Septic System Myths Debunked

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If you’ve never owned a home with a septic system — or even if you have — you may have some misconceptions about how septic systems work, and how to keep them functioning at their optimal level.

For example, did you know that it’s actually more cost-effective to pay for scheduled maintenance rather than waiting until you have to pay for repairs?

We want to debunk some common septic system myths so you can proceed with confidence and keep your septic system in tip-top shape for years to come.

 

Myth: Older septic systems need additives to operate most efficiently.

To date, there hasn’t been a septic system additive that makes your tank “like new” again. Additives don’t clean out your tank, as some of them claim to do, and nothing takes the place of regularly scheduled pumping and maintenance for your system.

Some of the solids in your septic tank simply cannot be broken down, or digested, by enzymes or bacteria. Sand, grit, and bits of plastic may accumulate in the tank and neither enzymes or bacteria can decompose these elements.

Additives, which are typically enzymes, are not living bacteria and can’t reproduce. Therefore, adding them to your septic tank doesn’t make them increase in number, so they’re not very useful or effective.

While enzymes probably won’t cause a problem with your system, no matter how new or old it is, they certainly don’t help, either. You’re much better off pumping your tank as recommended based on the size of your household, and scheduling annual maintenance.

 

Myth: Household cleaners and chemicals won’t disrupt your septic tank.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. While you may not “break” the system with a small amount of cleaners or chemicals, you’re disrupting the balance of the living organisms in your septic tank.

These living bacteria are essential to keeping your system operating at its optimal level and avoiding future septic system disasters. Don’t chance it, out of convenience, by flushing chemicals down the toilet or pouring them down the kitchen drain.

 

Myth: Preventive maintenance is costly.

Again, not true. It costs far less money to properly maintain your septic system than it does to service a failing system. First of all, preventive maintenance not only ensures that your system is functioning as it should on daily basis, but preventive care also extends the life of your septic system.

Secondly, septic system disasters almost never occur at opportune times, such as during regularly scheduled business hours. Rather, septic and plumbing problems usually happen when you least expect them — like when you have a house full of company or while you’re away on vacation. Calling a septic expert for an emergency repair is a far more costly experience than a scheduled maintenance visit during standard business hours.

 

Myth: Paradise Septic is new to the septic tank business.

We had to throw this one in just for fun, because the truth is, we’ve been serving the Phoenix Valley and Arizona, keeping our clients happy and septic systems running smoothly, for more than 50 years. We are septic system experts!

If you’re new to the world of septic systems and you have questions, the professionals at Paradise Septic can answer them with confidence. It’s our goal to help you keep your system functioning optimally so you only have to think about scheduling routine maintenance visits, not emergency repairs.

Get in touch with a member of our team today.

SEPTIC SYSTEMS AND DRINKING WATER: BE SMART, TEST OFTEN

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Did you know that proper septic system and backyard well maintenance go hand in hand with providing clean, safe drinking water for you and your family?

Remember that the primary job of your septic system is to safely and efficiently dispose of wastewater from your home by filtering it and releasing the purified wastewater into the surrounding soil.

 

BUT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG ALONG THE WAY, YOUR DRINKING WATER MAY BE CONTAMINATED.

Because many homes with septic systems also have private wells, it is important to regularly maintain both in order to guarantee optimal drinking water quality.

Keep in mind that your well and your septic system are two completely different entities. Your septic system is not there to provide you with clean drinking water, but in many ways it can affect the quality of your drinking water if it is improperly installed or if you become lax about regular maintenance and upkeep. The same goes for your well.

Need a few pointers? Start here with five important steps to avoid well water contamination.

 

TEST YOUR DRINKING WATER OFTEN TO MAKE SURE IT’S SAFE TO CONSUME.

Wells that are placed too close to wastewater sources and/or poorly maintained can open the door for potential contaminants to pollute your drinking water. These include bacteria and viruses, heavy metals and harsh chemicals from household cleaners, personal care products and paint.

Because many of these contaminants can be hazardous to human health, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends getting your well water tested at least once a year to ensure it is safe to drink, and more frequently if you have children, elderly family members or expectant mothers living in the home.

out here what to test for and where to get your water tested.

