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


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


1. Pump first, party later.

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

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

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

Feel free to copy our list!
Nice to Flush:

  • Toilet paper
  • Organic waste

Naughty to Flush:

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. Frequent Backups

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

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

  1. Persistent Bad Odors

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

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

  1. Standing Water

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

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

  1. Unusually Green Grass

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

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

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

  1. Constant Pumping

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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.



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!



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.

Monsoon Season Is Coming: How to Prepare Your Septic System


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


  • 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.


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.


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.


Or give us a call at (480) 351-1725. We can usually be there within 48 hours of scheduling.

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