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Plumbing Preparation for the Summer Months

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Most home plumbing systems withstand a heavy workload during the summer months due to more showers, extra laundry and a barbecue or two. All of this water usage can tax the system, especially if you add summer house guests into the mix. Summer plumbing preparation can alleviate this burden with routine maintenance and inspection. This article will show you how a little preparation can prevent the inconvenience associated with unexpected plumbing repairs.

Service the Septic Tank

If you have a home that relies on a private septic tank system, summer plumbing preparation is even more important. The septic tank system is responsible for treating all of the household waste and sewage. If it fails, you may face the difficult prospect of expensive repairs, some of which can turn into thousands of dollars. Annual septic tank maintenance and cleaning is one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining your home’s plumbing system.

Inspect Plumbing

Temperature swings between winter and summer months can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. Fluctuations in temperatures cause your plumbing pipes to contract and expand. This can lead to cracked pipes or minor leaks within the system. A plumbing inspection will identify problems so they can be addressed before causing any major damage.

Service the Water Heater

Don’t forget your water heater during summer plumbing preparation. The water heater should be thoroughly inspected by a licensed plumbing contractor. A typical service call includes flushing the system, adjusting the thermostat, testing the T&P valve and making sure the appliance is operating at peak performance.

Inspect Household Plumbing Fixtures

Check both indoor and outdoor plumbing fixtures for leaks. These include faucets, toilets, bathtubs, sink drains and appliances such as dishwashers, garbage disposals and pool pumps. Ignoring even the smallest of leaks can cost you money in home repairs and other damages. Water damage ruins cabinetry, woodwork, drywall flooring and invites the growth of mold and mildew, a known health hazard. Should the latter occur, you can expect a hefty bill to rid your home of this toxic substance.

Have Your Gutters Cleaned

Remember to have your gutters cleaned. Many people don’t realize that a home’s gutter system is considered part of the plumbing. A gutter system plays a substantial role in protecting your home from water damage. Gutters are designed to channel rainwater away from your home’s foundation. After a long winter, leaves, dirt, roof material and other debris can accumulate inside of the gutter system. When this happens, water is no longer able to flow freely through the system and away from your home. The gutters can also hold water or overflow which can damage roofing, roof structure and facial boards, leading to unnecessary repairs.

For answers to your plumbing questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Septic Tank System: How to Reduce the Stress

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Your septic tank system is a vital component of your home’s plumbing system. Many people, especially in rural parts of the country, depend on private septic systems to handle the solid waste and effluent—grey water—produced by their homes each day. However, many homeowners are unaware of the added stress they can inadvertently cause to their systems. The following post will outline how you can reduce unnecessary stress on your septic tank system.

Think Before You Flush

With a blind eye turned toward the consequences, many folks use their toilet as a garbage can. They may not know the damage they can cause to the delicate ecosystem within their septic tank when they flush inert materials or worse, household chemicals down the drain. The following materials should never be flushed.

  • Diapers
  • Feminine products
  • Chemicals
  • Harsh household cleaners
  • Dental floss
  • Hair
  • Cigarette butts
  • Cosmetics
  • Flammable liquids
  • Cat litter
  • Pet feces
  • Food
  • Medicines

Put simply, aside from bathroom tissue, if it does not come out of your body, it should not be flushed.

Think Before You Rinse

While kitchen garbage disposals provide a convenient way to eliminate unwanted kitchen waste such leftovers and food scraps, septic tank owners should use them sparingly. Too much food introduced into the septic system can lead to increased septic pumping/cleaning necessary to remove the solids. If your tank is not pumped regularly—at minimum every three years—you could face costly septic tank/drainfield repairs in the future.

Conserve Water

You might ask how water can harm a septic tank system. The answer is simple; too much water can stress the microorganism balance within the system. If they become stressed, they can die, which will lead to a total system failure. You can help to prevent this by fixing leaky faucets and toilets, using the dishwasher sparingly and spreading out your laundry duties throughout the week instead of doing it all on one day. This will limit the amount of water, as well as detergents, that enter your system.

Don’t Stress Your Drainfield

Avoid parking cars or heavy machinery on your septic drainfield. Their weight can compact the drainfield soils, thus reducing their ability to absorb the effluent. In addition, you should not install any landscaping over your septic tank and adjoining drainfield. Tree, shrub and plant roots will wreak havoc on your drainfield system by invading/clogging the drainpipes, the surrounding soil and thereby reducing absorption rates.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Spring Septic Tank Maintenance

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Spring is the ideal time to schedule annual septic tank maintenance. The winter months can be harsh on septic systems, thanks to freezing temperatures and the increased burdens from family gatherings over the holidays. As the ice and snow melt and the spring rains set in, it is important to service your septic tank system before the summer months place an even heavier burden or your septic tank. Scheduling your septic tank maintenance now can help you avoid the inconvenience of lost service and unnecessary repairs.

What Is Spring Septic Maintenance?

Your plumbing contractor should perform the following procedures during a septic tank cleaning and inspection:

Change or clean the filters. Septic tanks incorporate a filtration system designed to prevent solid waste from entering your drainfield. Drainfield repair or replacement can be costly due to the labor involved, so protecting it is in your best interest.

Pumping the septic tank to remove sludge and other contaminates helps to prevent damage to your drainfield. While the debate over how often you should pump your septic tank varies, most industry experts agree that on average, your septic tank should be pumped at least every three years.

