What is the Difference Between Hard and Soft Drain Blockages?
A blocked drain can be more than an inconvenience – it can cause damage and if black water (sewage) is involved even health problems. Sometimes you can deal with drain blockages by using a drain cleaner, sometimes nothing seems to shift it and all you can do is call a plumber.
Hard or Soft Drain
Part of the issue depends on whether you are dealing with a hard or soft blockage. A hard blockage is when some kind of debris – rock, a child’s or dog’s toy, etc – finds its way into the drain line. A soft blockage has built up over time and is often made up of hair, grease, soap scum, lime or similar. Needless to say, drain cleaner will not help with a hard blockage.
How to Prevent a Blocked Drain
Preventing blockages is better than dealing with them. For example, you should never pour grease down the drain – instead, save it in an old coffee can. Avoid throwing coffee grounds down the drain too – they make a good addition to mulch or can be sprinkled around your vegetables to deter slugs. A filter on shower drains can reduce hair build up. And, of course, never flush paper towels, diapers or sanitary products.
Cleaning Drain Blockages
Hard drain blockages are most often found in landscape drains, storm drains, garage drains, or swimming pool drainage systems, but can also show up in drains from walk-in showers where debris can be walked in or dropped into the drain. If you have a landscape or storm drain inlet on your property, then you should regularly remove the grill and clean out any debris that has gathered. Note that drain cleaners will not work with debris or dirt accumulation. Sweep fallen leaves away from the drain as quickly as possible.
If you have a drain blockage that is not responding to drain cleaners or other such home remedies, then call a professional drain cleaning service such as Kline Services – they can fix the problem quickly with their equipment and expertise.
Poorly Structured Lines Ruined Washing Machine and Flooding Basement
That expensive washing machine sitting in your basement is likely to be the first piece of equipment to feel the pains a structural issue in your septic line will create. As water is unable to escape the basement due to the improper structuring of the line leading to clogs or flow problems, it flows back into your house, possibly causing serious electrical damage to your machine. A fried washing machine isn’t cheap to replace, and the electrical and fire hazards it poses is dangerous to you and your family’s safety.
What To Look For
Catching a structural issue or clogged septic line doesn’t have to be this dramatic or expensive, though. Take notice of small pools of water on your basement floor, or puddles in your front lawn, and recognize that they are symptoms of a structural issue or clogged drain line. Otherwise, something like our above-listed scenario might happen. Save yourself potentially thousand of dollars and tons of stress.
What To Do
When you see these things, don’t hesitate to call us at Kline’s Services. We offer a simple diagnostic solution, where our professionals will run a camera through the line, seeing any presenting issues in real-time. From there, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will consult with you about how best to handle the problem affordably before you ever have to deal with the catastrophe awaiting an opportune time to strike. As with most any septic or sewer issue, preventative maintenance is a painless and proactive way to assure that no nasty flooding or back-ups become part of your day. If you’re seeing any of these issues, get in touch with us and we’ll ease the worry from your mind.
Preventative Maintenance for Septic Systems
The humble septic tank is the waste water workhorse of many homes across the country. Homes that are not serviced by public sewers must have a way to dispose of waste water and septic tanks do just that. Wastewater septic systems consist of a tank and leach-field. The tank separates the solids from the wastewater and houses the bacteria that decompose the solid waste. The leach-field, also known as a drain-field, is where all the wastewater drains to.
A well taken care of system will last for years and cost very little. On the other hand, poorly maintained tanks will cause pollution, property damage, and health concerns. Follow these simple steps for septic preventative maintenance.
An ounce of prevention will spare a month of headaches. Kline’s recommends a 3 step maintenance plan for keeping your septic system running smoothly.
The 3 step preventative maintenance plan:
- Regular system pumping every one to two years removes the sludge that collects over time.
- Bacterial additives such as CCLS add high levels of beneficial bacteria to the tank to break down solid waste.
- Installing a filter will prevent large particles from settling in the leaching area.
