What Not to Flush

  • By Rachel Kline
  • 13 Mar, 2017

Products to Avoid When You Have a Septic System

To Flush or Not to Flush - Septic tips for homeowners from John Kline Septic Services, Lancaster PA.

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.

Crazy right? Well, wipes aren’t the only thing you need to watch out for. If you have a septic system it’s important to pay close attention to what you flush on a regular basis. Wipes, balls of hair and feminine products are obvious no-nos that can cause physical clogs and backups. Other items to avoid include chemicals, grease and cleaning products – products that aren’t the “obvious” ones.

The reason for this is because your septic system is designed to break down solids and waste with naturally occurring bacteria. When you suddenly introduce harsh chemicals or grease to that environment, your septic tank’s pH can change dramatically, ruining the balance of “healthy” bacteria that keeps your tank working properly.

If you’re not sure if a product or detergent is septic safe, simply check the label. Many toilet paper products have a “septic safe” label or icon. And at the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Septic backups are a huge mess to deal with and repairs can add up.

If you have a septic system, here’s a cheat sheet for you!


NEVER flush or rinse the following items down the drain:

  • Gasoline, oil or other petroleum products
  • Cooking grease and oils
  • Paint, paint thinner or solvents
  • Antibacterial soaps (in large amounts)
  • Products with high levels of phosphorous – often found in laundry detergents, cleaning supplies etc.
  • Feminine products, makeup removing wipes or baby wipes

The John Kline Septic Poop Scoop

By Rachel Kline 15 Dec, 2017
When your house is full of friends and family, the last thing you want is a messy septic back-up. And although we're happy to help you out of a crappy situation, we hate charging after-hour service rates during the holiday season (and missing time with our own families!).

Here are five ways to keep things flushing smoothly this Christmas so you can avoid a costly holiday backup and spend more time with your loved ones. Keep reading to learn more or contact us today to schedule a routine pumping before the holidays arrive! 

1. Be Careful About What You Flush.  
There is no such thing as a flushable wipe - they are not  flushable, so do not flush them! This goes for feminine products, paper towels and make-up wipes too.  Let guests know that you have a septic system and keep a trashcan in plain sight for them to use.

2. Pay Attention to What Goes Down the Kitchen Drain.  
Did you know the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day for plumbers? That's because Turkey grease and giblets aren't meant to go down the drain. If you plan on cooking, pay extra attention to food scraps, grease and avoid using the garbage disposal. Make sure anything caught in your strainer goes directly in the garbage - not your septic tank.

3. Take it Easy on the Laundry.  
If you know you're having a bunch of people over, especially overnight guests which means more showers than usual, try doing your laundry a few days ahead of time. Your septic system can only handle so much water at one time and when more people are flushing the toilet, using the shower, washing their hands etc. it adds up. Avoid any extra water usage like washing the car, watering the grass and doing your laundry until after your guests have gone home.

4. Pump Your Septic Tank Before the Holidays.  
If your septic tank is less than 1,000 gallons, you are at higher risk of having a backup, especially when your system feels the strain of excess water usage. Call ahead and have your septic tank pumped at least one week prior to having guests to ensure a back-up free holiday.

5. Use a Septic System Additive.
You can keep your septic system healthy throughout the year with an additive like Bio-Active. Additives contain natural bacteria that help break down solids in your septic tank. We recommend Bio-Active because it's effective and easy to use - simply flush one packet per month to keep your septic system healthy.

Follow these simple tips and a backup will be the last thing you have to worry about this holiday season. For additional tips and answers to all of your septic questions, be sure to checkout our FAQ page. And for all your septic needs be sure to give us a call, 717-892-2788. Happy holidays from our family to yours!
By Rachel Kline 29 Nov, 2017
If you own a restaurant or a business that generates grease waste, it’s important to have a reliable grease pumper. At John Kline Septic, we know that waste removal is more than septic systems. For some restaurants, grease traps need to be emptied monthly or even weekly. That’s why finding an affordable and reputable grease trap pumping company is so important. If you’re in need of a grease trap waste removal expert, contact us today to request a quote or keep reading to learn what to look for in a grease pumper.

  1. Efficient and Knowledgeable Technicians
    Restaurants are bustling places so it’s important a grease pumper can be in and out quickly, either before or after your “open” hours. At John Kline Septic, our technicians are knowledgeable and experienced, and we offer flexible scheduling so we can get your grease trap emptied quickly and efficiently. Our grease tank cleaning services take care of your grease traps and our technicians will also check your inlet and outlet lines, tank walls, and baffles. 

  2. Honest and Reputable Service
    We pride ourselves on our great rates and great service. And we only dispose of grease at approved facilities in Central PA. After we service your grease traps or septic system, you'll receive a disposal manifest for your records to certify the job was done right.

