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.

My Basement Smells Like Septic. What Now?



Uh-oh. You went down to toss in a load of laundry and noticed an unpleasant smell coming from your basement. What does it mean? And what should you do about it?

First, try not to panic. We actually hear this question a lot.

Second, it may require a little investigation on your part, but the foul odor emanating from the lower level of your home is most likely the result of one of the following.


Beneath every drain in your house is something called a trap. The trap looks a little like a sideways letter “P” and it’s there to ensure that water can drain properly.

However, these traps also have another purpose: to keep hazardous sewer gas from coming in. They do this by using water to create a seal that prevents the gas from entering your home—which means if the water evaporates and the trap dries out because a drain is not used very often (e.g., a guest bathroom or shower), the gas can seep in and pretty soon you’re holding your nose.

If the smell is not remedied by running water into the drain, it may be time to call a professional.


Inside each P-shaped trap is a cleanout plug. If this plug has become loose or if it hasn’t been replaced for some reason, sewer gas can easily escape into your basement. You can check to see if the plug is in place by removing the drain grate. If you need a replacement plug, your local hardware or home improvement store should have one.


Does your toilet seat wobble when you sit on it? This could indicate a bad wax seal between the base of your toilet and the toilet flange (the small piece of hardware that connects the bottom of the toilet to the drain pipe in the floor). This can happen if the seal dries out or if the toilet was reinstalled improperly after a project such as laying new flooring.

Because a leaky seal can allow sewer gas to escape, you may need to replace it by removing the toilet and installing a new seal.


Similar to a sump pump, which collects groundwater to prevent flooding in your home, an ejector pump collects wastewater from your basement area. When it reaches a certain level, the wastewater is pumped out to the septic tank or sewer system.

Because ejector pumps deal with waste and sewage (and not just groundwater) a crack, clog or improper seal in the system can allow sewer gas to leak out and permeate your basement.


We’ve touched on a few of the most common reasons for an unpleasant odor in your basement, but other issues such as poorly vented fixtures or damaged sewer lines may also be to blame.

The most important thing to remember: DON’T IGNORE THE SMELL.

Leaking sewer gas is never good. Aside from the stench, the gas may contain harmful bacteria that can cause health issues including headaches and nausea. Also, in case you need a reminder, sewer gas consists mainly of methane, which is highly combustible. (Read: you definitely don’t want your basement blowing up.)


When bad smells and other plumbing problems happen, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional.

At Paradise Valley Septic, we know exactly what to look for when you call us to investigate your basement odor. Our experienced technicians will do a thorough inspection and walk you through the next steps so you can put your mind at ease knowing your problem is expert hands.

Call or send us a message today to experience our Grade “A” service firsthand!


Is There a Reason My Toilet Is Flushing Slowly?


Is There a Reason My Toilet Is Flushing Slowly?

From faulty flush valves to obstructions in plumbing lines, there are several reasons why your toilet might not be flushing as fast as it used to.

And news flash: This is not a problem you should ignore – especially If you have a septic system.

We sincerely hope it’s just a minor, localized clog, but if your toilet is flushing more slowly than usual, take note.

 A slow-flushing toilet could be a sign that a bigger problem lurks below.

When your toilet is slow to empty, it could mean your pipes are clogged with sludge making it difficult to remove wastewater as quickly as a clean septic system can.

Additionally, your septic tank itself may be approaching capacity and unable to hold any more waste. If that happens, you run the risk of having your tank overflow, which typically means:

  • Slow drains and toilets
  • Pooling water in your yard around your drain field
  • Unpleasant odors in your home and yard
  • Sewage backup inside your home

If you have one slow-flushing toilet in your home, but all the other drains are functioning properly, then it might just be a clog in that particular toilet.

However, if you’re noticing that most of the drains and toilets in your house are slow to empty, it could be an indication that your septic system is at or approaching its full capacity.

 When was the last time you had your septic tank professionally serviced?

If the answer is, “I can’t remember,” your slow toilets and drains are an indication that it’s time for a long-overdue service. On average, a family of four or more should have their septic tank pumped every year. If there’s just two of you, every three years is a good rule to follow.

Why so often?

Routine septic system maintenance not only keeps your toilets functioning properly, it also helps prevent bigger, more costly problems from occurring down the line (pun intended!).

Think about it.

Fixing problems above ground in your septic system are much easier and less expensive than fixing the underground components.

