Hot answers tagged

15

TLDR; As a one-off use, Drano® is fine provided you aren't cleaning your floor or doing a couple loads of whites on the same day. What independent studies say: According to a 2004 paper by Cornell researchers titled "Household Chemicals and your septic system", despite the assertions of the corporations making Drano® and Liquid-Plumr®, these products can ...


8

Take a straw. Suck up some liquid, and put your finger over the top. Notice how the liquid doesn't fall out the bottom of the straw. That's a vacuum lock, and it is one of the reasons why you need to vent your drains. Poorly vented drains don't drain well, and you'll get clicking and bubbling. Your toilet may fail to clear the payload. So regardless ...


8

No, Heck, No! Every single offical source I have ever consulted explicitly states that they should not be used, and do more harm than good. Every bacterium required for the process lives inside you, and populates the tank "naturally." Here is an excerpt from one: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/plumb/top-ten-tips.htm You do not ...


7

It is similar to changing the water on a tank of fish, not quite but the best comparison I think of on the spot. Your septic system works by natural decomposition aided by bacteria, surprising similar to your stomach. Putting that much water into a septic field at once can disrupt decomp process by "shocking" the system or flooding/shaking it and moving the ...


7

This sounds like the backwash on your water softener. It should be set to cycle at 1 am or so when you wouldn't hear it, but the clock could have been reset from a power outage. Normally, it will trickle for 20-30 minutes as it brines the resin bed and then it will backwash the resin bed with clean water for 10 mins or so. This water must all be dumped to ...


6

Yes, you're being paranoid. If it was installed correctly, there really isn't much of anything that will go wrong with it from sitting - most septic problems are from using the system and not maintaining it, leading to material that should have been pumped out getting into the drain field and clogging it. If it's not used, that won't happen. The materials ...


6

First call is to the local building department, to find out what is allowed in your area. Some places let you fill them, others make you remove them. If you have to remove it, you'll have to check if it's empty. If not, you'll have to call somebody out to pump it. Once empty, you'll have to call a bunch of people with shovels, or somebody with a really big ...


6

Use a soil probe. Commonly used item for plumbers and landscapers:


6

Look for a cleanout. That's a pipe sticking up out of the ground with a plug. That might give you a general idea where the tank is or at least what side of the house its on. The tank will usually be a short distance from the cleanout. See if there are plans that were filed with the local government when the house was built. For example, mine are with the ...


6

According to Drano Will Drano® products harm my septic system? No, all Drano® products are septic safe drain cleaners and will not upset the bacterial action in septic systems. Follow the package instructions for the right amount of product to use. Use Drano® Max Build-Up Remover on a monthly basis to replenish the bacteria in the septic system that help ...


5

In what way are you using "safe"? It is not supposed to damage the pipes where some stronger drain cleaners will etch metal pipes. As far as chemicals in the tank it may affect the bacteria until diluted but this is true with even soap and laundry detergent. Over all I would expect infrequent use and that should not damage the system so in that regard I ...


4

The flies could be getting in from the septic tank if one or more P-traps has dried out. If a P-trap that has completely dried you could check it by pushing something flexible down the drain a few feet and see if it is wet when you withdraw it. Unfortunately a P-trap does not need to have completely dried out to in order to lose its effectiveness in ...


4

Putting plastic on top when you cover with dirt will extend the life of the drain. This can be verified by looking at how to design a French drain--if you prevent the dirt from settling in the rock the drain will last much longer. Your gray water drain is a French drain.


4

There are no clear cut rules on how an auger should work. They're designed to "screw" into the clog and either break it up so it flows down the drain or catch the clog so you can pull it out with the auger. Keep trying to remove bits of the litter like you said you have done. Chemical stuff probably won't work since the litter is compressed paper and has ...


4

The bad news: As already noted: you don't have enough pipe left inside the house to cut that clean out off and glue a new one one. The good news: It looks like they ran the 4" pipe through a 6" pipe sleeve, then packed it with (mortar?) to seal it. This means that instead of breaking up the foundation wall to replace the pipe, you "only" ...


