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IT’S FINALLY SUMMER: 5 WAYS TO PREPARE AND MAINTAIN YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM FOR WARM WEATHER

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Summer activities can be harsh on your septic tank, but regular maintenance is key. Here’s how to prepare your septic system for summer and prevent problems from ruining the fun.

As a homeowner, summer is all about friends, family, and good times. And when you’ve got guests to host and burgers to grill, the last thing you want to deal with is your septic system.

It’s certainly worth your attention, though. With more people around, your septic system will have to work extra hard. Everyone needs to use the bathroom, after all.

This is where regular septic maintenance comes in. By learning how to prepare your septic system for summer, you can melt away problems before they begin.

HOW TO GET YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM READY FOR SUMMER

  1. Limit Water Usage
    When guests are in town, more water goes down. It’s the simple nature of hosting visitors. Give your system a break and do laundry and other heavy water use before the festivities. When it’s time to party, you’ll limit the total wastewater generated.
  2. Avoid Flushing and Pouring Garbage
    If you’re not careful about what goes in the toilet and sink, your money will go down the drain, too. Kindly remind guests—especially children—to flush nothing but toilet paper and human waste. Avoid expensive septic damage by properly tossing garbage, such as tampons, coffee grounds, and cooking grease.
  3. Don’t Drive on Lawns
    The yard may offer extra space, but driving and parking cars on your drain field is bad news. Even dirt bikes and go-carts can damage the septic line, especially if the ground is wet. Give guests a heads up by blocking off vulnerable spots with rope or tape.
  4. Avoid Standing Water
    An Arizona summer wouldn’t be complete without sprinkler tag, kiddie pools, and other water activities. But if the drain field area stays soggy for too long, it will become more susceptible to damage. Prepare your septic system for summer by designating a separate space for water activities. Again, a sign or rope can limit excess moisture and keep the drain field healthy.
  5. Drain the Above Ground Pool Properly
    If you have an above ground pool, drain it responsibly. Never discharge water into the septic tank or drain field. This can lead to septic flooding, expensive repairs, and a sting as bad as your sunburn. However, by planning a proper draining method, you can protect your septic tank.

WHAT IF YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM IS ALREADY ACTING UP?

These summer septic care tips can be a gamechanger for homeowners. But what if you already have bad odors in the basement or toilets flushing slowly?

Give us a call. Our expert team will fix the problem and help you stay on top of yearly septic tank maintenance. Before long, you’ll be having fun in the sun with a peace of mind.

5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR A SEPTIC-FRIENDLY 4TH OF JULY

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The smell of hotdogs and burgers on the grill. Good music. Friends and family. Who doesn’t love a good backyard 4th of July celebration?

(Hint: Your septic system.)

The good news is that with a few precautions, you can protect your entire system before the fireworks even begin. Just follow these simple tips:

PLAN AHEAD AND HAVE YOUR TANK PUMPED

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to your septic tank, planning ahead might just be the thing that keeps the party going without a hitch. Call Paradise Valley Septic and ask to have your tank pumped a day or two before the outdoor festivities so it’s empty and ready for action.

MOW AND WATER WISELY

In the summer, your lawn is where the magic happens—but it’s also where your drainfield is. Do your best to keep it well-manicured for your guests (and your septic system) by keeping the grass mowed and limiting sprinkler use to prevent overgrowth and oversaturation.

PRACTICE SMART PARKING

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Don’t park cars on your drainfield.  Not only can the weight of heavy vehicles compact the soil below (which could prevent your drainfield from working properly) but it may lead to costly repairs if a cave-in occurs or septic lines break.

If you’re planning on having a lot of guests arriving by car, consider roping off the area above your septic system, posting signs, or asking friends and family ahead of time to park in a designated area.

BE KIND TO YOUR TOILETS

Guests who aren’t familiar with septic systems may not understand the need for the extra safety measures. To avoid backups and potential clogging, you may need to remind them what should be flushed (only toilet paper and wastewater) and what should not be flushed:

  •        Paper towels
  •        Diapers
  •        Personal cleansing wipes
  •        Feminine hygiene products
  •        Essentially anything other than toilet paper

Feeling creative? Hanging a fun sign in your bathroom as a reminder about flushing dos and don’ts can go a long way toward helping your septic system survive the summer holiday.

GO EASY ON YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL

We’ve said before that garbage disposals and septic systems don’t play well together. This is especially true during barbeque season, when food preparation and cleanup keeps it working overtime.

The problem comes when those hard-to-break-down food items make their way into your septic system and cause the sludge layer at the top to accumulate. If the beneficial bacteria in your septic system can’t keep up, it may impact the overall efficiency of your system and cause bigger headaches down the line.

WE’D LOVE AN INVITE (BUT ONLY FOR THE RIGHT REASONS)

At Paradise Valley Septic, we love a good 4th of July celebration. But we’d hate to crash the party because something went wrong with your septic system.

Check out our blog for more seasonal tips and general maintenance information, and don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE MONSOONS ARE OVER?

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Remember our blog a few months ago about how to prepare your septic system for monsoon season? Good news! It’s almost over. If you took the time to follow our advice, that should mean you can soon breathe a sigh of relief.

As we head into September and the heavy rains, thunderstorms and flash floods begin to diminish, now is the perfect time to check in on your septic system and make sure it survived the season intact.

FIRST THINGS FIRST, CHECK YOUR DRAINFIELD

If Mother Nature has mellowed out but the water over your drainfield still hasn’t receded, you could have a problem. Standing water that doesn’t resolve is a sign your drainfield may be failing. If that happens, your septic tank may overflow and cause sinks and toilets to drain slowly or back up into your home or office.

Other indications you may have a drainfield problem? A strong sewage odor outdoors or inside the residence, and a black slimy substance on the ground above your septic tank or field lines. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to call a professional right away.

THINK THERE MIGHT BE DEBRIS IN YOUR TANK?

Monsoon season can be rough on your septic system, and sometimes silt and debris can make their way into your septic tank. If you think this is the case, there’s a good chance your septic system needs to be pumped.

If you want to try to assess the damage on your own, make sure the water has receded enough that you can safely open your tank. If don’t feel comfortable taking a peek, call the experts at Paradise Valley Septic. We’ve been taking care of septic systems in the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas since 1958, which means we’ve been through a monsoon season or two and know exactly what to look for.

HAVE YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTED FOR GOOD MEASURE

Living in Arizona means taking a few extra precautions before and after monsoon season to keep your septic system running smoothly. Even if you don’t see an immediate problem, consider having a septic inspection performed after things calm down to ensure your system is still in good shape.

A certified inspector will conduct a thorough examination of your drainfield and all of your tank components so you can rest assured knowing your septic system will live to see another season. If we do see a problem, we’ll notify you immediately and get it taken care of as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

TRUST PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC TO HELP YOU WEATHER THE STORM

Before, during and after monsoon season, the experienced technicians at Paradise Valley Septic are here to help with all of your septic system needs. You can count on us for regular maintenance throughout the year, but we’re also here when things go wrong and you need unexpected repairs.

Contact us today to find out more or set up an appointment.

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.

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