Another part of septic preventative maintenance is avoiding things that harm the system. According to Public Health and Social Services, using too much water and pouring chemicals into the system are habits to avoid. Using too much water at once will flood the tank and prevent solid wastes from separating efficiently. Pouring the old drain cleaners and other toxic products down the toilet is a bad idea as well. These chemicals will destroy the beneficial bacteria that break down solid waste.
Septic systems are delicate systems that require maintenance and care. Having the tank pumped, adding beneficial bacteria, and installing a filter are important steps in maintaining a septic system for years to come.
Things to Keep Away from Your Leach Field
August has arrived which means it’s time to get ready to plan your fall landscaping. Much thought and effort can be put into the plants and decor around your home, but have you thought about the landscaping around your septic tank? Your on-site sewage system doesn’t have to hinder your ability to have a beautiful yard. Just remember to steer clear of these things when planting around your septic system.
Trees, Bushes and Other Larger Plants
The only plant we recommend having near your septic tank and leach field is grass. Roots of trees, bushes, and gardens can grow right through your pipes causing considerable damage. Although we are masters at repairing root damage, I’m sure you’d rather spend your money on something other than pipe maintenance.
You don’t want to put anything heavy over your septic tank and leach field either. Structures like decks, sheds, patios and even cars need to be placed on areas away from your septic system. The weight can cause the ground to collapse eventually breaking the pipes or tank below it.
Consider a Riser
Since your septic tank is underground, it is easy to forget where it is. We recommend installing a riser to bring the cover of your tank to the surface of the ground. This way, it is always visible and easier to access. When planning for flowers and gardening, you’ll now be able to clearly see the area that is off limits.
Keep your septic system running efficiently for many years to come by applying regular preventative maintenance and putting advice like today’s into practice. For more information about landscaping or maintenance services, Contact Kline’s Today or Request Service Now.
Back to School! Learn About Septic Maintenance with Wind River University
It’s that time of year again when kids head back to school and get ready to learn. It’s a good time to brush up on our septic education as well. Here are some tips from our very own Wind River University.
- Get Regular Service
This is really not optional. Over time, sludge and other solid wastes build up in your septic tank and must be pumped out. Depending on your household and water consumption, the average is every 1-3 years.
- Use Bacterial Additives
Your septic system relies on bacteria to break down waste and keep effluent flowing efficiently through the tank and leach Various factors can kill this good bacteria, so it’s good to replenish it with an additive.
- Install and Clean Your Filter
A great way to prevent clogs is to install a septic filter, which catches solid waste before it can enter your leach field. When it’s time for your regular pump service, the technician should clean the filter during the same appointment.
- Flush Only Septic Safe Products
A lot of products claim to be septic safe, like feminine products and even some brands of toilet paper. However, the only thing that you should really be flushing is human waste and 1-ply toilet paper.
- Keep Plants Away From the Leach Field
The only thing you should plant near your leach field is grass. The roots of trees, bushes, vegetable and even weeds can penetrate your drain lines and damage your septic system.
- Don’t Use a Garbage Disposal
Leftovers belong in the trash and shouldn’t be washed down the drain. Food particles do not break down properly and tend to cause clogs.
- Spread Out Water Use
Using large amounts of water in short periods time can put a lot of stress on your septic system. Tasks such as laundry should be spread throughout the week. You should also wait until you have full loads to wash in your dishwasher and washing machine.
- Avoid Powder and Antibacterial Cleaners
Replace powder detergents with liquid brands. The liquid disintegrates much faster and is easier for the septic tank to handle. Toxic cleaning products are also harmful to the natural workings of your septic system because they kill the good bacteria required to break down wastes. Use organic cleaning products instead.
I know it can be sad to say goodbye to summer vacation, but as we get back into the school spirit, it’s a good time to also refresh your septic knowledge. In addition to these tips, we suggest finding a reliable service provider like Kline’s Services to maintain your septic system. We have decades of experience and use the latest technology to keep your wastewater facilities running smoothly while delivering fast and dependable service. To learn more, Contact Us or Request Service Now.
