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Septic Tank Pumping: 5 Services Pros Should Include

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

More than one-third of the homes in the Southeastern United States rely on septic systems. When they’re installed and used correctly, septic systems are an clean and efficient way to manage waste. Regular pumping is an integral part of maintaining your home’s septic system. How often you need to have your tank pumped depends on several factors, including the size of your tank and the size of your household.

Be sure to hire a trusted plumbing service to perform maintenance on your septic system. Even a task as routine as a regularly scheduled tank pumping can become a serious problem if it’s not done using the proper techniques or tools. Here are five elements that should be included when you hire a plumber for septic tank pumping.

1. A Thorough Evacuation of Your Tank

If you are paying for septic tank pumping service, you should expect the entire tank to be emptied. Septic tanks come in different sizes, so it’s important to read the fine print. Make sure the price you were quoted includes the entire volume of your tank. If your tank is 1,500 gallons and the price only accounts for 1,000 gallons, figure out what the extra charges will be.

2. Excavation

Your septic tank is located underground, so your plumbing company has to dig to access it. Be sure your plumbing company’s pumping fee includes the cost of that digging. Look for offers that cover up to 18 inches, which should be enough to reach most tanks. If your septic system is especially deep, additional charges may apply.

3. Solid Waste Removal

Besides pumping, your plumber has to do additional work to remove accumulated sludge inside your tank. Failing to take these extra steps eventually leads to problems with your septic system. Be clear with your plumber that you want to have your tank thoroughly cleaned out.

4. A Septic Tank Inspection

Another task your plumber should offer with your septic tank pumping service is a thorough inspection of the tank to ensure that everything is in good working order. Detecting issues early can help prevent costly problems in the future.

5. A Licensed and Qualified Professional

When you pay to have any kind of maintenance, repair or inspection performed on your septic system, always contract with a credentialed professional. An experienced plumber will know the safest and most efficient methods for septic tank pumping, as well as have the ability to properly diagnose any issues. A qualified plumbing service will carry insurance against any potential property damage that may occur, so be sure to confirm your plumber is fully insured.

Pumping a septic tank is a job that should always be left to the professionals. If you have questions about your septic system or want to schedule any type of plumbing service, contact The Pink Plumber today.

How to Prepare For Septic Tank Cleaning

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Septic tank cleaning is a job for the professionals, but there’s plenty you can do yourself to save time and money. If you can locate your septic tank for your cleaning contractor, he may reduce his fee. You can also ask him to measure the depth of the tank contents, so you can calculate the best time for the next cleaning session.

How Often Do You Have to Empty a Septic Tank?

Most septic tanks should be cleaned once every three to five years, but some require cleaning more often. Beneficial microorganisms process the waste from your home, and the water is absorbed into a drain field, but eventually the tank fills up and stops working.

A regular septic tank serving an average household is full within three to five years, but alternative septic tanks contain electrical float switches, mechanical components and pumps that require more frequent inspection. If your tank has an alternative system, you should book an inspection once per year.

How to Find Your Septic Tank

Septic tanks are buried underground and can be difficult to locate. Your septic tank cleaning contractor can find your tank’s lid, but most charge for this service. With a little detective work, you can find the lid yourself.

  • Septic tanks are located outside the house foundation where the plumbing leaves the house. If you have a crawl space, you can see where your plumbing emerges underneath your house, or you check on your roof for a plumbing vent. The plumbing leaves the house directly below the vent.
  • Providing your tank isn’t fiberglass or polyethylene and isn’t deeper than two feet, you can use a probe bar to locate the tank.
  • Your local government office might have records of on-site sewage plans for your home.
  • When you find your tank, take a photograph or make a sketch that shows its location, which you can use next time you have it cleaned.

Most modern houses have a two-compartment septic tank. To empty a two-compartment tank, the contractor needs access to both lids.

How to Save Money on Septic Tank Cleaning

Paying a contractor to pump a tank that’s only half full is a waste of money. If you can figure out how often your septic tank fills up, you can schedule your next appointment at the right time. A tank is full when the top of the sludge layer is 12 inches below the exit pipe, or when the bottom of the scum layer is six inches below the bottom of the exit pipe.

  • Before the contractor starts pumping the tank, ask him to measure the depth of sludge and scum.
  • Write down the depths of each layer and when the tank was last cleaned.
  • When you know how long your tank took to reach its current depth, you can calculate roughly when it will be full again.

With some planning, you can help your septic tank cleaning go smoothly.

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.