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.




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


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

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

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


Pro: A septic system only services your home.

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


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

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


Pro: Septic systems are long-lasting.

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


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

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

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


Con: Be aware of what you flush.

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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




1. Check the Tank’s Cleanout

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

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

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

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


2. Count Backed Up Drains

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

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

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


3. Consider the Age

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

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



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

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

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




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

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

Here are four ways to locate your tank:




 1. Check the Property’s Records

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

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


2. Ask Around

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

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


3. Look for Clues

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

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

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


4. Follow the Pipes

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

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

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



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

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

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





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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

Septic System Needs Regular Maintenance Pumping

Why Your Septic System Needs Regular Maintenance Pumping – Even If It’s Working Well


A working septic system shouldn’t be taken for granted. To keep it in good shape, focus on regular maintenance and routine pumping. This type of service will prevent expensive problems in the future.

There’s nothing better than a working septic system. The toilets flush, the sinks drain, and the yard smells like grass. It’s essential for a comfortable home life.

Don’t get too comfy, though. Your system may be working well… but don’t you want to keep it that way?

If so, prioritize regular septic system maintenance and pumping. Like routine work on a car, consistent service prevents problems before they begin. It’s a no-brainer for the homeowner who likes to save money.


  1.  Improves Soil Absorption

Your septic system depends on the drainfield’s ability to absorb contaminants. So why not help it out?

Regular pumping gives your drainfield a well-deserved break. It’s a lot like letting a sponge dry out.

In fact, septic tank pumping works best when it’s done before a period of rest. Researchers at Penn State recommend doing it a day or two before you leave for vacation. This will let the soil dry out, improve filtration, and avoid groundwater contamination.

  1. Prevents Sewage Backups

Routine septic pumping limits the risk of sewage backups, a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

Remember, when sewage backs up, things have been going awry for a while. It usually happens after foul odors, slow draining, and standing water have showed up.

But why wait until something goes wrong? When you prioritize regular septic system maintenance, you’ll avoid issues from starting in the first place.

  1. Maximizes System’s Lifespan

From cars to clothes, things last longer with proper care. Your tank and drainfield are no different.

With regular service, a system will work for 25 to 30 years. This also means less problems, expenses, and headaches down the road.

The bottom line? Routine maintenance is cheaper than a new system.


Before penciling in regular septic system maintenance, you need to figure out how often your tank should be pumped.

The answer is different for every home. It depends on your tank’s age, condition, and size. Household size also matters, especially when people move in or out.

Generally, tanks need to be pumped every 1 to 3 years. Our technicians can determine the ideal frequency for your home.


If you want your septic system to last more than a few years, then treat it well.

At Paradise Valley Septic, we’ll give your system the personalized care it deserves. We can even send a postcard or email when your service is due.

And if there’s already an issue? Our team will repair the problem and get things back on track.

Contact us today. We’re ready to answer your questions about pumping, repairs, and everything in between.




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.


  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.


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.



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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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