 

PROTECT YOUR DRINKING WATER WITH A WELL-MAINTAINED SEPTIC SYSTEM.

One of the best ways to avoid contamination and keep your drinking water clean is to have your septic tank inspected annually to ensure a potential problem or issue does not get out of hand.

Having your septic system pumped every one to three years, depending on the size of your family, will also help to remove the buildup of solids from the bottom of the tank and keep your drinking water and nearby water sources safe from contaminants.

Paradise Septic provides full-service septic tank installation, maintenance and repair services for homes in the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas.

Call us today at 480-351-1725 or send a messageto schedule your septic system inspection and service.

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Water Conservation and Septic Systems: What’s the Connection? Here Is Why It’s So Important

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At first glance, water conservation seems simple enough: Use less water, save more water.

There’s a lot more to it, though. Water conservation isn’t just about reducing water usage; it’s also about using water efficiently. In other words, when water is used, it should be done in a resourceful way.

After all, Mother Nature doesn’t have an unlimited supply. And if we’re not mindful of our demands, we can easily exhaust our resources.

You can make a difference, though. As a homeowner, the way you care for your septic system a tank that treats wastewater will influence the integrity of local sources.

It comes down to learning why water conservation is so important, how your system influences the environment, and the steps you can take to protect it.

 

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WATER CONSERVATION AND SEPTIC SYSTEMS

Did you know that a septic tank can contaminate local water?

If you overload your septic system, it won’t be able to properly treat wastewater. This is a likely result of heavy water use. In turn, wastewater can leech into the soil and pollute nearby lakes, streams, and even drinking sources.

However, if you conserve water, your septic system is less likely to overload. You’ll also avoid issues like drainfield problems, clogged pipes, and the risk of water pollution.

Needless to say, your septic tank can significantly impact the water in your community.

 

HOW CAN I CONSERVE WATER AT HOME?

Water conservation doesn’t have to expensive or complicated. With these simple tips, you and your family can save water and the environment.

1. AVOID UNNECESSARY FLUSHING

The toilet is one of the biggest sources of wastewater. So, only flush when you need to.

This also means tossing the trash in the wastebasket when possible. (Don’t forget, solids and septic systems do not mix literally!)

2. FIX LEAKS

A leaky faucet can waste at least 10 gallons of water each day. In the same time frame, a leaky toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water. This adds up quickly, and your wallet will be the first to know.

If you’re the DIY type, fix leaky fixtures. You can also call a plumber. It may feel like a chore, but the effort will be worth it.

3. TAKE SHOWERS, NOT BATHS

Baths might be relaxing, but they’re costly. Just one bath can use about 60 gallons of water. Meanwhile, a quick five-minute shower only calls for 10 to 25 gallons.

4. FILL UP WASHING MACHINES AND DISHWASHERS    

When doing laundry or using a dishwasher, run a full load to make the most out of the water. This is especially important if you have older machines.

If you own newer models, take advantage of energy and water saving features. Adjust the settings according to the size of your load so you can avoid excess water usage.

5. RECYCLE WATER

Make it a habit to re-use water. For example, after boiling vegetables, let the water cool and save it for the plants. When rinsing dishes, collect the water and use it to soak dirty ones.

 

6. INSTALL WATER-SAVING DEVICES

From low-flow shower heads to sink faucet aerators, it’s possible to reduce how much water runs through your fixtures. In fact, these devices can save up to 50%! They also won’t negatively affect water pressure.

 

REGULAR SEPTIC MAINTENANCE MAKES A DIFFERENCE, TOO.

Now that you know how to conserve water, you don’t have to worry about your system overflowing and polluting the environment… right? Not necessarily.  

Remember, your septic system isn’t an endless pit. It has a limit on how much wastewater it can hold, so it’s bound to fill up over time. And when it does? You’ll have clogged pipes, standing water, and the risk of polluting local sources.

Reducing water usage is just one part of preventing overflow. Your septic system also needs to be regularly pumped. This is normal, routine maintenance that should be done every one to three years, depending on household size and usage.

