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drain cleaners

Drain Cleaners Can Hurt Your Septic System

drain cleanersDrain cleaners can be an easy choice when your kitchen or bathroom drain becomes clogged, but they are not a great choice for the health of your septic system.  Septic systems rely on natural bacteria  to treat wastewater.   The harsh chemicals found in drain cleaners can kill the beneficial bacteria needed by your septic system to process wastewater.

Chemical drain cleaners are one of the most dangerous of all the cleaning products on the market to human health.  Most contain very corrosive ingredients such as sulfuric acid, lye, and bleach that can burn your eyes and skin.  They can be fatal if ingested and these cleaning products are required by law to carry a warning label listing their harsh ingredients.   Care must be taken to keep these out of the reach of children.

Even very low amounts of a drain cleaner used in a septic system results in significant decreases in concentrations of Coliform bacteria and a decrease in PH when higher concentrations are used.  It could take up to 48 hours for bacteria population to recover to original levels.

What is a solution to your clogged drains?  The best remedy is to prevent drains from being clogged by having good catch basins in all the drains of the home.  Purchasing inexpensive plastic or metal screens for the drains can keep many wastes from going down the drain including hair and food products.   Food scraps as well as oils  and grease should never be allowed down the drain.

Most clogs occur about 6 inches below the drain opening in the trap.   Taking apart and cleaning this area can remove the clog.  Plungers can also be helpful in removing a clogged drain.   If that doesn’t work, a snake or auger can be put down the drain to remove the blockage.   Clean-out ports can be removes to help access the clog.  If no luck, it’s always best to call a professional who has the equipment and expertise to get the job done.

If you feel you must use a chemical drain cleaner, look for an enzyme-based cleaner.  They are less harsh on your system.  You can also try a homemade recipe:  Pour 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup baking soda down the clogged drain.  Then pour 6 cups of boiling water after it.   Let it sit overnight and then flush with hot water.

Septic Preservation Services can help you with any of your septic system questions.  Call 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

septic emergencies

Preventing Septic Emergencies

summer-still-life-783347_640Summertime is here and many times means summer guests, especially if you live along the shores of Southcoast Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Whether you a planning on hosting a party, having guests stay over or if you are just having a quiet evening at home, a septic system emergency can ruin your summer plans. The best thing you can do is prepare now and work to prevent septic emergencies before they even happen. If you have a septic system you are already aware of the do’s and don’ts of on-site wastewater responsibilities. This list of eight preventative measures will help you to take your maintenance and care knowledge to the next level, ensuring that you won’t have to pay for expensive septic emergencies in the coming winter months.

#1 – Get an Inspection Before It Gets Cold
One of the most important things you can do is to contact your septic system service and request an annual inspection before the ground freezes and cold weather sets in for the season. Septic repairs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island will be much more expensive if your technician has to dig down under the snow and into solid ground. However, if you do have a septic emergency, All-Clear Septic & Wastewater works all year-round in any type of weather – rain, snow or freezing cold. You can count on All-Clear to keep your septic system working effectively and efficiently all year long.

#2 – Sign Up for Routine Pumping
As part of a good preventative maintenance program, routine pumping should also be scheduled to ensure that your septic system is properly maintained throughout the year. By scheduling your routine pumping just prior to the late fall and winter season, before it gets so cold that the ground freezes, you can ensure that your septic system will be running at its best throughout the holiday and winter seasons. Ask your All-Clear Septic & Wastewater representative about signing up for a preventative maintenance program that includes regular inspections, check-ups and routine pumping.

#3 – Reduce Your Water Usage
When you know you are expecting a lot of guests, make sure to reduce your water usage in advance of their arrival. Take showers the day before and bathe your children before they arrive. Taking shorter showers helps, but make sure to talk with your guests about limiting water use. Do laundry and dishes a few days ahead of time to reduce the amount of water usage that will occur when the guests are at your home. Better planning will reduce the amount of problems you will have with your septic system during the summer months.

#4 – Talk About Flushing
It may be difficult, but it is important to speak with your guests about the things that they flush down your toilets and drains. Routine pumping can make sure that your system is ready to handle accidents or a single-instance flushing, but the more you can educate your guests about the importance of using the trash can instead of the toilet for diapers, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts and other potentially hazardous items. This will help prevent those items from getting into your tank and it will also prevent a blockage and potential backup from occurring.

#5 – Prepare Your Food Ahead of Time
If there is any prep work that you need to do for a big summertime meal or party, try to do it ahead of time as well. Cut veggies up that need to be washed ahead of time and store them in your refrigerator drawers in plastic zip bags. Wash and marinate the chicken and get it ready to go on the grill.   Not only will this space out your water usage before your guests get there, but it will also give you more time to spend with them when they arrive. Believe it or not, it’s the little things you do that add up to making a big difference in preventing costly  septic repairs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

#6 – Don’t Use the Garbage Disposal
Even if your house came with a garbage disposal already installed, you should avoid using it at all costs. All that extra waste into your septic system can wreck havoc, especially during the busy days with your summer guests.  Consider blocking the switch for the garbage disposal so you – and especially your guests – won’t be tempted to use it. Keep a small composting can on your counter – they have some very nice-looking decorative options at home improvement stores. You can put all of your vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and other items that should not go down your drain into the bin. Your guests will see you doing this and will follow suit.