  3. More than Just Grease Pumping
    If you’re looking for a grease pumper that knows the business, look for a company that offers more than just grease removal. A well rounded waste removal business will offer services like septic pumping , hydraulic load testing , inspections, repairs and jetting . Should you ever run into a problem with your grease trap or septic tank, you want a company that can tackle your backup in-house without having to charge for a subcontractor. In the end, you’ll save time and money when you go with a grease pumper that offers more.
Our goal is to empty your septic tank, not your wallet and the same is true when it comes to grease removal. We offer affordable rates and we're happy to evaluate your system and set up a maintenance schedule to save you time and money. When you let us take care of cleaning your grease tanks it's one less thing for you to worry about. So contact us today if you’d like to request a quote! Our team is standing by.
By Rachel Kline 25 Oct, 2017
Not only is a septic system additive part of a smart routine maintenance plan, it offers a variety of benefits that can save you money in the long run! Want to know how? Keep reading to see why a product like Bio-Active should be in every septic system owner’s home. Or contact us today to learn more.

  1. A septic system additive like Bio-Active can help keep your system healthy. If you regularly use anti-bacterial products or flush harsh chemicals down the drain, you may be destroying the “healthy” bacteria needed to break down solids and process waste. An additive contains the right kind of bacteria to help restore balance and keep your tank functioning properly.
  2. Septic additives can help prevent backups. If your septic system has a history of backups or problems, an additive like Bio-Active can help keep things flushing smoothly. By regulating your tank’s bacteria levels, additives break down solids and waste so your tank drains properly and is easy to pump every 3 years. 
  3. A septic system additive can extend the life of your septic system. If your system is old or you’re not sure how often it was pumped by previous owners, an additive is a cost efficient part of any routine maintenance plan. Bio-Active can restore the balance in your septic tank so it can continue functioning properly for years to come. 
  4. A septic additive can save you money. That’s right – keeping your system healthy with a product like Bio-Active can save you money on service and repairs. When your system is working as it should a backup is unlikely and you won’t be charged additional fees for heavy solids disposal during your regular pumping. 

If you’d like to learn more about septic system maintenance, check out our frequently asked questions page. Or better yet, contact us today to schedule your septic pumping and claim your year’s supply of Bio-Active septic additive.
By Rachel Kline 24 Oct, 2017
When it comes to your septic system, “out of sight out of mind” is never a good philosophy. In fact, whether there are 2 people in your family or 10, the only way to keep things running smoothly is to schedule routine pumping and system maintenance. If your system is overdue for routine cleaning, give us a call today. And keep reading to learn how regular pumping can save you money in the long run.

1. Regular septic maintenance helps prevent backups.
The last thing you want is a septic backup. Not only are they messy, they can cost you A LOT of money. If a pumper has to come out on the weekend or after-hours due to a backup (that could have been prevented) you can expect a hefty bill. But the good news is, regular septic pumping can help prevent backups from ever happening. So pay attention to your township requirements and make sure you follow pumping guidelines for your area.

2. Routine pumping can extend the life of your septic system.
The most common reason septic systems go bad is due to neglect. Regular pumping is essential to keep things flushing smoothly and the only way to ensure your system is working properly. A technician can check your pipes and baffles to make sure all components are doing their jobs and make any needed repairs.

3. Regular maintenance can keep your septic tank healthy.
Your septic tank contains a balance of liquids and solids that are broken down by “healthy” bacteria. Over time, antibacterial products and cleaners can disrupt this balance, causing solids to build up. Regular pumping and the use of a septic system additive like Bio-Active can help keep your system healthy and restore the balance of “healthy” bacteria.

If your septic system could use a clean-out or you’re not sure when your tank was last emptied, contact us today. We can look up your address and inform you of your township guidelines. For more about septic maintenance be sure to visit our FAQ page.
By Rachel Kline 10 Jul, 2017
The most common question we receive from homeowners is how often you should have your septic tank pumped.  While you may be hoping for a one size fits all answer, the truth is, it all depends on your tank size and the number of people using the system. There are other factors that can determine your pumping frequency as well - things like the age of your septic system, whether or not you have a garbage disposal, and your average water consumption.

A basic rule of thumb is to have your septic tank emptied every 2-3 years. NEVER go more than 5 years, regardless of your tank size or family makeup. It's also important to think about what kind of things you're flushing on a regular basis... When you have a septic system remember that there's no such thing as a "flushable" wipe! And always buy septic safe toilet paper. For more information on septic tank maintenance and what not to flush, click here .

Most townships require pumping every 2-4 years, so if you live in a township with a pumping ordinance you'll receive a notice in the mail when you're due to be pumped. If not, mark your calendar and use the chart below to determine how often you should have your septic tank emptied. Once we pump your septic tank we'll make a note of our recommendations and we can give you a reminder call when it's time to be pumped again.

If you're not sure of your septic tank size, here's an easy way to make an educated guess - Most septic tanks are based on the number of bedrooms in your home. If your home has 3 bedrooms, you most likely have a 1000 gallon tank; 4-5 bedrooms is typically a 1500 gallon tank. Older homes have smaller septic tanks so if your home was built prior to the 1980's you may need to have your tank emptied more often.

If you're not sure when your septic tank was last pumped, it's a good idea to have it emptied and inspected to prevent a backup and ensure it's functioning properly. After you have your septic tank pumped you won't need to do it again for 2-4 years. Just remember, the two biggest factors that determine your pumping frequency are...

1. How many gallons your septic tank holds
2. How many people are in your household

Use this simple chart to determine how often your tank should be pumped and give us a call to get started! We're happy to inspect your tank and drainfield and make any recommendations to keep things flushing smoothly. 

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