Is Vinegar Bad for Septic Systems?

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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.

 

BUT WAIT — WHAT’S WRONG WITH COMMERCIAL CLEANERS?

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.

 

HOW DOES VINEGAR AFFECT A SEPTIC SYSTEM?

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.

 

ARE THERE OTHER WAYS TO CARE FOR MY 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.

 

AT PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC, WE CARE ABOUT YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM.

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.

SEPTIC SYSTEMS AND DRINKING WATER: BE SMART, TEST OFTEN

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WATER CONSERVATION AND SEPTIC SYSTEMS

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

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

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

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

 

HOW CAN I CONSERVE WATER AT HOME?

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

1. AVOID UNNECESSARY FLUSHING

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

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

2. FIX LEAKS

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

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

3. TAKE SHOWERS, NOT BATHS

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

4. FILL UP WASHING MACHINES AND DISHWASHERS    

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

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

5. RECYCLE WATER

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

 

6. INSTALL WATER-SAVING DEVICES

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

 

REGULAR SEPTIC MAINTENANCE MAKES A DIFFERENCE, TOO.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

1. Pump first, party later.

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

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

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

Feel free to copy our list!
Nice to Flush:

  • Toilet paper
  • Organic waste

Naughty to Flush:

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 SIGNS YOU NEED TO REPLACE YOUR SEPTIC TANK

  1. Frequent Backups

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

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

  1. Persistent Bad Odors

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

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

  1. Standing Water

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

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

  1. Unusually Green Grass

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

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

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

  1. Constant Pumping

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

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

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

STILL NOT SURE? TALK TO THE EXPERTS.

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

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

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

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

The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Septic-Systems

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

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

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

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

 

Pro: A septic system only services your home.

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

 

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

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

 

Pro: Septic systems are long-lasting.

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

 

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

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

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

 

Con: Be aware of what you flush.

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

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

 

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

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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.

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You’re Building a New Home…Where Do You Put Your Septic Tank?

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Many DIYers are surprised to learn that several factors need to be considered before deciding on the right spot to install a new septic system. While working with a certified professional is the best way to ensure the installation process is done properly in a safe and sanitary location, here are a few things to consider if you choose to go it alone.

FIRST THINGS FIRST, CHECK YOUR LOCAL REGULATIONS.

Septic system regulations vary depending on where you live. Start by contacting your local regulating agency to review the installation policies for your area and apply for the necessary permit(s). In the state of Arizona, this process begins with filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Discharge.

ALWAYS CBYD (CALL BEFORE YOU DIG).

The last thing you want to do is start digging and hit a utility line (e.g. cable, gas, power). Not only can this delay installation, but it can also be extremely dangerous—and potentially very expensive. Because there are no hard and fast rules about how deep different utilities have to be buried, make sure you call and have someone come out to mark the area. In most areas, a simple 811 call can get you started.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE TERRAIN.

A little common sense goes a long way here. Ideally, you want to place your septic system on level ground (and high ground if possible) to avoid flooding and seeping. Avoid steep slopes and areas of dense tree roots or other obstructions. Also, because you will be bringing in heavy equipment to install your system, take into consideration any surrounding structures (such as utility sheds) or power lines that may impede your progress.

REMEMBER TO TEST THE SOIL QUALITY.

The quality of the surrounding soil is an important factor in determining where to place your septic tank. Consider how a septic system works: wastewater runs from your home to the septic tank, where it separates from solid waste and is released into the surrounding drain field, also called a leach field. Essentially, the drain field acts like a giant soil filter, so it’s important that your soil is highly absorbent. The best type of soil is sandy, undisturbed soil. Try to avoid areas of dense clay or bedrock, which can prevent water flow. Also steer clear of coarse, gravely soils that may drain too quickly. A percolation test (or perc test for short) will help you determine the state of your soil.

WHY GO IT ALONE? THE EXPERTS AT PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC CAN HELP.

We touched on just a few of the important things to think about before installing your home septic system, but you also need to think about things like materials (what kind and how much will you need?), the overall design (how large of a drain field do you need? how close to your home should it be?), and the list goes on.

Or, you could just leave it to the professionals.

At Paradise Valley Septic our experienced technicians support ALL your septic system needs from installation to repair, including helping you with your initial design and securing the necessary permits. Just give us a call when you’re ready to get started.

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How Long Will Your Septic System Last?

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It would be nice if septic system owners could just flush waste down the drain and not worry about what happens afterwards, but alas, that is not the case.

If you want to get the most out of your septic system investment—and prevent flushing cash down the drain—you must research how to properly treat and maintain your system before problems arise.

There are many steps to be taken to help your system live up to its full potential and reach its maximum intended lifespan. How long your septic system will last depends on many factors, specifically the type of system you have and the conditions surrounding it.

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How Much will it Cost to Have My Septic Tank Pumped?

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If you know even a little bit about septic tanks, hopefully it’s that having them pumped at regular intervals is as necessary as having your car’s oil changed or keeping your roof in good repair: ignoring any of them will inevitably result in serious expense and hassle.

In fact, replacing a septic system can run between $5000 and $10,000. The good news is, depending on system type, tank material and soil quality, well-maintained septic systems can last 25, 30 or even 50 years.

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