How Do Garbage Disposals Affect Your Septic System?
The garbage disposal is such a convenient tool when it’s time to clean up after dinner. Leftovers are simply washed down the drain and magically disappear. What a concept! Unfortunately, this convenience can be very costly if you own a septic system. New septic owners are often unaware of their garbage disposal’s effect on their wastewater system. After all, the garbage disposal grinds up everything making it safe, right? Not exactly.
Here’s What Happens
The garbage disposal does indeed chop up food into smaller pieces, but these particles will not break down in the septic tank. Unlike human waste, food scraps just build up in your tank and eventually flow out into your leach field. Once this happens, you start to develop clogs in your leach field, and this is a more difficult problem to solve.
What You Can Do
Instead of treating your garbage disposal like a trash compactor, throw your food scraps and other solid items in the trash. Consider feeding food scraps to your pet, and remember this rule: Items your pets cannot eat like grease, paper towels, cigarettes, coffee grounds, and paints do not belong in the garbage disposal either.
You might also ask a septic professional about installing a filter. This can be placed on the outlet line of your septic tank to block larger solids like food and garbage. That way, if someone accidentally puts a hazardous item down the drain, it will be caught before flowing into the leach field.
Can’t Live Without Your Garbage Disposal?
There are folks out there who do manage to use their garbage disposals in conjunction with their septic systems, but they have to have their tank pumped more often. Since you are allowing more solid waste into your septic tank, the sludge will build up faster. Allow one of our educated technicians to evaluate your system and household habits to determine the right maintenance plan for you. To learn more or to set up a service appointment, Contact Us today.
Don’t Put Those BBQ Scraps Down the Disposal!
No one wants to deal with plumbing and wastewater emergencies, especially when they are trying to enjoy their summer vacation. Hopefully you didn’t experience any problems on the 4th, but now that the festivities are over, what are you going to do with all that leftover barbecue? Cleaning up the kitchen and refrigerator can do a number on your plumbing, so remember these things when it’s time to dispose of the holiday remnants.
Don’t Use the Garbage Disposal – Leftover food goes in the trash, not down your drain. The garbage disposal may seem like a quick and easy way to make leftover burgers and hotdogs disappear, but they will reappear into a plumbing disaster. The truth is, the garbage disposal does not break down food particles, and they end up clogging your drains.
Don’t Wash FOG Down Drains – Just like food, FOG (fats, oils and grease) should be collected and tossed in the trash. As FOG cools, it hardens and sticks to your drain lines like glue. Eventually, water flow is blocked and you’re stuck with a big mess.
Use a Strainer – This is a simple one. As you’re cleaning dishes, place a strainer over the drain to prevent food and trash from going down the drain. The more solids you can stop from entering your drain lines, the better your septic system will perform.
Don’t Use Chemicals – Perhaps you have tried Drano, Liquid Plumr or a similar product to clear your drains. Unfortunately, these can make things worse by eating away at your pipes. Also, if you apply these incorrectly, they can harden and clog your drains even worse. Try a natural solution like baking soda and vinegar to break up stubborn clogs.
Practice Preventative Maintenance – In addition to the above, make sure you are actively engaged in a preventative maintenance program that includes pumping your septic tank. Depending on your household habits and water use, you should pump your tank every 1-2 years. Other preventative measures like installing a septic filter, applying bacterial additives, and utilizing professional drain cleaning services can also ensure a trouble-free holiday season…well, at least when it comes to your wastewater facilities. We can’t do much about Uncle Joe’s mid-life crisis, but at least your family can use the kitchen and bathrooms without issues.
To learn more about drain and septic care, Contact Kline’s.
How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?
If you’ve got a basement or crawl space, you may have an ejector or sump pump down there keeping the area dry. These pumps do an important job and prevent flood damage from ruining your home or business. You wouldn’t want one of these babies to die in the middle of a big storm, so make sure you maintain them just as you would your other wastewater equipment.