4

So much of this depends upon local regulations and soil conditions on your site. If you decided to do a separate septic tank, you'd also need another drain field (in some parts of the country called a leach field). Seems like a lot of expense for a single toilet. Next: Your existing septic system might not be regulated (licensed) for an additional device. ...


3

Don't dump grease down the drain. Discard it in the trash (or use it for further cooking.) Pour out grease/oil into a can for cooling, possible refrigeration and re-use, or to discard in trash. Wipe most remaining grease out of pots and pans on a paper towel and discard it, before washing. Also, go with the recommendations of virtually every public health ...


3

I don't have an explanation why one pipe is used over the other, but in all my days of running jobs, Sch 40 pipe is the only pipe used, no other kind of PVC. Cast iron is code too, but your question was not including that. I only mentioned it because that is the only other accepted material.


3

The usual disclaimer: I'm not an engineer, lawyer, contractor, or septic installer... this advice is worth what you paid for it :) As Ecnerwal says, I'd guess the system itself should be fine. If you have doubts, septic pumping companies often offer a pump out (necessary for inspection) and inspection for a cost perhaps in the $300 to $400 range (highly ...


3

I have the same problem. In my house, the toilet nearest the septic tank (outlet from the house) is the one that fails during extremely wet weather. A simple explaination is this is because the other toilet can empty its contents into the plumbing under the house and has more time to move to the septic. On the one nearest the tank, the pipes leading to ...


3

No, you can't eliminate the pump. The drain field is higher than the septic tank. If you have a mound system (elevated drainfield) or a pressurized sewer system, then the pump has to lift the effluent (outflow from the septic tank) up to the drain field level or pump against the pressure of a pressurized utility system. If you eliminate the pump then ...


3

Based on your rather telling but incomplete information, I have to caution you on your plans. This may have changed, I haven't had septic in 20-years. Not good & not legal, if the field hasn't been unused for 20-years. This must be fully designed, tested, approved & inspected to be proper, legal & last 25 or more years. If a newer field has to ...


3

A septic tanks purpose is to allow the anaerobic bacteria to break the effluent down and also allow the aerobic bacteria to die. This takes time so a septic tanked should be sized based on the inflow to allow a slow enough change over (in days) for this action to happen. Then, in the drain field, the anaerobic bacteria dies off when it meets the soil and ...


3

This is likely off topic on the site. You'd be better off talking to a real estate agent, or the local government. My guess is that they did a Percolation test (perc test), and the results came back as a fail. This means that installing a septic system on the property is going to be a challenge, though they may have accepted alternative solutions in the ...


3

You have the wrong type of drainfield. When there is a high watertable, alternate types of septic systems need to be installed, including: 1) curtain drains around your septic system (if the curtain drain can be discharged in a creek, swale, etc.), or 2) above ground septic system. 1) Remember, most drain fields are not designed to allow water to drain ...


3

Like you I recently bought a house on a septic system that also had some storm water drainage issues, so I'm answering not as an expert, but as someone with recently-acquired insight. How seriously to take the initial inspection.. First, since your initial inspection was performed by a different company than the one handling your yearly pumping, and since ...


3

Not very. Septic drain lines have holes in them anyway, though the new hole is not going to be properly located. You could dig up and repair it if you are going to try and use the system. You can rent a camera to inspect inside the lines and assess the actual damage, or have someone else do that for you.


2

The only problem I could foresee is an over-saturation of the ground, where it will not take on any of the effluent that it is designed to do. If you have been there for 6 months and do not have any signs of problems at the leaching field, there should be no issue. Leaching fields are supposed to be designed for the amount of bath tubs and sinks in the whole ...


2

It has nothing to do with rain water, but rather atmospheric conditions when it rains. Septic tanks rely on anaerobic bacteria to break down waste. Their activity emits foul smelling gases. Normally, these gases work their way up the main drainage line to the venting system and out up through the roof. Normal atmospheric conditions carry away these gases ...


2

Here is the only plausible explanation I can think of. Obviously, there are pipes in the wall, they may not be carrying water, they may be vent pipes transmitting sound. Normally, the main line into the septic tank has its outlet below the waste water level. Now that the tank has been emptied the end is open to a large hollow box. This ends up being a sort ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible