Common Mistakes Septic Owners Make

There are over 21 million households with septic systems in the United States. When taken care of properly, septic tanks are a great way to manage waste without using a public sewer system. However, if you go into owning a septic system blind, you could potentially make mistakes that will end up costing you time and money. Here are the most common mistakes septic owners make and how to avoid them.

 

Flushing

You may not be aware if you’ve never owned a septic system before, but the only thing safe to flush down the toilet is human waste and toilet paper. That’s it. Anything that’s flushed down your toilet ends up in your septic tank. Your septic tank works by a delicate balance of bacteria breaking down the waste. Any chemicals or substances could disrupt this balance. Also, anything thicker than toilet paper could clog your tank and its components. Be sure never to flush:

  • Paper Towels
  • Feminine Products (tampons, maxi pads, etc.)
  • Baby Wipes
  • “Flushable” Wipes
  • Make-up pads or cotton pads

Regular Pumping

Most septic tanks will need to be professionally pumped every 1-3 years, depending on the size of your household. If your septic tank becomes overfilled, you could be at risk of a backup. Septic backups are not only dangerous, but they are also costly to repair and difficult to clean up after. Be sure to find a reputable septic company right away and get on a regular pumping schedule.

Yearly Inspections

It’s easy to miss potential problems or issues if you don’t inspect your septic system regularly. An experienced septic inspector uses special equipment to examine your system and look for problems thoroughly. Catching a broken pipe or component right away can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. If you don’t know the last time your system was inspected, it’s probably time.

Affordable Pumping Services has years of experience caring for septic systems in your area. Give us a call today!

Chemicals to Avoid Putting Down Your Drains

It’s important to remember that anything that gets flushed down your toilets or poured down your drains ends up in your septic tank. Because one of the components that makes your septic system work is a balance of bacteria, any chemical could disrupt that balance. Anytime you use any cleaning product, it’s important to make sure it’s safe for septic tanks. Here are some chemicals to avoid putting down your drains.

 

Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaning products like Drano and Liquid Plumber should NEVER be used if you have a septic system. One of the main ingredients in drain cleaners is sodium hydroxide or lye. Lye is one of the most corrosive chemicals found in cleaning products and can wreak havoc on the components of your septic tank. If you’re having drain issues in your home, call a plumber instead of pouring chemicals down your pipes.

Fabric Softeners

Liquid fabric softeners work by adding “softening” chemicals to clothes to make the fabric feel softer. These chemicals are called QUATS or quaternary ammonium compounds and are known to kill bacteria. Besides making them a no-no for septic tanks, they also have acidic ingredients to maintain pH levels when washing. These components can mess with the pH level in your septic tank.

Medicines

When it comes to medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs should never be poured down your drain. Even a simple cough syrup could disrupt the bacteria balance in your tank.

Antibacterial Soap

The name of this product alone should be a clue that it could be dangerous to septic systems. But people don’t realize the type of soap they use to wash their hands would affect their septic tank. Antibacterial soaps have ingredients that could indeed kill certain bacteria in your tank. Instead, use ordinary hand soap. If you’re concerned about germs, opt for a natural hand soap with lime.

Have questions about what you can and can’t use with your septic system? Ask the experts at Affordable Pumping Services! Give us a call today.

 

 

 

How the Minerals in Your Water Affect Your Septic Tank

A lot of liquids in your home eventually end up in your septic system. However, we don’t often think about what may be lurking in the liquids we pour down the drain. The truth is, even your water could be affecting your septic tank. Read on to learn more.

 

The Minerals in Water

Hard water has high amounts of magnesium and calcium. Because groundwaters usually contain lots of dissolved minerals, it is considered hard water. Most homeowners don’t want to use hard water because of the annoying problems it can cause. For this reason, most people with hard water in their homes opt to install a water softener. Water softeners remove magnesium and calcium from the water through a process involving an ion exchange with sodium. The “backwash” created through this process contains high levels of the minerals that were removed.

Water Softeners and Your Septic Tank

The backwash from water softeners will increase the sodium chloride levels in your septic tank. The increased salinity of the tank will mess up the pH levels and could kill the helpful bacteria in your tank. Disrupting the bacteria balance in your septic tank could lead to all sorts of problems.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have or use a water softener in your home if you have a septic system. It just means you’ll have certain factors to consider while purchasing and installing a water softener in your home. You should always consult with a professional septic system company before installing a water softener.

Ask the Advice of a Professional

You should always consult with a septic professional before getting a household water filtration system or installing a water softener. Your septic company will be able to make recommendations based on your specific needs and your specific system.

For all your septic system needs, give Affordable Pumping Services a call today!

 

 

Septic Companies vs. Plumbers

Although their work may sometimes overlap, septic companies and plumbers have a different set of skills. If you have a septic system on your property, you will probably require the services of both at some point. Read on to learn more.

