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Posts Tagged ‘Food scraps’

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.

Common Garbage Disposal Problems

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

A garbage disposal is an appliance many homeowners use on a daily basis. This handy device is used to grind and dispose of unwanted food scraps via the sink drain. Sometimes, garbage disposal problems arise with the disposal that can impede its efficiency or render the unit inoperable. While some of these problems result from operator error, other issues can be mechanical in origin.

Disposal Does not Turn On

You flip the switch and the unit does not activate or make a peep. This could result from many circumstances. The most common causes would be a tripped circuit breaker, a tripped reset button located on the bottom of the disposal or a loose wire. Worst-case scenario is the disposal motor has given out. Unfortunately, if the motor goes, you will need to have the disposal replaced.

Disposal is Jammed

Aside from not working, it is easy to tell if your disposal is jammed. You’ll flip the switch and hear the unit humming, but not rotating and/or grinding the food scraps. In addition, if you leave the switch on too long, it will trip the reset button on the bottom of the unit. Most garbage disposals include a handy, offset wrench used to rotate the motor manually when a jam occurs.

Disposal Leaks

A leaking garbage disposal problem can cause significant damage to kitchen cabinets and flooring. Often, the leak is associated with the units plumbing connections. The pipes that connect the disposal to the drain or sewer line and the gasket between the disposal and sink drain are two common areas prone to leaks. A leak coming from the body of the disposal is a bad sign as it means replacing the garbage disposal with a new unit.

Disposal is Loud

Disposals make some noise during operation but if yours is louder than usual, it could be related to a couple of things. First, bones, glass and metal objects do not belong inside a garbage disposal. They can cause a hair-raising racket when the unit is activated. Other reasons that can cause your disposal to generate more noise than you are accustomed are worn bearings, loose mounting screws, broken flyweights or worn blades.

Disposal is Clogged

A clogged disposal presents a difficult situation. The unit is full of rotting food scraps and your sink fails to drain. Certain food items — vegetable peelings, grease, raw meat, rice, pasta and potato peelings — can quickly clog a garbage disposal, rendering it useless.

If your garbage disposal problems are related to any of the aforementioned symptoms, schedule an appointment with your local plumbing contractor.

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

Image source: Flickr

Common Septic Tank Mistakes

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Many homeowners make common septic tank mistakes and damage their systems without even realizing the harmful effects of their actions. Since a septic system represents a sizable expense, proper care and maintenance are required to help you protect your investment. A neglected septic system can fail, exposing you and your home to the inconveniences of a non-working sewage system. If this occurs, not only do you risk damaging your septic system, which leads to costly repairs, but also exposes your home to the possibility of additional water damage from sewage backups.

Put Litter in its Place

One of the worst and most common septic tank mistakes a homeowner can make is using their toilet as a garbage can. Aside from toilet paper, the fact is if it does not come out of your body, it should never be flushed.

Abusing the Garbage Disposal

Speaking of garbage, your kitchen disposal is a major contributor to septic tank abuse. Food scraps, grease, fats and other kitchen by-products are detrimental to your septic system. It is not recommended installing garbage disposals in homes using a septic system. A simple remedy is to place these unwanted items in the trash.

Chemicals and Cleaners

Excessive use of harsh, household cleaners such as bleach and ammonia can harm or kill off the bacterial balance in your septic system necessary to break down the solids that enter the tank. If the waste-eating organisms die, total septic failure is sure to follow.

Protect Your Septic Area

Since your septic system — tank and drain field — take up a considerable amount of space in your yard, it is understandable that many homeowners try to utilize this area. Some use the area for additional parking while others have planted trees and shrubbery directly in the drain field. Fact is, cars and machinery are heavy and compact the soil in the drain field, which reduces absorption. The roots from trees and shrubbery will invade the drain field eventually clogging the lines and rendering them useless.

Neglecting the System

All of the aforementioned scenarios are harmful to your septic tank system, but none more so than failing to pump your tank periodically. Industry recommendations suggest you should hire a plumbing contractor to pump your septic tank system at least once every three years. The process is vital to remove the sludge buildup, which if not removed, will eventually enter and contaminate the absorption field, rendering both its drain lines and the gravel and soil beneath them useless and lead to costly repairs.

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

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Does It Matter If I Use Hot or Cold Water With My Disposal?

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

You rely on your disposal daily. Grinding up carrot peels from meal prep or food scraps from cleaning up after dinner. No matter how often you use the device, garbage disposal care goes a long way toward keeping it in good condition. Even though it’s out of sight, your disposal needs occasional help to keep the blades sharp, minimize odors and ensure the equipment lasts.

Along with occasionally tossing a few lemons down the drain to reduce odor and keep it fresh, there’s one key tip you need to know when using the disposal — and it has to do with using hot or cold water. Yes, running the disposal the right way means knowing whether to turn on the cold or hot water tap.

Going About Disposal Care the Wrong Way

There is a right way and a wrong way to operate the disposal. Let’s take a closer look at what would happen if you used hot water with the disposal.