Pay attention to your slowly flushing toilets to prevent bigger septic system problems. Routine septic system maintenance is not only the smarter route, but the more economical one as well.

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

Call or send us a message today to schedule a septic system inspection and service.




Homeowners living within the limits of a municipality are most often linked to the public sewer system. However, those living outside city boundaries may or may not receive community sewer services.  More often than not, many out-of-city residents rely on a septic system to treat their wastewater.

Now, before you start listing all of the reasons why septic systems are a pain in the neck, consider the recent news story about Paradise Valley residents getting charged up to 500% more than the going rate for city-provided water and sewer services.


More than 900 Paradise Valley residents who receive sewer (or sewer and water) services from the city of Phoenix are currently involved in an ongoing debate with city officials over what they consider to be unfair charges.

While the law allows for surcharges to be applied to outside-city sewer customers, many Paradise Valley residents are paying five or six times more than inside-city customers—which they say is far beyond the “just and reasonable” fees the city is obligated to provide.


No? Here is something else to consider.

Paradise Valley Septic was recently called out to a home where the septic system had failed.

The problem?

The homeowner lives in a place where city sewer services are now available, therefore it was illegal to replace the failed septic system. Instead, they had to make the switch to city sewer services.

You can probably guess where we’re going with this.


That’s a pretty long time, and well worth it to help you avoid the predicament many Paradise Valley residents are finding themselves in.

The average septic system should be inspected every one to three years. In addition, follow these tips to maximize the life of your septic system:

  • Use less water. Excessive water use will prevent the drain field from absorbing water efficiently which can lead to overflow problems.
  • Be careful about what you flush. Solids that can’t be broken down naturally in a septic tank (e.g. egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit skins or other food waste) will typically find their way into drainage pipes and clog them.
  • Avoid dumping chemicals down the drain. Paint, drain openers, gasoline, motor oils and other harsh chemicals are hazardous to the environment and can be harmful to the bacteria in your septic tank.


The most common problem associated with a septic system is lack of maintenance. Regular maintenance can help keep your system healthy and in top working order.

If you have questions about ongoing maintenance or it’s been a while since your tank has been serviced, don’t hesitate to contact us. Paradise Valley Septic has been proudly serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas for over 50 years, and our experienced technicians do it all—from materials and installation to maintenance and repair.

that time of yeat

It’s That Time of Year…for Selecting a Sewage Pump


This time of year, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is your sewage pump.

In fact, we’re willing to bet you have visions of sugarplums, rather than visions of sump pumps, dancing through your head right about now. However, after the holiday festivities have ended, and the mistletoe has been taken down for another year, it’s a good idea to consider which type of sewage pump you need for the most effective waste disposal.

All pumps are not equal.

Sewage pumps do different jobs, so selecting the one that’s best for your home might be a challenge. We’ve put some helpful descriptions together to help you decide which pump will work best for your current waste disposal needs.

Sewage pump applications: basements and septic systems.

Sewage pumps are different from regular sump pumps because sewage pumps handle solid waste, not just liquids. If you currently have a septic system that tends to back up frequently, it may be time to consider a new sewage pump. The most common application for sewage pumps is for basement bathrooms and septic systems.

Because basement bathrooms are typically located below your sewage line, under your house, you need a pump that can effectively pump solid waste and water up and out of the house, against gravity. For this reason, sewage pumps offer a higher output than regular sump pumps. Sewage pumps are designed to run less frequently than a sump pump, but with more power to eject debris.

When you have a septic system, sewage pumps break down waste and pump it out of your home into the septic tank. Investing in a high-quality sewage pump and maintaining it properly will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable, functioning pump for years to come. Because, let’s face it, malfunctioning sewage pumps and septic system backups are no picnic, any time of the year.

Choosing a sewage pump.

Sewage pumps are available in a few different options including effluent pumps, grinder pumps, and submersible pumps. Effluent pumps work well for residential or light commercial waste disposal needs. They focus on removing the gray wastewater that stays in your septic tank after the solids have settled.

Grinder pumps collect wastewater from your household appliances and fixtures including toilets, washing machines, and bathtubs. Grinder pumps have a holding tank to collect waste and when the water in the tank reaches a certain level, the grinder pump grinds the waste into a fine slurry before pumping it to your septic tank.

Submersible pumps are quieter than other types of sewage pumps and are great for residential, commercial, and agricultural applications.