 

TOGETHER, WE CAN PROTECT OUR LOCAL WATER SOURCES.
When you stay on top of tank inspections and regular pumping, your septic system will run smoothly. As a result, it will treat your family and environment well.

Paradise Valley Septic is here to lend a hand. Since 1958, we have served Phoenix Valley and the surrounding areas. Our team of experts can find and stop septic problems before they begin.

To contact Paradise Valley Septic, send us a message or call us at 480-351-1725 today.

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We’re Making a List (Check it Twice): A Checklist of Dos and Don’ts for Your Septic System this Holiday Season

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There’s no place like home for the holidays, but as your house fills with love, laughter, and additional food and guests, it’s also an added challenge to your septic system. We’ve made a checklist of dos and don’ts – be sure to check it twice — so you can enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, minus any unforeseen septic tank situations.

 

1. Pump first, party later.

Think of it as “preventive pumping.” If you haven’t had your septic tank serviced or pumped in the last few years, right before the big holiday gatherings commence, it’s a good idea to empty the tank. Pumping before the party can prevent overloading the system and pushing sludge out into your drainfield. When you start fresh (and empty) you and your guests can enjoy the festivities worry-free.

2. Make a “naughty” or “nice” list when it comes to flushing.

Let’s face it: many people today have public water systems and are not aware how septic systems are different. Or, perhaps your college student who’s been away for a few months needs a refresher course on what’s “nice” to flush and what’s on the “naughty” list. Make a “Santa’s Septic Helper” list to hang in your bathrooms to add some humor, while letting everyone know what they can and cannot flush.

Feel free to copy our list!
Nice to Flush:

  • Toilet paper
  • Organic waste

Naughty to Flush:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Paper towels
  • Napkins
  • Diapers
  • “Flushable” baby wipes or personal hygiene wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Anything other than the septic-safe toilet paper in this bathroom!

 

Have some fun with it, and in the long run, you’ll be happier knowing your guests are aware of how your septic tank functions best. After all, nobody wants to experience a septic system emergency in the middle of serving dessert. Which brings us to our next item on the checklist.

 

3. Use water like you consume desserts — in moderation.

Another reminder for your houseguests (and returning college students) is to take it easy when it comes to “indulging” during the holidays. Like desserts, water usage is best in moderation. You can leave the desserts to their own discretion, but it’s a good idea to remind friends and family not to take showers at the same time, or run the dishwasher after every meal.

Both run the risk of overloading your septic system, which can lead to a backup. Staggering showers, running the dishwasher only when it’s full, or doing laundry one load at a time — when nobody is in the shower — eases the burden on your tank, even if you did have it pumped before the party.

 

4. Watch for FOG (fats, oils, and grease) during the festivities.

In addition to being aware of all the items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, it’s also a good idea to remind guests about FOG — fats, oils, and grease — from holiday meals that shouldn’t go down the kitchen sink. When preparing the turkey, or cleaning up after dinner, remind your guests not to pour grease, fats, meat scraps, or butter down the drain.

These items can easily clog your drains and disrupt the bacteria in your septic system. And we all know that when the good bacteria in your septic tank are interrupted, they are unable to do their job as well, breaking down waste and allowing your tank to operate as efficiently as possible.

At Paradise Valley Septic, we want you to focus on fun, and the many joys of the holiday season, so we encourage you to call us to schedule a maintenance visit before the yuletide celebrations begin. Yule be glad you did!

 

Is My Septic System Too Old? Here’s When It’s Time To Replace It

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If your septic system is too old, you will have problems like frequent backups and standing water. Here’s how to know when you should replace your septic system.

In a perfect world, our household things would last forever. Pillows would stay plump, refrigerators would stay cool, and light bulbs would keep on shining. Yet, when you consider the normal wear and tear of everyday life, replacements are no surprise.

Well, your septic system is no different! Like other parts of your home, a septic system gets older over time. When it stops working properly, it needs to be replaced.

A septic tank also has an average lifespan. Generally, it can last for about 25 years. This depends on factors like routine maintenance, household size, and usage. As a result, your septic system may be considered “old” before (or after) it hits 25.

And unlike fine wine, septic tanks don’t get better with age. An old system will only cause headaches, problems, and more headaches.

