Is Vinegar Bad for Septic Systems?


In recent years, natural cleaning products have become increasingly popular. Much of this has to do with the growing awareness around harsh chemicals in commercial cleaners. For starters, our families come in contact with these products. These cleaners also end up in the drain, and eventually, the septic system.

Needless to say, as more folks learn about the potential dangers of chemical cleaners, they’re turning to more natural alternatives.

Vinegar is just one example. In the kitchen, this pantry staple is often used for foods like marinades and dressings. But beyond the dinner plate, vinegar also doubles as an excellent cleaning product.

Yet, it’s common to wonder if vinegar is bad for your septic system. Vinegar, after all, is extremely pungent. And since it’s no secret septic systems are sensitive beasts, it’s important to know if vinegar is a smart option.



Let’s talk about why you might want to skip commercial cleaners in the first place.

From toilet bowl cleaners to drain openers, conventional products are often full of harsh chemicals. And while these products do fight “bad” bacteria, they can kill the good guys, too.

Remember, when these products go down the drain, they inevitably end up in your septic tank. Here, they can potentially destroy the bacteria responsible for breaking down waste. These chemicals might even find their way into the drainfield and contaminate the soil.

Commercial cleaning products also fill your home with harmful fumes, which can be especially dangerous for young children, pets, or family members with breathing issues.



As families make the shift toward natural, earth-friendly lifestyles, vinegar has become the cleaner of choice.

Not only is it inexpensive, but it’s gentle enough to use around the home. At the same time, its acidity gives it amazing cleaning power. Vinegar dissolves sticky build ups, soap scum and dirt. It can also control mold and freshen up surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen.

Now, here’s the good news. By the time it reaches your septic tank, vinegar is just as gentle! It’s non-toxic and all-natural, so it isn’t bad for your septic system.



Aside from using gentler cleaners, taking care of your system involves certain habits. You and your family should:

  • conserve water
  • avoid flushing solids
  • avoid pouring grease, fats, and oils down the drain
  • limit garbage disposal use

Finally, it’s crucial to prioritize yearly septic maintenance. This will keep your system healthy and prevent expensive problems (and headaches) later on.



If you prefer green cleaning products, you’ll be happy to know that vinegar isn’t bad for your septic system. However, if you absolutely must use commercial cleaners, we recommend using products labeled as “septic safe.”

In the meantime, Paradise Valley Septic can take care of your septic maintenance needs. Our experienced technicians will examine your system and perform regular pumping. Together, we can help your septic system thrive for years to come.

To schedule an appointment, contact us at (480) 607-7763.

What Are the Different Types of Septic Systems?


When it’s time to install or replace a septic system, there a few things to keep in mind. For starters, you’ll need to find the best spot for your drainfield, which can’t be near bushes or trees. You’ll also have to remember to get regular septic pumping, even if it’s working well.

But before the installation process can start, you’ll need to know the best type of septic system for your property. This is especially important if your property has unique conditions that affect proper wastewater disposal. After all, if your septic system isn’t designed to work with your environment, you’ll end up with a very expensive problem.

The different types of septic systems fall under two categories: conventional systems and alternative systems. And when it comes to alternative systems, there are more than 20 types to choose from.

Read on for a brief rundown on your options.



A conventional system is also known as a basic or standard system. The process starts in the septic tank, which holds wastewater from your home. Over time, the wastewater separates into layers. The solids sink to the bottom, where naturally-occurring bacteria break it down. Meanwhile, the lighter solids and grease float to the top of the tank.

The middle layer consists of partially treated wastewater. As gravity (or pumps) pushes it out of the tank, it flows into the drainfield, or the leach field. The drainfield is made of underground pipes that are surrounded by permeable soil or gravel. It also has bacteria that removes impurities by digesting organic materials.

You can’t go wrong with a conventional septic system. But if your property doesn’t have the right conditions, you might need an alternative septic system.



Sometimes, an area might not be suitable for a conventional system. For example, a high water table can disrupt proper drainage. Some soil types or depths aren’t appropriate of conventional systems as well. In these scenarios, an alternative system is ideal.

Like conventional systems, alternative septic systems use septic tanks. The difference is in the way alternative systems properly handle wastewater.

Here are a few examples of alternative septic systems:


Intermittent Sand Filter System

If an area doesn’t have enough soil to treat wastewater, a sand filter system can help. In this system, wastewater passes through a sand filter before it’s dispersed in the soil.


Recirculating Sand Filter System

A loop can be added to a sand filter system. Before wastewater leaves the tank, it recirculates and passes through the sand filter twice.


Mound Septic System

If there’s an issue with soil depth or type, the drain field can be installed above ground level. This is called the mound. It’s made of a sand fill with a gravel-filled bed and pipes.


Evapotranspiration Septic System

This system disposes wastewater through evaporation. Specifically, it evaporates through nearby grass, plants, and sand. It’s only recommended for dry environments that get less than 24” of rainfall each year.


Aerobic Treatment Unit

An aerobic treatment unit uses oxygen to break down organic waste. Compared to standard systems, the process is faster, and the discharged water is cleaner. This system is also less likely to develop septic problems.


Low-Pressure Pipe Septic Systems

If your property has slightly shallow soil, you may be able to use a low-pressure pipe (LPP) system. It’s like a standard system. However, it has a pumping chamber — also known as a dosing chamber — between the tank and drainfield. Twice a day, the LPP will push wastewater through the chamber and to the drainfield.



This list includes just a couple examples of alternative systems. After all, there are so many different types of septic systems to pick from! Understandably, the selection process can get quite overwhelming.