If you’re not sure what kind of pump you need, or you have additional questions, we’d love to help. Paradise Valley Septic has been installing, repairing, maintaining, and helping people with all their septic system needs for the past 50 years. Give us a call to learn more about selecting a sewage pump that works best for your home or business.




Business owners, particularly restaurant owners, know that regular grease trap maintenance is extremely important. Grease traps are installed between the sink and the wastewater disposal system to capture floating fats, oils and grease (FOG) before they can enter the sewer or septic tank and cause problems.


According to the EPA, grease accounts for nearly half of all reported blockages in the United States, which is why ongoing maintenance is essential. If your business has one or more grease traps, here are four good reasons to keep them clean:

  1. ODOR. Grease buildup in your grease trap can cause a foul odor that can drive away guests and create an unpleasant working environment for your staff.
  2. CLOGS. Over time, clogged lines resulting from improper grease trap maintenance can result in a failure of the overall disposal system.
  3. SAFETY. Dirty grease traps are a potential fire hazard, especially since fats, oils and grease are extremely flammable.
  4. COST. If FOG from a full grease trap spills into the community water system, your business could face significant fines. Not only that, but the costs involved with fixing issues after they happen far exceed the expense of regular maintenance.


Clean and well-maintained grease traps will help prevent clogging and extend the life of your septic system. First and foremost, hire a professional to perform routine maintenance, including continually monitoring the grease level and pumping the grease trap at least quarterly.

Second, train your staff on simple but important steps to cut down on the amount of grease in your wastewater. These include thoroughly rinsing dishes, conserving water to prevent “surge loading” during busy periods, using detergents that quickly break up oil and water, and replacing liquid vegetable oil with shortening (which separates more easily in grease traps).

Finally, if you are concerned your current grease trap is not powerful enough for your needs, consider installing a larger grease trap or several smaller grease traps to allow adequate time for wastewater to cool and grease to separate.


Let Paradise Valley Septic take care of all your grease trap maintenance needs so you can focus on running your business. Our skilled technicians can answer all of your questions and give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a professional in your corner. Call or send us a message today to find out more!

How to Avoid FOG this Holiday Season

How to Avoid FOG this Holiday Season


Fog hanging over a valley in the early morning hours can give you an eerie feeling. FOG in your septic system can be even worse, especially during the holiday season when you have a house full of guests.

Just like an eerie fog creeps over the landscape, FOG, as in “Fats, Oils, and Grease,” can be even scarier for your septic system. Keep these tips in mind so you can avoid FOG in your septic system this holiday season.

F: Trim the fat…but, don’t put it down the drain.

When preparing holiday meals, be aware of what goes down your kitchen drain. Trim your turkey, and trim any fat into a disposable container or plastic bag that you can seal and throw out.

Remind guests that everything that goes down your drain, including fat, goes through your plumbing and into your septic system. Your septic tank isn’t designed to break down everything. It’s designed to break down human waste and toilet paper.

If you can keep everything else out of the tank, you reduce the risk of backups and overflows. And, nobody looks forward to that any time of year, especially not during the busy holidays.

O: The health benefits of oils have an adverse effect on septic systems.

You may be aware of the benefits of olive oil and coconut oil for healthier cholesterol levels and softer skin, but oils won’t benefit your septic system. You may be tempted to dispose of cooking oils at your kitchen sink out of convenience, but think twice before you do.

A septic system contains living organisms that digest and treat waste, naturally. When you pour substances like oil down the drain, you run the risk of killing these organisms or greatly impairing their function. Pour leftover or unused oils into a container so you can store or dispose of them properly.

G: Grease isn’t healthy for you or the septic tank.

If eating too many greasy foods can clog your arteries, imagine what it can do to your septic tank. Yuck! It’s tempting to dump the grease from a frying pan down the kitchen drain. But, as grease cools, it solidifies, causing clogs in your septic system.

After you fry bacon for that special holiday breakfast with family, pour leftover grease into a glass or metal container and let it cool. Once solidified, you can toss it into the trash. If you don’t have a container, you can put grease in a bowl and freeze it, then scoop it into the trash.

Now that you know how to avoid FOG during the upcoming holidays, you can hopefully avoid a potential plumbing disaster, too. But, should the occasion arise, it’s good to know that Paradise Septic will be there for you – during the holidays and every day – with our 50 years of experience serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas.

