A backed up toilet, sink or shower can be a real pain. But determining who to call can be an even bigger headache. Don't wait until you have an emergency to learn the basics of septic system maintenance! Get the facts.
The easiest way to know if your problem is septic or plumbing related is to count the number of fixtures backing up. If your kitchen sink is the only fixture clogged, you can call a plumber to snake the drain or get to the root of the problem. If you notice that all of your sinks are draining slowly, however, you most likely have a septic backup. Additionally, you can determine it’s most likely a septic system issue if the fixtures backing up are the ones closest to the septic system, such as those on the ground level or in the basement.
Here are more clues your problem is septic related:
We’ve been in the septic business for over 60 years and we’ve dealt with tons of backups – the most common thing we find when we’re looking for the cause of the clog or backup, is flushable wipes! Yes, “flushable” wipes. Don’t let the labels fool you… There is no such thing as a “flushable” wipe when you have a septic system.
Unlike toilet paper that dissolves quickly as soon as it gets wet, baby wipes, cleaning wipes and makeup removing wipes are durable and can take years to break down and dissolve. Don’t believe us? Watch this video.
According to real estate expert Sean Becketti, chief economist of Freddie Mac, Baby Boomers are staying in the family home longer than previous generations. If you fall into this category, it’s likely you purchased your home in the 80’s or 90’s during the real estate boom. If your home was new, it’s now 20+ years old and if it was built prior to 1980 you’ve probably already replaced your roof and who knows what else. But have you ever given thought to your septic system?
With proper maintenance your septic system shouldn’t need to be replaced, but it does require regular pumping to function properly. Most homes built since 1980 have 1000 gallon septic tanks which require pumping every 3 years, but older homes often have smaller tanks that require pumping more frequently. If you’re not sure about your septic tank size, we’re happy to perform a site visit and draw you a map locating your septic tank and other components.
Regardless of your tank size, it’s important to make note of your township’s regulations. Some townships require mandatory pumping every 2-4 years. When this is the case, our technicians will complete a manifest (report) and deliver it to your township so you can rest assured your pumping is on record. To see if your township requires mandatory pumping, click here.
Aside from routine pumping, it’s important to treat your septic system with care. NEVER place these harmful products or foreign objects into your septic system!
Here are some additional tips to make keep your septic system healthy for years to come:
Conserve water. Reducing the water flow into the system produces less agitation within the tank, keeping the solid waste at the bottom of the tank. Keeping the solids in the tank prolongs drainfield life.
Read product labels carefully. Make sure they are safe for your septic system. Many will actually be labeled, “Septic System Friendly" but there is no such thing as a “Flushable” wipe!
Use the strainer in your kitchen sink. This will help prevent large food particles from going down the drain and causing a backup. If you have a garbage disposal, use it sparingly! Garbage disposals can increase the amount of solids in your septic tank by up to 50%.
For additional maintenance tips and information, click here.