Do yourself a favor and learn how to tell if your septic system is too old. By doing so, you’ll know when it’s time for a new one.

5 SIGNS YOU NEED TO REPLACE YOUR SEPTIC TANK

  1. Frequent Backups

Does it feel like slow-flushing toilets and backed-up sinks have become the norm? Don’t ignore this. Consistent problems may be a sign that your septic system needs to be replaced.

The keyword here is “consistent.” In other words, a single backup doesn’t necessarily mean that your system needs to go. (It is, however, a sign that your septic system needs to be pumped.) On the other hand, constant backups may point to a bigger issue.

  1. Persistent Bad Odors

Backups and bad odors go hand in hand. And, like backups, recurring odors are bad news.This happens when a septic tank is so full that gases travel through your drains, toilets, and drainfield. Needless to say, it’s unpleasant and unhealthy.

Again, you’ll need to get your tank pumped. But if the odor keeps coming back, your septic system might be on its way out.

  1. Standing Water

Standing water doesn’t just affect sinks and bathtubs. If your septic system can’t properly get rid of water, you might find puddles around your property.

You should be especially concerned if there is standing water on or around your drainfield. It’s a tell-tale sign that your septic system is unable to do its job. It will need to be inspected and possibly replaced.

  1. Unusually Green Grass

Every homeowner loves to see green grass. But when it comes to your drainfield, extremely lush grass is a problem.

The grass in this area should look like the rest of the lawn. However, if the grass is brighter and greener, your tank might be failing.

When your septic system needs to be replaced, it has a hard time disposing water. As a result, excess wastewater “fertilizes” the grass, making it lush and green.

  1. Constant Pumping

The more often you have these problems, the more your tank needs to be pumped. And if you’ve been scheduling one too many septic pumpings, you might need a replacement.

Remember, frequent pumping isn’t the same as regular pumping. Most septic systems need to be pumped every one to three years, depending on usage and household size. This is normal, routine maintenance.

But if your septic tank needs to be pumped more often, it might be too old.

STILL NOT SURE? TALK TO THE EXPERTS.

Every homeowner should know when it’s time to replace a septic system. Nevertheless, the best way to know is to call a septic service company like Paradise Valley Septic.

Our team can perform an inspection and find the issues. If your septic tank is too old, we’ll explain the next steps for a septic tank replacement.

And when you do get it replaced? Our technicians will help you stay on top of repair and routine maintenance. This way, you won’t have to play any guessing games.

We’re ready to help you out. Contact Paradise Valley Septic today.

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It’s That Time of Year Again: This Thanksgiving, Make Sure to Keep Fats, Oils, and Grease Away From Your Drains

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“It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love…” are the words to a popular Christmas song, and, as Thanksgiving approaches to kick off the holiday season, these nostalgic song lyrics make us think of festive gatherings, extra houseguests, and a smorgasbord of delectables.

While Thanksgiving is often synonymous with football and eating too much pumpkin pie, it can also mean a big challenge for your septic system to keep up with all the extra goodies. When you’re enjoying your spiced apple cider by the fireplace this Thanksgiving, remember to keep fats, oils, and grease away from household drains.

Fats, oils, and grease are culprits for future septic system problems.

Extra houseguests and preparing a spread that is traditionally the biggest meal of the year can be challenging for your septic system. Your guests may not realize they shouldn’t be putting everything down the garbage disposal, especially fats and grease that can clog your drains and disrupt the bacteria in your pipes and septic system.

Fats, greases, and other hard-to-break-down foods (like turkey skin and meat scraps) can lead to the accumulation of sludge in your septic tank. When the natural bacteria that break down waste can’t keep up with the overload of the Thanksgiving feast, it can create problems well into the holiday season, so you could be celebrating New Year’s Eve with plumbing problems.

Simply put, your septic system is built to break down waste and toilet paper, but not much else.

Fats, oils, and grease (known as “FOG” by professionals) accumulate in your drains and septic tank when you discard things like:

  • Cooking oils
  • Butter and margarine
  • Meat scraps
  • Salad dressings

FOG is not only difficult for your system to break down, but it can cause drain clogs and messy back-ups – certainly not things you add to your list of holiday fun!

