Phone

480.351.1725

Fax

480.443.5923

Monsoon Season Is Coming: How to Prepare Your Septic System

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With monsoon season approaching, it’s time to take precautions to ensure that your septic system doesn’t backup during the heavy rains.

It‘s possible for a compromised septic system to send waste water back into your home, leaving you with with a costly repair bill and the scent of regret. So, here’s how to keep your system flowing smoothly:

Monsoon Proof Your Septic System Beforehand

  • Make sure your system has been properly serviced and inspected by a professional. A poorly maintained septic system can turn big rains into a big mess.
  • Walk your drainfield and make sure the dirt isn’t compacted. Compressed dirt is less absorbent and won’t be as effective during wet weather.
  • Clean gutters and keep drainage and house runoff from flowing into your drainage field. Keeping excess water out of the drainfield will help prevent your septic system from overloading and backing up.

It’s Already Raining and There’s a Problem…

  • If the drains in your home are slowing and the toilets don’t flush with their usual vigor, your system is struggling. If the drainfield is flooded, you need to begin to reduce the amount of water going down the drain.
  • Conserve water to allow the drainfield to catch up. Don’t flush until you have to, and put off taking a shower.
  • Call a professional!

You Can See Clearly Now, The Rains Are Gone

  • After the heavy rains, is your drainfield still saturated? Chances are, your system may have sustained damaged and will need to be pumped as soon as possible.
  • If you suspect dirt or debris got into the system, it will also need to be pumped.

With some planning, and a little vigilance, monsoon season doesn’t have to lead to costly repairs. If you have questions or concerns about your septic system give us a call and let us set your system right.

YOU MEAN THERE’S MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF SEPTIC SYSTEM?

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About one in every five Arizona homeowners uses an onsite septic system for wastewater treatment and disposal, but it may come as a surprise to learn that not all of those systems are the same.

Whether you’re installing a brand new septic system or buying a home and curious about the existing system, it helps to understand something about the different types that are available. We’ve put together a brief overview to help you get started.

DIFFERENT SYSTEMS FOR DIFFERENT CONDITIONS

Septic systems fall into one of two main categories: conventional systems and alternative systems. Installing the right one has a lot to do with the location of the home (or business) and the surrounding soil and environmental conditions.

With conventional septic systems, also called standard or basic systems, the treatment process begins in the septic tank, where the wastewater is separated into layers. Solids fall to the bottom where they are broken down by the bacteria in your tank, and the partially treated wastewater is dispersed, with the help of gravity or a pump, to the drainfield.

WHY USE AN ALTERNATIVE SEPTIC SYSTEM?

Alternative septic systems are typically used in areas where conditions are not conducive to efficient drainage with a conventional system—such as a high water table or problems with soil type or depth—or in areas where advanced treatment is necessary. While most of these systems still make use of a septic tank, they also incorporate other methods to further treat the filtered wastewater and produce a cleaner end result.

For example, a sand filter system can be used in an area where there is not enough soil. The sand takes the place of the soil to complete the process of breaking down and dispersing the treated wastewater.

According to the Arizona Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, there are 20 different kinds of alternative septic systems approved for use in Arizona. These include sand filter systems, mound systems, evapotranspiration systems and aerobic systems, in which oxygen is used to ensure cleaner wastewater.

Something to keep in mind about alternative septic systems is the potential expense involved. Because of their advanced technology, these systems may be double or triple the cost of a conventional septic system. They will also have different maintenance requirements, so be sure to talk to a professional before making a decision.

GOT QUESTIONS? GIVE US A CALL

The experienced technicians at Paradise Valley Septic look forward to answering all of your questions about conventional vs. alternative septic systems, from price and installation to maintenance and repair. Call or send us a message today to get the information you need and the personalized service you deserve.

THE SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION: WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED ONE

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Like most large appliances in and around your home, your septic system requires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly.

Here in Arizona, the only time a septic system inspection is mandatory is when a property changes hands. However, smart homeowners understand the value of performing inspections as part of your routine maintenance.

OTHER REASONS TO SCHEDULE AN INSPECTION INCLUDE:

  • If you notice a problem: Maybe you’ve noticed unusual odors around toilets or drains, sluggish or weak flushing toilets, sinks that are slow to drain, or wet spots or lush plant growth over your drainfield.
  • If you are planning to remodel or add on to your home: Not only do you want to make sure your septic system is up to the challenge, but you also want to avoid building above your septic tank or on your drainfield.