 

Slow drains: Septic Company or Plumber?

If you have one tub or sink that is slow to drain or clogged, you most likely need a plumber. However, if there are multiple slow drains or clogs, you may have a septic problem that requires a trained professional. When multiple sinks are slow to drain in the home, this points to a full or overflowing septic tank. A plumber won’t be able to help at all in this situation, so you’ll need to call a septic company

Toilet Backups: Septic Company or Plumber?

This situation is another one that can be hard to figure out which professional you may need. If your toilets suddenly don’t flush or start to back up, your first instinct may be to call the plumber. However, if you have a septic system on your property, it could be a sign of a septic clog or an overfilled tank. Call a septic company first to rule out a septic system problem before calling in a plumber.

Check with a Septic Company First

Anytime there is an issue with slow or clogged drains, malfunctioning toilets, or strange noises or sounds coming from your pipes, you should call a septic company first. It’s best to rule out all possible septic issues before bringing in a plumber. Septic technicians are also trained to know when they’re out of their scope, so if it’s a plumbing problem, they’ll let you know.

For all your septic system needs or to get on a regular pumping schedule, give Affordable Pumping Services a call today!

 

 

How to Identify a Leak in Your Septic System

Leaks in your septic system are a big problem and should never be ignored. Knowing how to spot the warning signs of a leak and what to do when you find one is essential for any septic tank owner. Read on to learn how to identify a leak in your septic system.

 

The Role of a Septic Inspection

Because a non-specialist cannot spot not all leaks, it’s crucial to have regular septic inspections. A septic professional has access to specialty tools and equipment to identify leaks that aren’t visually noticeable. They can even use cameras to snake into pipelines to catch leaks that may be happening further down the system. Catching leaks in their early stages can prevent severe and expensive damage in the long run.

Foul Odors

A foul, rotten egg-like odor is a clear indication that you have a septic leak or problem. If you spot septic backup in the home, call the professionals immediately. Septic backups can be toxic and dangerous, and you should never address them yourself. Instead, contact a professional septic tank company as soon as you notice a foul odor and can’t identify its source. Let them know you suspect a leak and tell them any details that may be relevant.

Keep an Eye on Your Drain field

Everything in your septic tank ends up in your drain field. Septic tank leaks are hard to spot right away. However, if you notice a change in your drain field like saggy spots, puddles of standing water, or lush green areas that weren’t there before – you may have a leak. Again, leaks should be addressed by professionals, so call your septic company right away.

Affordable Pumping Services is here for you for septic tank leaks or any of your septic system needs. Give us a call today!

Keep the Proper Bacteria Balance in Your Septic Tank

A properly functioning septic tank is an integral part of your home. Most of the time, your septic system will run fine by itself, needing little help. However, regular maintenance and care will ensure your tank functions correctly and can continue to do so in the long term. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your septic tank needs the proper bacteria balance to do its job. Read on to learn more.

 

The Microbiology of Your Septic Tank

There’s a whole world of microbes that exist inside your septic system, including bacteria, fungi, algae, and nematodes. These microorganisms live off of the waste in your septic tank. Some of the bacteria are placed into the tank, and some exist naturally. Understanding the benefits of all these microscopic bacteria can help you understand your septic system.

How to Maintain the Bacteria Balance

Proper use and maintenance of your septic tank should keep the bacteria balance in check. However, there are ways that you can disturb the balance, and these should be avoided. Harsh chemical cleaners are an easy way to kill off the good bacteria in your tank. Be sure all the products you use are septic-safe. Flushing wipes, tissues, or anything other than toilet paper could also cause a problem.

Regular Maintenance and Inspections

Keeping up with regular pumping, maintenance, and inspections are all essential to maintaining the proper bacteria balance in your tank. A neglected leak or damage in your system can lead to all kinds of problems, including dangerous sewage backups. A professional septic technician will be able to spot potential issues and fix them before they disrupt the bacteria balance in your tank.

For all your septic system needs, give Affordable Pumping Services a call today!

 

How a Grease Trap Can Save You Thousands

A grease trap is a plumbing device used to catch solids and greases before entering a wastewater disposal system. They are an essential component in the inner workings of your commercial building. When properly installed, they can save you money! Here’s how.

 

How does a Grease Trap work?

In simple terms, a grease trap works by slowing the flow of warm or hot greasy water and allows it to cool down. As the water temperature lowers, the grease and oil separate and floats to the top of the trap.

How should a Grease Trap be maintained?

All grease trap maintenance should be left to professionals. When your grease trap is cleaned, a technician will remove the lid, remove the top layer, and clean them thoroughly. Then, the bottom of the trap will be cleaned. The bypass vents are then washed with flexible wire and specialty tools. It will then be put back together and checked to make sure the grease trap is functioning correctly.

What happens if a trap is neglected?