Why regular maintenance is so important.

If you’ve been keeping up with your regularly scheduled septic tank maintenance, you have a better chance of steering clear of plumbing problems during your first big gathering of the season, but the best way to prevent fats, oils, and grease build-up in the system is to be extra careful. Before a problem occurs, avoid putting potentially damaging ingredients down your drain in the first place.

Remind guests, or anyone else who’s helping you prepare the meal or clean up afterward to:

  • Pour cooking grease into a can and throw it in the garbage
  • Wipe off greasy plates with a paper towel before loading the dishwasher
  • Put meat scraps in the garbage, not the garbage disposal
  • Avoid putting anything that’s hard to break down into drains

Follow these simple guidelines for a healthy, happy, Thanksgiving – for both you and your septic system – and we’ll all be decking the halls instead of dealing with clogged drains, well into the new year.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a septic tank inspection, there’s still time to prepare before the big day. Schedule your inspection today with the experts at Paradise Valley Septic. Or, give us a call with questions: 480-607-7763.

 

 

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Should I Buy a House with a Septic Tank? The Pros and Cons of Septic Systems

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Buying a new home is an exciting experience. Whether it’s your first house, a relocation to a new town, or you’re expanding your space to accommodate a growing family, finding a home that meets your needs can also be somewhat of a challenge.

And, if you’re deciding between a septic tank and a sewer system, which is better? Should you consider buying a house with a septic tank?

Before you make this important decision, keep these pros and cons of buying a home with a septic system in mind.

 

Pro: A septic system only services your home.

Unlike a public sewer system that services all the homes in your neighborhood, a house with a septic system provides you with your own private waste and drainage system. You manage your septic tank independently rather than relying on the local town or city government.

 

Pro: You won’t pay expensive municipal sewer fees.

When you share a drainage system with the entire town, you also pay your local government for these services. When you have a septic tank on your property, instead of paying monthly fees that may increase without warning, you service your own septic tank. With proper maintenance, your septic system will last for many years – potentially as long as you live in your new home.

 

Pro: Septic systems are long-lasting.

A properly installed, well-maintained septic system can last 40 years or more, so you rarely have to replace an entire system. Just have it serviced every one to three years, depending on the size of your family, schedule yearly inspections, and keep your drains free from grease to keep your system operable for many years.

 

Con: Take shorter showers and run the dishwasher less to save water.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially for the environment, but if you’re coming from a municipal water system to a septic tank, you may need to adjust some of your family’s water usage habits. If several people in your family take long showers each day, it can put a burden on your drain pipes and septic tank.

Additionally, you should conserve water when you do laundry and run the dishwasher. Instead of running partial loads, wait until the dishwasher or laundry basket is full, so when you run them, you’re making the most of using a high volume water all at once.

 

Con: Be aware of what you flush.

You may have gotten away with flushing a lot of things down the toilet if you were previously on a public sewer system, but with a septic tank, you need to be more aware of what goes down the drains. Cotton balls, kitty litter, paper towels, and household chemicals and oils can be devastating to septic systems and lead to costly repairs, not to mention unpleasant sewage back-ups. It may be an adjustment at first, but these modifications will keep your septic tank functioning optimally in the long run.

Don’t let a new house with a septic system prevent you from making your dreams as a homeowner come true. If you find a home you love, have no fear of the septic tank!

 

Call the experts at Paradise Valley Septic. We’ll come out and inspect the system for you so there won’t be any surprises down the road.

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Can I Just Call a Plumber? Here’s the Difference Between Plumbers and Septic Service Companies

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It’s no secret that slow drains are a nightmare. They’re stressful, annoying, and downright inconvenient. So, it’s time to call a plumber, right?

Well, not necessarily. Slow drains can be caused by both plumbing and septic problems. Yet, there are major differences between a plumber and a septic company. One can’t do the other’s job.

 

To start, a plumber specializes in the pipes of your home. These pipes bring clean water in and wastewater out. Plumbers can install or repair these pipes, along with fixtures like faucets, garbage disposals, water heaters, and toilets. Plumbers also handle leaks, clogged drains, and frozen pipes.