You’re not in this alone, though. At Paradise Valley Septic, our experienced septic providers know how to select the best septic system for your home. We’ll also examine your property, soil, and any potential constraints before the septic drilling begins.

From there, our team can take all of your septic maintenance needs over the years. This way, you can be sure that your new system lasts for years.

Have questions? Feel free to contact us at (480) 607-7763.





Onsite wastewater treatment definitely has its benefits. Not only is a home septic system a cost-effective option, but it’s also environmentally friendly when properly installed and maintained, and it can help with better water efficiency. For these reasons, many people will opt to install a septic system instead of relying on their municipal sewer system. And, in more rural areas, a septic system is sometimes the only option.

But what exactly do you need to know before choosing the right septic system for your home? Before we get to the basics, you should know there is more than one kind of septic system. You can read about the different types of septic systems here, but this blog will focus mainly on conventional (or basic) septic systems.




When deciding how big your tank should be, consider the square footage of your home as well as the size of your family and how much water you typically use. Conventional residential septic tanks typically range in size from 750 to 1,250 gallons, with a 1,000-gallon tank being the standard for a three-bedroom home up to 2,500 square feet.




Residential septic tanks are typically constructed of concrete, polyethylene (plastic) or fiberglass. Concrete tanks, while common, weigh considerably more and will require the use of more heavy-duty machinery to install. Polyethylene and fiberglass tanks are lighter and typically easier to install. Talking to a septic system expert about local codes and regulations can also help you select the right material.




This is an important question and one we cover in detail in this blog. In brief, choosing the right location for your residential septic tank will depend on things like installation regulations for your area, the layout of your property, and existing utility lines and soil quality.





Not all wastewater treatment takes place within the actual septic tank. The drain field (also called the leach field) performs more than half the job in a conventional residential septic system.

Like your septic tank, the size of the drain field will depend on the square footage of your home, the size of your family and how much water you typically use. However, soil quality is equally important. If the condition of the soil is good and it percolates well, a ballpark estimate for your drain field size is about 4,500 square feet (100 feet long x 45 feet wide).

The area where your drain field will be located should also be clear of any large trees, structures or driveways. You will need to check local zoning rules to determine setback requirements and other possible property regulations.



Yes—primarily because the quality of the soil in your yard affects how well it will absorb the septic effluent (the liquid waste from the tank that is disposed of in the drain field). Because the drain field acts like a giant soil filter, it is important that your soil is highly absorbent.

The best type of soil in which to install your septic system and drain field is sandy, undisturbed soil. Try to avoid areas of dense clay or bedrock, which can prevent water flow. Also steer clear of course, gravelly soils that may drain too quickly. A percolation test (or perc test for short) will help you determine the state of your soil.




Paradise Septic has been providing residential septic service to homes and businesses in the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas for more than 50 years—from drilling and installation to pumping and regular maintenance.


Family owned and operated, we take pride in delivering superior service and providing efficient, cost-effective solutions to meet your residential or commercial septic system needs.

Call Paradise Septic today at (480) 351-1725 or send us a message through our convenient online form.




When it comes to your septic system, it’s important to remember that it’s just that: a system. In other words, there are several working parts, and each one is crucial for success.


That’s why you should take the time to understand your leach field. By knowing what it is and how it works, you can prevent septic problems before they even begin.




A leach field is also known as the drain field or leach drain.

Think of the leach field as an extension of a septic tank. Specifically, it’s the area that drains and disperses liquid waste from the tank. A leach field’s main job is to properly remove impurities from wastewater.

Basically, it’s like a digestive system. As biodegradable and organic substances pass through, bacteria in the area break them down.




The leach field involves a set of pipes (or “lines”) underground. Typically, these pipes are surrounded by gravel or permeable soil.

The pipes also have tiny holes along the sides and bottom. When wastewater flows through the pipes, it leaches into the surrounding gravel or soil. Next, bacteria in the area purify and cleanse the wastewater by digesting organic materials and waste.

It’s important to note that only wastewaterflows into the leach field. That’s because every septic tank has a filter that stops solid waste from moving through. (This also explains why scum and sludge build up in the tank — and why you should get regular pumpings.)




The leach field should be in a large, open area in your yard. There shouldn’t be nearby trees or bushes, as the roots can obstruct the underground pipes.


Hopefully, youwon’tbe able to spot your leach field by looking at the grass. A healthy septic system that properly disposes of wastewater won’t affect the surrounding soil.


On the other hand, a failing septic system will give the soil extra “fertilizer”, resulting in lush green grass. There might also be puddles of water. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to pump your septic tank.




The leach field is involved in some of the final steps of the septic process. Yet, it’s still a vital component. In fact, if your leach field fails, your entire system can take a hit.


To start, don’t plant trees or bushes less than 10 feet from the drain field. Their roots can block and harm the pipes.


Never drive or park cars, tractors, dirt bikes, or go-carts on the area. These vehicles can damage the area, especially if it’s wet. If you like to host parties or have a big family, be sure to give everyone a heads up.


Regular septic pumping is essential, too. This prevents solid waste from accumulating in the tank and blocking the filter that lets wastewater pass through. For best results, schedule a routine septic system inspection once a year.




Every homeowner should know what a leach field does and why it is important. But beyond that, you don’t have to worry about anything else. Our experienced technicians at Paradise Valley Septic can perform septic system inspections to make sure everything is running smoothly.


We’re also happy to recommend a maintenance schedule based on your household size and usage. Every home, after all, is so unique.


Since 1958, Paradise Valley Septic has served the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas. And we can’t wait to serve you, too! To schedule an appointment,  contact us today.


Septic System Myths Debunked


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


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


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.



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.



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


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!)


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.


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.


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


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


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.


  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.


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.


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


“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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