Perform a thorough inspection of the septic tank and adjoining drainfield. As you septic tank ages, problems can arise such as developing cracks in the septic vault and lids, inadequate drainfield absorption or broken pipes and fittings, all of which play an important role in septic system efficiency and safety.

Money Well Spent

If your septic system fails, not only do you face the added expense of repair and/or replacement but also the inconvenience of lost service. You could be without sewer service for days, weeks or longer. To put it simply, toilets will not flush and sinks will not drain. In addition, maintaining your existing septic system is far cheaper than replacing a drainfield, which can run into thousands of dollars.

Homeowners Can Do Their Part

Understanding the do’s and don’ts of septic tank systems can help you avoid unnecessary repairs.

  • Think before you flush. Your toilet is not a garbage can. Never flush inert objects that can harm your septic tank. These items include hair, cigarette butts, household chemicals and harsh cleaners, feminine products and dental floss. In fact, aside from toilet tissue, if it doesn’t come out of your body, you should not flush it.
  • Avoid rinsing grease, food particles and other kitchen debris down the drains. Not only can these items clog your sewer lines, but also wreak havoc on the microorganisms necessary to breakdown solid waste within the system.
  • Use water sparingly. Too much water can upset the balance of microorganisms within the septic system. Install faucet aerators, spread laundry chores throughout the week and verify that all household toilets are in good working order—not running—to limit the amount of water entering the septic system.

For answers to your plumbing questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Avoid Septic Tank Problems

Friday, December 4th, 2015

With fall here and cold weather on the horizon, now is the ideal time to prevent septic tank problems this fall by having your home’s system inspected and readied. Be proactive and have a plumbing professional perform septic tank maintenance, and you will ensure that the system runs efficiently throughout the cold months.

Septic Tank Inspection

Fall is the ideal time to avoid septic tank problems by having a plumbing professional inspect the system. During inspection, a plumber will check the following:

  • Septic tank cover. The cover of the septic tank, which allows for access, can become buried in the yard. Prior to cold weather, it’s important to ensure that the cover is intact and secure. If the cover is at ground level, the plumbing professional will ensure its integrity and that it doesn’t move when stepped on. To avoid septic tank problems, the plumber will also make certain that there are no cracks in the cover.
  • Electrical and pumps. A plumbing professional will check that the entire system is performing at its optimum, including float switches, alarms and other components.
  • Filters. If the system has an effluent filter system, the plumbing professional will clean or replace it, depending on what is warranted. These filters prevent solids from reaching the treatment area of the system. The baffles will also be tested at this time.
  • Connections. A plumber will make sure that all of the household plumbing, including toilets, sinks, washing machine and dishwasher, are correctly and securely hooked up to the septic system and that all waste is safely being directed to the septic tank.

Measure Scum and Sludge Layers

Preventing septic tank problems also requires that scum and sludge layers are measured in the fall. A plumbing professional will visually inspect and use special tools to determine the extent of the scum and sludge layers. The results of this inspection will determine if the tank requires pumping. If the tank is one-third full, it should also be pumped.

Pump the System

It is often a good idea to have the system pumped in the fall. How often the septic system requires pumping depends on a variety of factors, including the number of people in the home and various uses of the septic system, such as if there is a garbage disposal in use and if the home has high-water-use appliances, like hot tubs.

To have the septic system flushed by a knowledgeable plumbing professional and for answers about the system, contact The Pink Plumber today.

If the House Smells Like Sewage, It’s Always a Bad Sign

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

If your house smells like sewage, you need help—fast. Not only is the smell of sewage horrible, but it’s noxious, too. Sewage is hazardous to your health and can cause health issues if left unchecked. The minute you notice the foul odor, get expert help.

A Septic Tank Gone Awry

When your septic tank is damaged or you’ve failed to maintain the system, you’ll start noticing the smell of sewage inside your home. If you notice the foul odor, it’s usually due to one of these causes:

  • The trap: Your home’s basement drains have traps that should prevent septic tank gases from back-venting into the home. If the trap is drying out or damaged in some way, it will let the gases backdraft.
  • The plumbing vent: On the roof, the vent equalizes pressure created in the drainage pipes when water moves through them. It’s possible for the vents to freeze shut if the temperature drops, or leaves could be clogging the pipes. It’s also possible that the plumbing vent is too small or too short.
  • The ejector pump: If the cover on the sump pump’s basket doesn’t create an effective seal, you may notice sewage odors.

Taking Care of Septic Odors

Most Atlanta homeowners don’t want to deal with finding and fixing a problem when their house smells like sewage, nor should they. It’s best to contact an expert and let the plumber assess the following:

  • The trap, determining if it needs to be filled with water or whether the cleanout access has a loose plug.
  • The safety of the plumbing vent, ensuring that nothing is blocking it.
  • The size and length of the plumbing vent, resolving any issues that are causing the offensive odor.
  • The seal on the ejector sump pump, inspecting the seals and ensuring it doesn’t leak.

The plumber will also conduct a comprehensive assessment of the septic tank to find the problem, looking for compromised toilet seals, leaky plastic pipe, damaged vent pipes, problematic drainfields, blocked sewer pipes, lost traps on plumbing fixtures, and issues related to poor installation or maintenance.

Scheduling seasonal maintenance and promptly repairing the system ensures a healthy home and a reliable septic tank. Don’t leave your family’s health to chance, or risk a costly replacement due to neglecting septic maintenance. We’re happy to help our neighbors with drain cleaning, sewer repair and leak detection.

For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today!

Image source: Flickr