 

Septic companies, on the other hand, work with your septic system. This involves your septic tank, which treats the wastewater from your household plumbing. They can also install, replace, repair, and pump septic tanks.

 

Understandably, it can be hard to tell who you should call. Here are three tips to help you out.

 

3 WAYS TO TELL IF YOU NEED A PLUMBER OR SEPTIC CARE, PROVIDER

 

1. Check the Tank’s Cleanout

The septic system’s cleanout is located in between the tank and your house. It’s a short PVC pipe that slightly sticks out. Sometimes, it’s level with the ground.

Remove the cap and look down the cleanout. Is there standing water?

If the answer is no, call a plumber. This means there’s a blockage between the house and the cleanout, which prevents wastewater from reaching the cleanout.

If there is standing water, you may have a blockage between the cleanout and tank. In this case, you need a plumber. However, it can also indicate an overflowing septic tank. If so, you’ll need a septic company.

 

2. Count Backed Up Drains

Pay attention to the number of backed up fixtures. This includes toilets, sinks, and bathtubs.

If only one fixture is backed up, talk to a plumber. But if multiple fixtures are backed up at the same time, call a septic company.

Additionally, note where these fixtures are located. If they’re on the ground level or close to the septic tank, you’ve probably got a septic issue.

 

3. Consider the Age

On average, a septic system can last for about 25 years. This depends on the household size, usage, and routine maintenance.

If you have newer septic system, talk to a plumber. But if it’s on the older sider, a septic company is more suited for the job.

 

GOT QUESTIONS? WE’RE HERE TO HELP.

When your drains are backed up, it matters who you call. The difference between plumbers and septic companies is significant. And if you’re still confused? Get in touch with Paradise Valley Septic.

Our team of experienced technicians knows what to look for. They can also take care of regular maintenance and pumping. This way, your septic system can do its job for years to come.

We’re ready to lend a hand. To schedule an appointment, call us at 480-351-1725 or send us a message.

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WHERE IS MY SEPTIC TANK LOCATED? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO FIND IT

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So, you’ve moved into a new house. Congratulations! This is an exciting time for any family. But before you paint the walls and plant the garden, it’s essential to know the foundation of your home.

This includes learning where your septic system is located. As a homeowner, this knowledge will help you keep an eye out for problems. Your system, after all, is vital for daily activities like flushing the toilet and washing the dishes. It’s what makes a home feel like a home.

Here are four ways to locate your tank:

 

HOW TO FIND YOUR SEPTIC TANK

 

 1. Check the Property’s Records

The county must issue a permit for every septic system installation. A record of the permit is often kept with a map of the tank’s layout and location.

Usually, home inspection paperwork includes these diagrams. But if the septic tank was installed more than 20 years ago, a map might not even exist. This could also be the case if the system was installed before your county required visual layouts.

 

2. Ask Around

Ask your neighbors about their septic tanks; your system might be in a similar spot. (It’s the perfect conversation starter, too.)

A local septic professional is always the best person to ask, though. They might have even worked on your system in the past.

 

3. Look for Clues

Depending on the age of your home and septic tank, you might be able to find visual clues.

First, tanks shouldn’t be too close to a building, well, or stream. If your home is on a hill, the system might have been installed downhill to move waste with gravity.

If there’s a bald spot on your lawn, a septic tank might have been buried close to the surface. Unexplained lush grass may point to a failing drainfield, and therefore, a nearby septic tank.

 

4. Follow the Pipes

The house’s sewer line will eventually lead to the septic tank. Check the basement and look for the sewer pipe, which can point you in the right direction.

Outside, carefully use a metal probe to find the sewer line. Follow it through the yard, gently poking every two feet. The lid of the septic tank can be anywhere from five to 25 feet away.

Never try to open a septic tank. Leave it to the experts, such as our team at Paradise Valley Septic.

 

WE’LL GET YOUR SEPTIC TANK READY FOR YOUR FAMILY.

As you settle into your new home, a septic system is probably the last thing you want to look for.

Paradise Valley Septic can show you where your septic tank is located. We can also do a septic system inspection to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.