This next statement doesn’t narrow things down much, but here goes… The lifespan of your sump pump could be 3 years or 30 years. It really depends on the quality and brand, as well as what it is being used to pump. Some are used to pump grease or caustic liquids which tends to affect longevity. Regardless, you want to maximize the efficiency of your pumps by having them inspected on a regular basis. The guys at Kline’s are certified and have tons of experience with these pumps, and they recommend an annual inspection. It’s probably been awhile since you even thought about the pump down there in the dark basement, but don’t wait for the next storm to remind you. Contact Us, and schedule your ejector pump or sump pump inspection today!
How Long Do Hot Water Heaters Last?
Have you thought about your hot water heater lately? Probably not since it works silently and unnoticed on a daily basis. We usually pay it no attention until our showers turn cold, right? Well, as we get into the summer months, perhaps it’s time to check on that water heater.
The first thing to consider is the age of your heater. On average, tank and electric heaters will last 8 to 10 years, while gas heaters last 6 to 8 years. If your water heater has reached this age point, start looking at replacing it. If you wait, leaks and water damage could result.
With proper maintenance, it’s possible to double the life of a water heater, but you just never know. Even a well-maintained unit may need to be replaced after just a few years. Some clues to look for include rust, corrosion, popping sounds, leaks, and lack of hot water. If you’re experiencing any of these, call a professional to determine whether you need a replacement or repairs. The experts at Kline’s can perform water heater repairs safely and perform inspections to see how much more life is left in them. They can also perform routine maintenance like flushing your heater to prevent damage and extend its lifespan. Don’t get left with cold water. Contact Kline’s to handle all your hot water heater needs.
What NOT to Flush Down the Toilet
Completely replacing a septic tank costs tens of thousands of dollars, and the time and labor is quite a hassle. Plus, if you’re running a business, it’s pretty tacky to have bathroom facilities with an out-of-order sign on the door. Customers like clean and operable facilities while shopping, and so do the employees working there. The best way to ensure fully-functioning toilets is by employing a healthy maintenance regimen. Part of this includes proper toilet habits and knowing what you can flush.
The Bad List
Here is a list of common items we find in septic tanks and wastewater that you should not be flushing down the commode.
- Chemicals – Products like disinfectants, photographic chemicals, gasoline, thinners, paints, pesticides, and varnishes will counteract the septic process and poison ground water.
2. Cigarettes – These contain toxins that can contaminate ground water.
3. Cleaning products (bleach, disinfectants) – When choosing cleaning products, you want to use environmentally-friendly brands that won’t kill the good bacteria in your septic tank. They should be liquid, biodegradable detergents with no phosphates.
4. Coffee grounds – These are not biodegradable.
5. Cotton swabs/balls – The fibers bunch together and cause clogs.
6. Feminine hygiene products – Packaging for some of these products often says they’re safe for flushing, but we have found otherwise when it comes to septic.
7. FOG – Fats, oils, and grease will harden and stick to your pipes causing clogs.
8. Food – It’s better to feed your scraps to an animal or throw in the trash. Garbage disposals are also discouraged when you have a septic tank.
9. Garbage – Garbage is for the garbage, not your wastewater system.
10. Kitty Litter – Even though it may claim to be flushable, it will not break down.Not only is the septic system unable to break down these products but the chemical make-up of certain soaps, pills, and pesticides will actually kill the bacteria found in the septic tank. Without the bacteria to break down organic waste, the septic tank is useless.
An easy rule to remember is that human waste and 1-ply toilet paper are really the only flushable items.
Don’t Get Flush-terated
If you own a business, it’s a bit harder to monitor and control what gets flushed, so you might consider posting signs in the bathrooms. You’ll also want to engage in regular preventative maintenance that involves pump service and inspections. Since you can’t oversee all the activity that happens in the bathroom stalls, at least do what you can to prevent clogs and backups. We’re here to help, so Contact Us!