We think of hot water as having a cleansing ability. At very hot temperatures, water can help to clean the area and maybe even get rid of germs. But in the case of garbage disposal care, hot water is its arch enemy. That’s because hot water liquifies any grease or fat that you intentionally — or inadvertently — put down the drain. You may think, ‘Great! I’m getting rid of grease without the hassle of handling it.’ But that’s not actually the case. This action actually creates a sigificant problem. Further down the drain, and once you stop running the hot water, the grease and fat will harden. Eventually, this hardened grease will create a clog and you’ll be dealing with a lot more than just messy grease.

The Right Way to Care for Your Disposal

When you run the garbage disposal, the simple act of using cold water helps you care for the device in the right way. The force of the cold water is enough to facilitate the proper grinding action for all of the foods you put down the drain. In addition, it will chop up hardened grease and fat, preventing it from moving further down the drain and generating a clog.

With this one disposal care tip, you can ensure that the garbage disposal serves you well, and for a long time. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Yearly Septic Tank Maintenance: What You and the Pros Should Be Doing

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Nothing can replace yearly septic tank maintenance performed by a professional. However, just because you faithfully bring a plumber in to assess and maintain the septic system doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Homeowners should also engage in septic tank maintenance that helps the system run well. While you shouldn’t attempt to pump out the tank, inspect the sludge levels or ascertain the aerobic capabilities of the drainfield – all tasks that the pro will do – here’s what you can do.

  • Conserve water. Perhaps the single, most important maintenance tasks homeowners can do, conserving the amount of water your household uses means the septic system will function better. For example, install water-saving devices like faucet aerators, showerheads or toilets. Don’t let faucets or toilets leak. Never flush the toilet or run water unless you need to, and run full loads when washing dishes or clothes.
  • Don’t put bleach down the drains. It can destroy the delicate biological balance required in the tank to break down solids and waste.
  • Be careful of what you put down the drains while preparing food. Fat, grease and food scraps are hard on the septic system.
  • Avoid using a garbage disposal. Food scraps – even food that’s ground up – put undue stress on the septic tank. Keep a strainer over the drain to prevent food from going down the drain, and use the garbage to dispose of it instead.
  • Don’t dispose of harsh chemicals in the drains, which eventually make their way into the septic tank and disrupt the waste process. Acid-based cleaners, paint thinners and other chemicals should be disposed of elsewhere.
  • Choose your household cleaners and products wisely. The best products to use are biodegradable, which are gentle on the septic tank system.
  • Make sure your home’s drainage system is diverted away from the septic tank.
  • Surrounding trees should be planted far away from the tank, and existing ones removed if they’re too close, because tree roots can interfere with the tank and drainfield.
  • Never let heavy equipment near the tank, nor should you drive over the tank or install a patio or heavy construction project over it. The pressure of the equipment or concrete will cause the tank to shift and disrupt the breakdown of waste.

To schedule yearly septic tank maintenance, get in touch with a local expert today. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today. We’re happy to help you with septic tank maintenance or any other pluming need.

Image Source: Flickr

Reduce septic tank maintenance by not flushing harmful items

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Septic tank maintenance is a common occurrence for homes using one of these systems for their sewage disposal.

Avoid excessive maintenance and costly repairs by knowing what to avoid flushing into the septic tank. Most people realize that flushing things like feminine products and soiled diapers into a septic tank is not a good idea. However, other products and everyday items that are not as obvious can also harm your septic system.

Chemicals Products

Chemicals should never be introduced to your septic system. Cleaning products are the main component of this list. Common cleaners such as ammonia, glass cleaner, bleach, disinfectant etc. should not enter the system. All of these products and products like them can destroy the natural balance of bacteria in a septic system; bacteria that is needed to breakdown and consume the solids entering the tank. If the bacteria is killed off, it is more likely that your septic system will experience a failure.

Septic Tank Additives

There are plenty of septic tank additives on the market claiming to be beneficial to your septic system. These products promise a future of carefree septic tank maintenance for many years to come. It is best to avoid these products unless a plumbing professional recommends them. They can upset the balance of friendly bacteria and cause total system failure in the future.

Poisonous Products

Paint, weed killer, antifreeze, paint thinner, solvents and other toxic chemicals should never be flushed down the toilet. These materials should be disposed of responsibly and according to your local waste management office. Aside from wreaking havoc on your septic system, they can also damage the surrounding environment.

One Flush Disposal

Although it provides an easy and convenient way to dispose of undesirable products and materials, the toilet should not be used as a garbage disposal. Hair, feminine hygiene products, diapers, razor blades, condoms, pet litter and pet waste can all damage your septic system.


It is a myth that flushing scraps of leftover food, vegetables and grease are beneficial to your septic system. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Food scraps actually increase the amount of solids in the tank and are slow to breakdown once they are introduced. Cooking oil, grease and fats can also damage your system requiring premature cleaning and pumping.

Knowing what not to flush into your septic system is a great start to eliminating costly repairs and reducing periodic septic tank maintenance. Understanding how it all works will help you to properly maintain and care for your septic system.

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

Image: Flickr