Besides, you’ve got a house to make your own. Contact us today and we’ll take care of your septic maintenance needs.

 

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SEPTIC TANK ADDITIVES: YES OR NO?

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More than 20 million homeowners across the country rely on a septic system to treat wastewater, especially in rural areas where homes are not linked to the public sewer system. If you are one of those homeowners, someone has likely tried to sell you on the idea of septic tank additives at one time or another.

For the majority of homeowners, septic additives are not necessary because a healthy septic system has everything it needs to perform its job of treating and getting rid of waste. In fact, some studies have shown that using septic tank additives can actually do more harm than good—to your tank, your drainfield and the surrounding groundwater. To understand why, it helps to have a basic knowledge of how septic systems work.

 

HOW DOES A SEPTIC SYSTEM WORK?

A conventional septic system consists of a tank, a drainfield and soil. Wastewater from your home’s bathroom, kitchen and laundry flows into the septic tank, where solids (sludge) are separated from liquids. Living bacteria within the septic tank help break down the solids.

The waste remains in the tank for one or two days before the liquids pass to the drainfield. The drainfield further filters the liquid until it passes into the soil where it can be safely integrated into the groundwater. When properly maintained, a standard septic system will function for 25 to 30 years.

 

THE FACTS ABOUT ADDITIVES

Everyone wants that magic bullet—an inexpensive fix that saves you time and money. Septic system additives claim to help refresh your system so that you don’t need to pump your tank as often recommended, but those additives may actually end up costing homeowners more money because of the potential damage to your overall system. Let’s look at the main types of septic system additives.

  • Biological additives consist of bacteria and enzymes, which manufacturers claim will add a “boost” to newly installed systems or provide added support for overworked systems. However, the bacteria already in your septic system—which comes from the organic waste produced in your home—is sufficient enough to keep the process running smoothly without the help of additives. Basically, it’s what a septic system is designed to do.
  • Organic solvents and inorganic compounds are far less benign. They typically contain harsh chemicals, acids or alkalis used to break down oils and grease as well as remove clogs. The problem? These additives can actually destroy the good bacteria that keep your septic system running smoothly. Not only that, but they can disrupt the separation process that happens inside your tank, which may end up contaminating the groundwater and surrounding soil. Particularly harsh products can also cause structural damage to your pipes and septic tank.

 

OF COURSE, THERE’S ALWAYS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE

Here in Arizona, a lot of homeowners are what we call “snowbirds.” They live here only part of the year, which means their septic systems are basically unused during the months they are gone—and that means the tank is not getting the helpful bacteria it typically would from everyday wastewater.

Infrequent use can cause solids to accumulate more quickly than normal in your septic tank, so in this case additives may be necessary. If you are a part-time homeowner, talk to Paradise Septic about our free bacteria treatments with a full clean and inspection.

 

NOTHING REPLACES REGULAR PUMPING AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE

The best way to keep your septic system running smoothly is to make sure you have it pumped every one to three years, depending on the size of your family. Pumping is necessary to remove the buildup of solids from the bottom of your septic tank. Experts also recommend the following maintenance tips to maximize the life of your septic system:

  • Have your tank inspected annually. Routine inspections provide peace of mind and ensure a potential problem or issue does not get out of hand and cause major damage.
  • Use less water. Excessive water use prevents the drainfield from absorbing water efficiently, which can lead to overflow problems.
  • Space out your laundry. Doing all your laundry in one day puts tremendous strain on your drainfield. Gray water will go into your system all at once, and the ground won’t have time to absorb it.
  • Throw your grease in the trash. If you put it down the drain, it can clog up the holes in the leaching field.
  • Don’t treat your toilet as a garbage can. The more you flush things other than toilet paper and waste, the more often you will have to get your septic system pumped.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT CARING FOR YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM? CALL THE EXPERTS

Paradise Valley Septic has been serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas since 1958. From installation to repair, our experienced technicians support all aspects of your septic system and take pride in providing efficient, cost-effective solutions to meet your residential or commercial septic system needs.

Send us a message today or call 480-351-1725 to experience our grade ‘A’ service!

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