading from the house to the tank. Nasty surprise, as you can imagine but great learning experience.

We installed a 1000 gallon tank. It seems tanks are sized to the house and ours was the optimal for 3 bedrooms. There was no mention of a lint protector being necessary.

Maintenance for the septic is a box of RidX once a month to keep it healthy. There is a formula online for how often to pump out the tank depending on tank size and number of people in the house, the tank. For us it's once every 7 years.

The difficult thing is know what's going on down there without excavating and whether the leech field is large enough and properly installed.

If it's an older field and a lint protector gives you peace of mind, I'd go for it.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:53AM
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