THERE ARE TWO BASIC TYPES OF SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION: VISUAL AND FULL

A visual inspection involves flushing the toilets and running the faucets for several minutes to surge the system and check for leaks or other problems. It should also include a walk-through of the yard area above the septic system.

While visual inspections are sometimes carried out by home inspectors, working with a qualified septic service professional is always recommended.

A full inspection is more thorough and examines the inside of your septic tank to check the water level. This helps the inspector determine if there is a leak or if the system is overloaded.

In most cases during a full inspection, the septic tank is pumped and the drainfield monitored for backflow. The inspector will also examine the pipes to ensure there is nothing blocking water flow from the house to the tank.

WHY CHOOSE PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC?

When your septic system inspection is carried out by our team of licensed septic inspectors, you’ll receive complete documentation of everything that was done—and the peace of mind that comes from knowing it was done the right way.

Paradise Valley Septic performs comprehensive, camera-assisted inspections that adhere to all ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality) standards.

If our expert technicians uncover any problems during your septic system inspection, they know exactly how to handle it—from clogged tanks to drainfield failure. We use only state-of-the-art equipment to repair, maintain and replace any and every part of any variety septic system.

As with pumping, if you can’t remember the last time you had an inspection or if more than a year has passed, it’s time to call us. Inspections not only alert you to larger—and potentially costly—problems, but they ensure your septic system is working efficiently and safely for everyone in your home.

SCHEDULE YOUR INSPECTION TODAY WITH PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC.

Or give us a call at (480) 351-1725. We can usually be there within 48 hours of scheduling.

Going Green: How to Make Your Septic System Environmentally Friendly

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“Think green!”

“Environmentally friendly!”

“Eco-friendly!”

“Energy-saving!”

You probably hear these claims about household products and appliances regularly, as more and more Americans become “environmentally conscious” about using less, saving more, and recycling. But, does this apply to your septic system? Is it possible to make your septic system eco-friendlier?

As a matter of fact, it is.

By nature, your septic system is already environmentally conscious. First, it only has two major components: a septic tank and a disposal area (the drain field). It’s a relatively simple system when you think how just about everything else in your home today has a computer chip – including most of your major appliances. Even your thermostat might be voice-controlled these days.

The tried and true septic tank remains as simple and effective at waste removal today as it was 30 years ago. And, with proper maintenance and treatment, your current system can last just as many years.

Simple, effective, environmentally safe.
Your septic system removes disease-causing pathogens, bacteria, and chemicals from your wastewater every day. When sewage from your home’s toilets, and wastewater from your sinks and bathtubs flows into your septic tank, naturally-existing bacteria breaks down the waste and turns it into scum, sludge, and liquid effluent.

Solids settle to the bottom of your tank, and grease and fats rise to the top to form a layer of scum. Between the layers, the clear liquid effluent drains into your drain field where your soil absorbs it back into the ground.

The live bacteria in the septic tank continues to work hard to digest the solids and convert them into gases. When you keep this bacteria happy and healthy, your septic system keeps you and your family happy and healthy, too.

It’s pretty simple and pretty amazing that something that does such an important job in your home does it without chemicals or computer chips.

So, how do you keep your septic system healthy? Go green and follow these guidelines:

  • Dispose of non-biodegradable materials elsewhere. Never put grease, feminine products or diapers, cat litter, medications, lint, or medications down your drains. These items will disrupt your eco-friendly system and could cause major sewage backups.
  1. Put your coffee grounds in the trash. Or dispose of them in the soil around your outdoor or potted plants.
  2. Septic tanks are no place for toxins. Never put drain cleaners, antibacterial soaps, bleaches, or any other chemically-based cleaning products down your drains.
  3. Dispose of paint properly. Paint is perhaps one of the worst things you can put down a drain into your septic tank. It can clog the tank and disrupt the drain field.

We leave you with one final thought to contemplate: your septic system is already an environmentally-friendly system. What can you do to help it stay that way?

Have questions about your tank, drain field, or pumps? At Paradise Septic, we are experts in the field! One of our experienced technicians will be happy to answer all your questions and assist you with regularly scheduled maintenance. Give us a call or send us a message.

My Basement Smells Like Septic. What Now?

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Uh-oh. You went down to toss in a load of laundry and noticed an unpleasant smell coming from your basement. What does it mean? And what should you do about it?

First, try not to panic. We actually hear this question a lot.

Second, it may require a little investigation on your part, but the foul odor emanating from the lower level of your home is most likely the result of one of the following.

IT COULD BE A DRIED-OUT FLOOR DRAIN.