Are You Using the Right Plunger?


Are You Using the Right Plunger?

Most home and business owners have been faced with a clogged drain at one time or another. The quickest and least expensive solution is to grab the nearest plunger and get to work, but here is something you should consider: you may not be using the right plunger for the job. Just as there are different types of drains, there are different types of plungers, and using the right one is critical.

How Do Plungers Work?

Plungers form a seal around the surface of a sink or toilet bowl drain and use water pressure to create a vacuum. This helps to dislodge whatever is causing the blockage so that the pipes can be cleared and allowed to function normally again. And, because blockages can happen anywhere, your everyday toilet plunger may not work in every situation. Here’s where knowing your plungers comes in handy.

Plungers: 101 – Get to Know the Four Main Types

Whether you have a septic system or you’re part of a central sewer system, choosing the right plunger is the key to clearing a clogged drain and avoiding the need to call a professional plumber. We have outlined the four main types of plungers below.

  • Sink Plunger: When you hear the word “plunger” you probably picture a sink plunger. Its simple design has a rubber suction cup at the end of a wooden or plastic stick. Sink plungers work best on flat surfaces such as sinks, tubs or shower drains where they can lay flat and create a good seal.
  • Toilet Plunger: Toilet plungers look a lot like sink plungers but include small cup attachment inside the larger suction cup to improve suction inside a toilet bowl. Because this type of plunger can be adjusted to fit most drains, it is a good plunger to have on hand if you only own one.
  • Accordion Plunger: Like the name implies, this type of plunger has an accordion-like extension at the end of the stick, along with a small cup attachment. They are designed specifically for clearing clogged toilets and may be more effective for tough clogs.
  • Taze Plunger: Taze plungers are used primarily by plumbing professionals to clear larger pipes and should not be used for normal home plumbing. The taze plunger features a long steel rod attached to a small disc, which is snaked through the drain to clear the clogged area.

Two Quick Tips for a Successful Plunge

The average homeowner knows how to use a toilet plunger, but clogs can also happen outside of the bathroom. Here are two quick tips to remember:

  • Straight angle, strong suction. Holding the plunger at an angle makes it harder to create a good seal, while holding the handle straight up will ensure the best suction. Remember to lower the plunger slowly to release excess air for a stronger seal.
  • For toilet clogs, make sure your plunger is submerged. If not, fill a bucket from the sink or tub and add water until the head of the plunger is underwater.

Take Good Care of Your Plumbing with Regular Maintenance

Even the best toilet plunger is no match for the problems that can arise from poorly maintained plumbing, which is why preventative maintenance is so important—especially if you have a septic system. If you want to know more about avoiding clogged drains, contact Paradise Septic today. We have been serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas for more than 50 years to provide efficient, cost-effective solutions to meet your residential or commercial septic system needs.

How Does Plumbing Work in Tiny Homes?


Tiny Home Plumbing Solutions: The Ins and Outs of a Mobile Water System

The decision to live in a tiny house is a big one. Most likely, you’re making major lifestyle changes, and that’s probably the reason you’ve chosen tiny home living in the first place.

Living in a tiny home opens up a world of possibilities, especially when your little house is mobile. You can travel more, live wherever you’d like, and be free from most of the typical maintenance costs of owning a traditional home in a conventional neighborhood.

But tiny home living also comes with new sets of challenges, like how to create a plumbing system for a home that’s sometimes mobile, sometimes stationary. Tiny house experts agree that it’s good to have options when you consider plumbing solutions for your pint-sized dwelling.

Tiny Home Ideas for Public Water vs. An Off-Grid System

When the water supply into your tiny home comes from a city water system, you’re “on the grid,” and when you’re not connected to a public water supply, you are considered to be “off the grid.”

For both systems, the first step is getting water into your home for kitchen and bath use.

Tiny homeowners often opt for a water tank that fits inside (and is hidden by) kitchen cabinets. This is where your water is stored. You fill the tank by connecting an RV hose to a water supply (on-grid) or by carrying jugs of water (off-grid) to your tank. Once you have a water supply, the next step is heating the water for daily use such as cooking and showering.

When you’re off-grid, a tankless propane water heater is an efficient way to heat your water. You’ll also need a pump for water pressure in your sinks and shower. The pump requires a power supply, so if you’re truly off-grid, a gas or solar-powered generator will do the trick.