#7 – Consider Using Disposable Dishes and Silverware
If you are having a lot of guests over for a dinner party or even just for cocktails and appetizers, consider using disposable dishes and silverware to reduce the amount of rinsing and washing you’ll have to do later. It’s better to have an over-loaded trash can for one week of garbage collection than to pay a lot of money for septic repairs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

#8 – Sign Up for a Preventative Maintenance Program
The best way to avoid costly septic repairs as a result of failure due to neglect or misuse is to sign up for a preventative maintenance program. Working with a licensed, certified professional septic system repair and inspection company can help you with routine pumping and help you to be prepared for an onslaught of guests during the hot summer months. Aside from being much more cost-effective, a preventative maintenance program gives you the peace of mind that your septic system is being properly taken care of and that a professional is on top of the situation.

Summer is already here.   Contact All-Clear Septic & Wastewater to sign up for a routine pumping and ask about their preventative maintenance program. The better prepared you are during the summer, the less money you’ll have to pay for septic repairs in Massachusetts during the winter months when the ground is frozen and your yard is piled high with snow. All-Clear is available for septic inspection, maintenance and repair during every season and can help you keep your septic system running effectively and efficiently all year long.

You can reach us at 508-763-4431 or visit www.allclearseptic.com for more information.

cleaning products

Cleaning Products Safe for Septic Systems

cleaning productsOne of the most important ingredients in your septic tank system is the microorganisms that live in the tank. These naturally-occurring microorganisms work to break down waste solids and process the sludge and wastewater in your system. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals and cleaning agents used in our everyday lives are harmful to the microorganisms. Homeowners that have a septic system, should refrain from using dangerous products that could potentially make their way into the septic tank and kill off these helpful microorganisms. Here are some tips that will help you to choose the best possible products for your home that are also safe for septic systems.

Chemical Cleaners 101
Part of septic tank care is knowing what you can put down the drain, and what you can’t. Septic systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are vulnerable to failure caused by user error. The best way to stay on top of your septic system and ensure that it is working effectively and efficiently to process and remove waste is to get a preventative maintenance program from your local septic system service provider. A professional, experience technician can help to keep your system running in tip top shape and give you advice on proper septic tank care.

To determine whether or not a cleaning product is dangerous to your septic system, read the label. Many cleaning products are required to use the words “dangerous” or “poisonous” on their labeling to advise consumers of the danger associated with using or misusing the product. The word “warning” on a label indicates a moderate level of hazard associated with the product and the word “caution” is dangerous to an even lesser degree.

Your best bet is to choose cleaning products that say “septic friendly,” but they can be hard to find. Choose products that contain active ingredients that are bio-based or natural, as opposed to chemical-based cleaners. For example, citrus, vegetable, pine oils and seed-based cleaners are a better choice than chemical options. Don’t trust advertising claims that call products “green” or even “environmentally certified,” as many of those claims are exaggerated and have nothing to do with being safe for septic use.

Disinfectants 101
Another product that people who have septic systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island need to be aware of is disinfectant. While these products are extremely helpful in reducing exposure to germs, bacteria, viruses and other potentially hazardous and infectious microorganisms, they will also kill the helpful microorganisms inside your septic tank.

Limit the use of disinfectants to surfaces, such as counter tops, trash cans and tables, rather than in sinks or toilets, areas that could cause these products to make their way into your septic system. Natural fruit or vegetable based all-purpose cleaners should be used in these vulnerable areas.

Homemade Solutions
There are a lot of homemade solutions that can be used to clean your home instead of chemical-based products. In addition to being beneficial to septic tank care and being safe for septic systems, these homemade solutions go a long way toward reducing the amount of chemical exposure to your family. Even families without septic systems are turning to these tried and true homemade solutions and are moving away from chemical-based cleaners.

  • Vinegar is a very effective cleaner for most household surfaces. It can be used to remove stains from tile or porcelain, eliminate hard water stains from shower doors and is an excellent choice for cleaning a smelly dishwasher or washing machine. It is the best choice for cleaning a toilet bowl. Just pour two cups of vinegar into the bowl and allow it to sit overnight. Scrub with a brush and flush.
  • Lemon juice is a natural wonder, due to its acidic qualities. It is also a natural disinfectant and will leave your home smelling fresh and clean. It can be used to clean counter tops, toilet bowls, sinks and kitchen appliances. Add two cups of lemon juice to a bucket of hot water and scrub. It can also be used in the toilet similar to the vinegar solution for an alternative cleaning option.
  • Baking soda works to both clean and deodorize your home naturally. It is safe for septic systems and is one of the best cleaners to use for those who are concerned about septic tank care. Just sprinkle baking soda onto counter tops, in sinks, onto the toilet bowl or anywhere else that needs cleaning. Scrub with a sponge or brush and wipe or rinse away with water.

Preventative Maintenance Program
Once you learn how to read the labels and how to avoid using potentially damaging chemicals in your home, the best thing to do for septic systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island is to join a preventative maintenance program with a trusted, professional septic system service company. All Clear Septic & Wastewater has been serving customers throughout the Southcoast region since 1995 and is licensed and insured to provide residential and commercial services in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In addition to a comprehensive preventative maintenance program, All Clear Septic & Wastewater also offers Massachusetts Title V inspections, Rhode Island town inspections, confidential septic evaluations, trouble shooting services, remedial repairs and septic rejuvenation. Homeowners with septic systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island can trust the knowledge and experience of the technicians at All Clear Septic & Wastewater. Call All Clear at 508-763-4431 for pricing, information or to set up an appointment for an inspection of your residential or commercial property.  Visit www.allclearseptic.com for more information.