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WHERE IS MY SEPTIC TANK LOCATED? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO FIND IT

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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:

 

HOW TO FIND YOUR SEPTIC 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.

 

WE’LL GET YOUR SEPTIC TANK READY FOR YOUR FAMILY.

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.

 

SEPTIC TANK ADDITIVES: YES OR NO?

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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.

 

HOW DOES A SEPTIC SYSTEM 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.

 

THE FACTS ABOUT ADDITIVES

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.

 

OF COURSE, THERE’S ALWAYS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE

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.

 

NOTHING REPLACES REGULAR PUMPING AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE

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.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT CARING FOR YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM? CALL THE EXPERTS

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!

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.

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.

Get Your Septic System Ready for the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is upon us once again — along with fond memories of the food, the fun, the family and friends…the septic system backups.

Perhaps you’ve had a couple mishaps the last time 23 people came to dinner, or maybe it was when eight family members stayed at your house for a week with their two dogs.

Hopefully, your holiday memories don’t include septic system failures and backups, but if they do, you don’t have to make those memories again this year. Here are a few recommendations, tips, and ideas for you and your family to prepare for this holiday season without incident  – at least one involving your septic system.

Pump and prepare ahead of time.

You know that you should have your septic system pumped every three to five years for optimum efficiency and to avoid backups and failures. Even if it hasn’t been three years (but you’re expecting a house full of guests) it’s a good idea to have your system pumped before the festivities begin so you can be assured your tank will handle all the extra flushing and water usage.

It’s also a good idea to prepare food ahead of time if possible. Preparing foods that you can freeze or keep fresh a few days before the festivities will help prevent over-usage of water and kitchen drains. It also lets you, the host, enjoy the time with family and friends because you’ll have less to do once guests arrive.

Remind your guests what not to flush.

It may seem obvious to you and your family because you live at your home, but remember that not everyone know the Dos and Don’ts of a septic system. A few simple reminders for your guests will help everyone avoid a septic system mishap, or worse – an embarrassing situation.

Be sure to tell guests to avoid flushing the following items:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Paper towels
  • Diapers
  • Personal cleansing wipes
  • Anything other than the toilet paper you provide

Remind guests what not to put down the sink drains.

  • No oils, fats, or grease
  • No coffee grounds
  • No solid food waste
  • No bleach or other chemicals

Shower. Wait. Repeat.

You may not need to go so far as to establishing a shower schedule for family and guests, but it is a good idea to stagger the times people take them. If possible, avoid showering in multiple bathrooms at the same time. This can overload your septic system and slow the draining process.

The same thing applies to running the washing machine and dishwasher. If you can, distribute loads over a few days rather than running them back to back.

When it comes to the holiday season and septic systems, being prepared can make a big difference. Call Paradise Septic today to schedule your septic system maintenance before the holiday rush. And, should a situation occur, know you can count on us with our 50 years of experience serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas – during the holidays and every day.

Preparing Your Septic System for Fall & Winter: Three Simple Tips

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Did you know most septic tank problems are caused by a lack of maintenance throughout the year?

If your home or business has a septic system, a little preparation can go a long way toward keeping it running smoothly as we ease into the cooler months.

Here are three simple tips for safeguarding your septic system this season:

  • Have your tank serviced every 1 to 3 years.

Regular maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to maintain the health of your septic system—and fall is a great time to service your tank. Routine inspections ensure that small problems or issues don’t get out of hand, which means you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you won’t wake up to a disaster.

  • Clear the ground around your septic tank.

Are the lounge chairs still hanging around from summer? What about the yard work tools and equipment left on the lawn? All of these things, as well as leaves and other natural debris, should be cleared from the area around your septic cover and leach field to ensure your system is easily accessible in an emergency. Move heavy vehicles such as lawnmowers and automobiles that can damage your tank and drain lines if parked above your system.

  • Be water wise.

Install low-flow water fixtures and repair leaky faucets and toilets to help conserve water and avoid putting added strain on your septic system during fall and winter. In addition, survey your yard and do your best to divert other waters sources (e.g. surface water, sump pumps, downspouts) away from your septic system.

One final word of caution: don’t treat your toilet like a garbage can.

The more you put down your septic, the more often you will have to get it pumped. Keep out solid objects as much as possible, including food from your garbage disposal, paper towels, medications and other trash that can clog the system and prevent proper draining; only septic-safe toilet paper should be used. Check out our “Dirty Dozen” list of cleaning products and other harmful materials that should NEVER go down your drain.

We’re here for all of your septic system needs.

Seasonal maintenance is one of the best ways to make sure you get the most out of your septic system investment. Even though winter temperatures in the Phoenix Valley area average in the mid 60s, we still recommend taking these simple precautions to protect and preserve the life of your system.

Still have questions? Give us a call! At Paradise Septic our experienced technicians are ready and waiting to help you with all of your septic system needs.

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