Beneath every drain in your house is something called a trap. The trap looks a little like a sideways letter “P” and it’s there to ensure that water can drain properly.

However, these traps also have another purpose: to keep hazardous sewer gas from coming in. They do this by using water to create a seal that prevents the gas from entering your home—which means if the water evaporates and the trap dries out because a drain is not used very often (e.g., a guest bathroom or shower), the gas can seep in and pretty soon you’re holding your nose.

If the smell is not remedied by running water into the drain, it may be time to call a professional.

YOUR DRAIN PLUG IS LOOSE (OR MISSING).

Inside each P-shaped trap is a cleanout plug. If this plug has become loose or if it hasn’t been replaced for some reason, sewer gas can easily escape into your basement. You can check to see if the plug is in place by removing the drain grate. If you need a replacement plug, your local hardware or home improvement store should have one.

IT COULD BE A CASE OF A TOILET SEAL GONE BAD.

Does your toilet seat wobble when you sit on it? This could indicate a bad wax seal between the base of your toilet and the toilet flange (the small piece of hardware that connects the bottom of the toilet to the drain pipe in the floor). This can happen if the seal dries out or if the toilet was reinstalled improperly after a project such as laying new flooring.

Because a leaky seal can allow sewer gas to escape, you may need to replace it by removing the toilet and installing a new seal.

YOU HAVE EJECTOR PUMP ISSUES.

Similar to a sump pump, which collects groundwater to prevent flooding in your home, an ejector pump collects wastewater from your basement area. When it reaches a certain level, the wastewater is pumped out to the septic tank or sewer system.

Because ejector pumps deal with waste and sewage (and not just groundwater) a crack, clog or improper seal in the system can allow sewer gas to leak out and permeate your basement.

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE BAD SMELLS COMING FROM YOUR BASEMENT

We’ve touched on a few of the most common reasons for an unpleasant odor in your basement, but other issues such as poorly vented fixtures or damaged sewer lines may also be to blame.

The most important thing to remember: DON’T IGNORE THE SMELL.

Leaking sewer gas is never good. Aside from the stench, the gas may contain harmful bacteria that can cause health issues including headaches and nausea. Also, in case you need a reminder, sewer gas consists mainly of methane, which is highly combustible. (Read: you definitely don’t want your basement blowing up.)

WE TAKE YOUR ODOR PROBLEMS SERIOUSLY.

When bad smells and other plumbing problems happen, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional.

At Paradise Valley Septic, we know exactly what to look for when you call us to investigate your basement odor. Our experienced technicians will do a thorough inspection and walk you through the next steps so you can put your mind at ease knowing your problem is expert hands.

Call or send us a message today to experience our Grade “A” service firsthand!

 

I Have a Large Family, How Often Should We Pump?

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If you drive your car without getting the oil changed or performing any other regularly scheduled maintenance, in no time at all, your car will stop working and it could cost you a fortune to repair it. The same is true for your septic system, and if you have a large family, you may need to pump more frequently than you realize.

Regularly scheduled septic tank maintenance can keep your tank functioning optimally for many years and help you avoid a messy overflow or a catastrophic backup. How often you pump depends on how many people live in your home, and how much water your family typically uses.

If you can’t remember the last time you had your tank serviced and pumped, and your family of four (or more) regularly takes showers, washes laundry, runs the dishwasher, and uses the hose to wash the car, watch for signs that your system is slowing down.

Ask yourself these questions to assess how full your tank might be:

  • Are the toilets in your home flushing slowly?
  • Do sinks and tubs take awhile to drain completely?
  • Have you noticed any unpleasant odors in your yard near the septic tank drain field?
  • Do you have sewage backup in any of the drains inside your home?

Even if the only sign of a potentially full septic tank is a slow toilet, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially as a large family of four or more people.

Septic Tank Service Guidelines

If you can’t remember the last time you had your tank serviced and pumped, schedule a maintenance appointment as soon as possible with the professionals from Paradise Valley Septic, and follow these guidelines for frequency of service in the future:

  • Two-person family: pump your septic tank every three years
  • Three-person family: pump your septic tank every two years
  • Four or more people: pump your septic tank every year

Additionally, if you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, or a water treatment system (a water softener), you definitely need to have your septic tank pumped every year.

It may seem like yearly pumping is a lot, but not when you’re whole family is using water 365 days a year. Just like with your car, wear and tear on your septic system without regular maintenance is a recipe for costly repairs.

Don’t wait until it happens; prevent a sewage backup. Contact Paradise Valley Septic to schedule an inspection and pumping today.