A grease trap can malfunction if not properly cleaned and maintained regularly. A dirty grease trap can smell terrible, which could be disastrous for your business. But worse yet, a dirty grease trap causes a backup in your entire system. A sewage or septic backup could be toxic to your employees and customers, not to mention extremely expensive to fix.

How does a grease trap save your business money?

Imagine all the grease, oil, and debris that your trap catches before reaching your plumbing system. Subjecting your system to hot grease could spell disaster for your entire building. Installing, maintaining, and using a commercial grease trap allows your pipes to work how they’re supposed to work – without the unnecessary gunk build-up.

Call the experts at Affordable Pumping Services for regular cleaning and inspections to keep your grease trap working properly.

 

 

 

Keeping Your Drain Field Clear

If you own a septic system on your property, it’s important to understand that your drain field is an essential component of that system. To ensure your system continues to work efficiently, you’ll need to keep your drain field clear and free of debris. Why is this important? Read on to learn more.

 

What is a drain field?

A drain field, sometimes called a leach field, is a necessary part of your septic system. On the surface, it usually just looks like a grassy area of your yard. But underneath, there’s quite a bit going on. Under the ground of your drain field, there are a series of trenches, pipes, and septic components all connecting to your septic tank. As your tank breaks down waste, the wastewater is released into the pipes. These pipes run the length of your drain field, and effluent eventually spills out evenly in the field.

Why should you keep your drain field clear?

Although it’s safe to have grass and some plants on your drain field, there are some things you should be aware of. It’s important to avoid planting trees anywhere near your septic tank or drain field. Tree roots are attracted to septic waste and can penetrate the pipes underground as they try to reach it. There are also invasive shrub species that can do the same type of damage. Be sure to research what plants you plan to use on your drain field or consult a septic tank professional.

What else should you avoid on your drain field?

Besides invasive plants, you also must keep your drain field clear of all vehicles or heavy equipment. Never drive, park, or use heavy machinery over or around where your septic tank is located. Heavy machinery or vehicles could damage your underground tank.

Have questions about your drain field? The septic experts at Affordable Pumping Services are standing by!

Five Septic System Tips for Your New Construction Home

Building a new construction home comes with a lot of decisions. If you’ve decided to include a septic system on your property, there are some considerations to make. Here are five septic system tips for your new construction home.

 

Consult Septic Tank Professionals

There should never be any guessing involved when it comes to the installation of your new septic system. Make sure you hire a reputable, experienced septic company to assess your septic needs.

Household Numbers vs. House Size

The size of your home is only one factor that goes into determining the size of your septic tank. The most important factors are the number of bathrooms in your home and the number of household members. Your septic system company will be able to determine the perfect sized tank for your new construction home.

Dedicated Space for a Drain Field

A septic system needs a dedicated area of land to act as a drain field. The acreage size of a drain field for a 3-bedroom home is around 450 feet. Your septic installation company will be able to determine the exact size.

Landscaping Caution and Guidance

A brand-new property is a blank slate for landscaping plans but use caution. Landscaping around or near the septic tank and in the drain field area should always be minimal. Trees or invasive shrubbery are dangerous to the underlying septic pipes and components. Make sure you alert any landscaping company you hire where your new septic tank will be located.

Ready for a new septic tank installation for your new construction home? Give Affordable Pumping Services a call! We have decades of experience installing brand new septic systems. Don’t risk missing any of the very important steps above by not consulting with a professional.

 

 

 

The Importance of Septic Inspections When Buying a House

Most modern septic systems last for around 25 years. If the system is well taken care of with regular maintenance, inspections, and necessary repairs, it can last even longer. However, a neglected septic system is a recipe for disaster. Knowing what you’re buying is critical if you’re purchasing a new home with a septic tank on the property. This is where septic inspections come into play. Read on to learn more about the importance of septic inspections when buying a house.

What is a septic inspection?

A septic system is designed to treat and dispose of wastewater from a home’s toilets, showers, and sinks. Although they’re made to last, structural problems in the system do happen, and they can create many problems. A septic inspection can bring these problems to light before they lead to costly septic backups or issues. A trained septic system inspector uses specialized tools and equipment to thoroughly inspect your septic tank and its components to ensure it’s working safely and efficiently.

Is a home inspection sufficient?

Although your average home inspector will briefly check the septic system, they are not trained specifically for full septic inspectors. It’s wise to hire a professional septic company to perform a complete septic inspection before purchasing any property. A trained inspector will find problems a standard home inspector might miss.

Who will pay for the septic inspection?

As the buyer, you will be responsible for paying for a septic inspection. However, the cost is probably lower than you think and is much more cost-effective than finding out there is a significant issue after the purchase. It’s best to have all the information in front of you before making such an important purchase as a new home.

 

Are you looking for a professional septic inspection? Look no further than Affordable Pumping. Give us a call today!