When you’re on-grid and connected to a public water supply, you won’t need to use a pump for water pressure, however, you may need a heated water hose in the winter so the water and spigot won’t freeze in colder outdoor temperatures.

Drainage Solutions: Where Does All the Water Go?

Another challenge you face as a tiny homeowner with a versatile plumbing system is where and how to drain your wastewater. Water from your sinks and shower is called “greywater” and water from your toilet is “blackwater.” Because sink and shower wastewater is easier to dispose of than toilet wastewater, many tiny homeowners choose composting toilets which eliminate the need blackwater disposal altogether.

When your tiny home is on-grid, or at a campground, you can connect to a public sewer or septic system with an RV sewer hose and dispose of greywater and blackwater that way.

Off-grid, greywater is easily sent through pipes from your home into a portable storage tank that you empty as needed at a designated dumping station. Alternatively, you can run the pipes into the ground to a section of the yard that irrigates a garden. When you choose this recycling plumbing solution, it is a good idea choose natural, biodegradable soaps and shampoos so the greywater won’t harm your plants.

Blackwater Tanks Instead of Composting Toilets

Discarding blackwater is a bit more complicated than greywater, especially when you’re off-grid, because blackwater contains harmful bacteria from toilet waste. As an alternative septic system, or when you do not have a composting toilet, your tiny home uses a blackwater collection tank. When the tank is full, you take it to a dumping station and dump it, or hire a professional service to take care of this unpleasant task for you.

Tiny home living combines the conveniences of owning a home with the versatility and freedom of mobile living and traveling. For a growing number of Americans, it’s an ideal way of experiencing the best of both worlds. Planning ahead for your tiny living plumbing solutions can make it an even happier adventure.

Paradise Septic has 50 years of experience answering all your residential plumbing questions, including alternative septic systems, like the ones necessary for tiny home living. Call today to speak to a knowledgeable professional.

Help for Homeowners: How Do Septic Tanks Work?


Have you recently purchased an older home with a septic system?

Perhaps you’re building your dream vacation cottage on a plot of land beyond the limits of a public sewer system.

As a new or current owner of a septic system, you may be wondering, “How do septic tanks work?”

Septic Essentials

One essential element for keeping your septic tank functioning properly, while minimizing maintenance costs, is understanding how it works.

A standard or “gravity fed” septic system is fairly simple: It consists of a tank, a drain field, 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 drain field. The drain field 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.

What Can Go Wrong?

The main reason septic systems fail prematurely is lack of preventative maintenance.

When the system is not properly maintained, the drain field can become clogged with sludge and wastewater will no longer be able to soak into the ground. When this happens, water will not drain from your toilets and sinks because it has nowhere to go.

As a homeowner with a septic tank, be aware of any the following indicators that your drain field may be clogged and unable to function optimally:

  1. Water from your toilet or tub fails to empty completely, or is unusually slow.
  2. Your toilet or sink makes a gurgling sound.
  3. Unpleasant odor and puddles over the drain field.
  4. Surfacing sewage or lush vegetation in your yard.
  5. Plumbing backups inside your home.

Septic Tank Maintenance Tips and Recommendations

The essential element for keeping your septic tank in good working order is preventative maintenance. Once you are aware of how the system works and any potential problems, you can take the necessary precautions to prevent unpleasant plumbing conditions.

Experts recommend the following maintenance tips to maximize the life of your septic system:

  1. Pump your septic tank every three to five years to remove sludge buildup that may clog pipes.
  2. Avoid adding septic tank “balancing” additives. Your system’s naturally occurring bacteria is sufficient.
  3. Use less water. Excessive water usage will prevent the drain field from absorbing water efficiently which can lead to overflow problems.
  4. Dispose of less solids in your toilet or drain. Solids that do not decompose will build up in your tank and could lead to sewage backup. Be aware of the items you flush.
  5. Avoid improper disposal of chemicals including paint, drain openers, gasoline, motor oils, and any other chemical that is harmful to the environment as well as to the bacteria in your septic tank.

Maximize the Life of Your Septic System

Now that you know how septic tanks work and the potential problems that may occur, you can take preventative action to keep your system in perfect working condition for the next 25 to 30 years.

For regular maintenance and in the event something goes wrong, Paradise Septic if your go-to. We’ve been serving the Phoenix Valley area since 1958. You can count on us to help keep your system running smoothly.

Contact us today.

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