Is There a Reason My Toilet Is Flushing Slowly?

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Is There a Reason My Toilet Is Flushing Slowly?

From faulty flush valves to obstructions in plumbing lines, there are several reasons why your toilet might not be flushing as fast as it used to.

And news flash: This is not a problem you should ignore – especially If you have a septic system.

We sincerely hope it’s just a minor, localized clog, but if your toilet is flushing more slowly than usual, take note.

 A slow-flushing toilet could be a sign that a bigger problem lurks below.

When your toilet is slow to empty, it could mean your pipes are clogged with sludge making it difficult to remove wastewater as quickly as a clean septic system can.

Additionally, your septic tank itself may be approaching capacity and unable to hold any more waste. If that happens, you run the risk of having your tank overflow, which typically means:

  • Slow drains and toilets
  • Pooling water in your yard around your drain field
  • Unpleasant odors in your home and yard
  • Sewage backup inside your home

If you have one slow-flushing toilet in your home, but all the other drains are functioning properly, then it might just be a clog in that particular toilet.

However, if you’re noticing that most of the drains and toilets in your house are slow to empty, it could be an indication that your septic system is at or approaching its full capacity.

 When was the last time you had your septic tank professionally serviced?

If the answer is, “I can’t remember,” your slow toilets and drains are an indication that it’s time for a long-overdue service. On average, a family of four or more should have their septic tank pumped every year. If there’s just two of you, every three years is a good rule to follow.

Why so often?

Routine septic system maintenance not only keeps your toilets functioning properly, it also helps prevent bigger, more costly problems from occurring down the line (pun intended!).

Think about it.

Fixing problems above ground in your septic system are much easier and less expensive than fixing the underground components.

Pay attention to your slowly flushing toilets to prevent bigger septic system problems. Routine septic system maintenance is not only the smarter route, but the more economical one as well.

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

Call or send us a message today to schedule a septic system inspection and service.

BE GOOD TO YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM—IT COULD SAVE YOU MORE THAN ONE HEADACHE.

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BE GOOD TO YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM—IT COULD SAVE YOU MORE THAN ONE HEADACHE.

Homeowners living within the limits of a municipality are most often linked to the public sewer system. However, those living outside city boundaries may or may not receive community sewer services.  More often than not, many out-of-city residents rely on a septic system to treat their wastewater.

Now, before you start listing all of the reasons why septic systems are a pain in the neck, consider the recent news story about Paradise Valley residents getting charged up to 500% more than the going rate for city-provided water and sewer services.

WHEN A SURCHARGE IS MORE THAN A SURCHARGE

More than 900 Paradise Valley residents who receive sewer (or sewer and water) services from the city of Phoenix are currently involved in an ongoing debate with city officials over what they consider to be unfair charges.

While the law allows for surcharges to be applied to outside-city sewer customers, many Paradise Valley residents are paying five or six times more than inside-city customers—which they say is far beyond the “just and reasonable” fees the city is obligated to provide.

BET YOU’RE LOOKING AT YOUR SEPTIC TANK A LITTLE MORE FONDLY NOW

No? Here is something else to consider.

Paradise Valley Septic was recently called out to a home where the septic system had failed.

The problem?

The homeowner lives in a place where city sewer services are now available, therefore it was illegal to replace the failed septic system. Instead, they had to make the switch to city sewer services.

You can probably guess where we’re going with this.

A PROPERLY MAINTAINED SEPTIC SYSTEM WILL FUNCTION FOR 25 TO 30 YEARS

That’s a pretty long time, and well worth it to help you avoid the predicament many Paradise Valley residents are finding themselves in.

The average septic system should be inspected every one to three years. In addition, follow these tips to maximize the life of your septic system:

  • Use less water. Excessive water use will prevent the drain field from absorbing water efficiently which can lead to overflow problems.
  • Be careful about what you flush. Solids that can’t be broken down naturally in a septic tank (e.g. egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit skins or other food waste) will typically find their way into drainage pipes and clog them.
  • Avoid dumping chemicals down the drain. Paint, drain openers, gasoline, motor oils and other harsh chemicals are hazardous to the environment and can be harmful to the bacteria in your septic tank.

DON’T HESITATE TO CALL A PROFESSIONAL

The most common problem associated with a septic system is lack of maintenance. Regular maintenance can help keep your system healthy and in top working order.

If you have questions about ongoing maintenance or it’s been a while since your tank has been serviced, don’t hesitate to contact us. Paradise Valley Septic has been proudly serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas for over 50 years, and our experienced technicians do it all—from materials and installation to maintenance and repair.

It’s That Time of Year…for Selecting a Sewage Pump

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This time of year, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is your sewage pump.

In fact, we’re willing to bet you have visions of sugarplums, rather than visions of sump pumps, dancing through your head right about now. However, after the holiday festivities have ended, and the mistletoe has been taken down for another year, it’s a good idea to consider which type of sewage pump you need for the most effective waste disposal.

All pumps are not equal.

Sewage pumps do different jobs, so selecting the one that’s best for your home might be a challenge. We’ve put some helpful descriptions together to help you decide which pump will work best for your current waste disposal needs.

Sewage pump applications: basements and septic systems.

Sewage pumps are different from regular sump pumps because sewage pumps handle solid waste, not just liquids. If you currently have a septic system that tends to back up frequently, it may be time to consider a new sewage pump. The most common application for sewage pumps is for basement bathrooms and septic systems.

Because basement bathrooms are typically located below your sewage line, under your house, you need a pump that can effectively pump solid waste and water up and out of the house, against gravity. For this reason, sewage pumps offer a higher output than regular sump pumps. Sewage pumps are designed to run less frequently than a sump pump, but with more power to eject debris.

When you have a septic system, sewage pumps break down waste and pump it out of your home into the septic tank. Investing in a high-quality sewage pump and maintaining it properly will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable, functioning pump for years to come. Because, let’s face it, malfunctioning sewage pumps and septic system backups are no picnic, any time of the year.

Choosing a sewage pump.

Sewage pumps are available in a few different options including effluent pumps, grinder pumps, and submersible pumps. Effluent pumps work well for residential or light commercial waste disposal needs. They focus on removing the gray wastewater that stays in your septic tank after the solids have settled.

Grinder pumps collect wastewater from your household appliances and fixtures including toilets, washing machines, and bathtubs. Grinder pumps have a holding tank to collect waste and when the water in the tank reaches a certain level, the grinder pump grinds the waste into a fine slurry before pumping it to your septic tank.

Submersible pumps are quieter than other types of sewage pumps and are great for residential, commercial, and agricultural applications.

If you’re not sure what kind of pump you need, or you have additional questions, we’d love to help. Paradise Valley Septic has been installing, repairing, maintaining, and helping people with all their septic system needs for the past 50 years. Give us a call to learn more about selecting a sewage pump that works best for your home or business.

4 REASONS TO MAKE GREASE TRAP MAINTENANCE A PRIORITY

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Business owners, particularly restaurant owners, know that regular grease trap maintenance is extremely important. Grease traps are installed between the sink and the wastewater disposal system to capture floating fats, oils and grease (FOG) before they can enter the sewer or septic tank and cause problems.

WHY TAKE PROPER CARE OF YOUR GREASE TRAP?

According to the EPA, grease accounts for nearly half of all reported blockages in the United States, which is why ongoing maintenance is essential. If your business has one or more grease traps, here are four good reasons to keep them clean:

  1. ODOR. Grease buildup in your grease trap can cause a foul odor that can drive away guests and create an unpleasant working environment for your staff.
  2. CLOGS. Over time, clogged lines resulting from improper grease trap maintenance can result in a failure of the overall disposal system.
  3. SAFETY. Dirty grease traps are a potential fire hazard, especially since fats, oils and grease are extremely flammable.
  4. COST. If FOG from a full grease trap spills into the community water system, your business could face significant fines. Not only that, but the costs involved with fixing issues after they happen far exceed the expense of regular maintenance.

SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREASE TRAP SAFETY

Clean and well-maintained grease traps will help prevent clogging and extend the life of your septic system. First and foremost, hire a professional to perform routine maintenance, including continually monitoring the grease level and pumping the grease trap at least quarterly.

Second, train your staff on simple but important steps to cut down on the amount of grease in your wastewater. These include thoroughly rinsing dishes, conserving water to prevent “surge loading” during busy periods, using detergents that quickly break up oil and water, and replacing liquid vegetable oil with shortening (which separates more easily in grease traps).

Finally, if you are concerned your current grease trap is not powerful enough for your needs, consider installing a larger grease trap or several smaller grease traps to allow adequate time for wastewater to cool and grease to separate.

GOOD NEWS. WE’VE GOT YOUR GREASE TRAPS COVERED.

Let Paradise Valley Septic take care of all your grease trap maintenance needs so you can focus on running your business. Our skilled technicians can answer all of your questions and give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a professional in your corner. Call or send us a message today to find out more!

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