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13

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

If your tank and box are completely filled, your drain field is plugged up and no longer draining properly. It is not in jeopardy, it is done. While it could have been worse, it is still bad. Unless this was caused by a temporary overloading condition, or the main line was simply blocked at one point, you probably will need to build a replacement field soon, ...


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

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 ...


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

Septic System?? If so, the system is FULL of water already and needs to drain out from your drain field. If it is a municipal system, tree roots CAN SWELL TO 40 % or more of their normal size in wet weather, creating a blockage- hence a slower drainage- I'd look into a rooter service if this is the case and if on a Septic System- even pumping the tank will ...


6

I just had a breakthrough in my situation in the last couple of weeks. My leach field was about 95% clogged, very little if any movement. I had already diverted the graywater to another solution, which helped for awhile, but slowly the field failed to the point of essentially total failure. I have a single septic tank and wanted to try aerating it ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


5

Get a bucket of water - About 2 gallons. After dropping the kids in the pool (Thank you BMitch for that euphemism), dump the entire bucket in the bowl. If it flushes ok, then your problem is that there's not enough water in the toilet tank. (Look at adjusting the float level) If it doesn't, the problem is further down the line. Contact the Landlord.


4

Have the tank inspected. They should be able to give you an estimated remaining service life expectancy, based on the age and condition of the tank. This might make the decision easier. Comment converted to an answer


4

You may want to check to see if the sewer line vent pipe(s) that go up through your roof are plugged up. A plugged vent line cap prevent proper sewage water flow in the drain lines. The foul smell in and around the bedroom area could also be caused by a plugged vent pipe that is keeping sewer gasses from dispersing in the proper way.


4

It is recommended that septic tanks be pumped every 3-5 years, having said that it is not always necessary depending on the usage of the tank. You could simply check the sludge level in the tank to see if it requires a pump out. Leaving the tank without checking it is not a good idea as even though it may seem to be working it may be allowing solids/...


4

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 ...


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

Septic tanks are there to catch and digest solids through bacterial action and should never be allowed to fill with solids until they get pushed out into the drain field. The drain field is there to absorb the black-water outflow from the septic tank. Tank full of fluid up to outlet - ok. Tank full of muck and flowing through outlet into drainfield, you've ...


3

I bought a house recently, and one of the toilets kept getting clogged. A plumber showed me the reason this particular toilet backed up. The toilet was one of the first water efficient models to come out, and had a cylindrical dam that reduced the amount of water that flushed. He said most people break the dam and get better water flow, but that as a ...


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

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

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

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 ...


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