Septic System Winterization: How to Protect the Septic System from the Cold

Many homeowners are familiar with plumbing winterization, yet the same attention isn’t given to the septic system for some reason. Cold temperatures can interfere with how the system functions. Therefore, septic system winterization is important with the cold season in full swing.

Insulate the Drainfield

Insulation is key from keeping the pipes below the drainfield from freezing. Insulation is simple: allow the grass to grow to a height of about six-inches. Another option is to apply biodegradable mulch in the form of leaves, straw, etc.

Stop Dripping Faucets

Be sure all faucets in the home are completely shut. Dripping can cause water to accumulate and freeze in the pipes. Freezing typically occurs at the point where the septic pipe leaves the home. Also, when you use the water, let it warm up. The hot water will defrost some of the frozen water in the pipes.

Frozen water in the septic pipes can cause a backup requiring an immediate septic system inspection. Most often, a septic tank pumping is required, though the frozen water has to be defrosted first.

Maintain Light Traffic

This applies year-round, but try not to put too much weight on the drainfield. This means avoid parking vehicles directly over the field or placing heavy machinery/equipment on it for prolonged periods. Heavy weight and pressure compact the soil, allowing the frost to penetrate more deeply and reach the pipes.

Be Mindful of Recent Septic System Installations

Did you install a septic system within the last year? A new system has a new drainfield still bare of grass. This leaves the system vulnerable to the freezing elements. This is where mulching really becomes important.

Make Septic System Winterization a Priority

If you suspect freezing has already occurred due to a backup, then the next logical step is to call Woodinville Septic Service. Prevention, though, begins with septic system winterization.

Winter Septic System Care

Serving Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Mountlake Terrace, Bellevue, Sammamish, Duvall, Issaquah, Snoqualmie and more

Septic Tank Pumping Schedule: How Often Should You Empty Out the Tank?

septic tank pumping, septic tank scheduleMost homeowners never arrange for a septic pumping until they notice a backup or a soggy drainfield. To avoid the massive inconvenience associated with a clog, you should establish a normal septic tank pumping schedule. The frequency of pumping, though, is dependent on multiple factors.

How Big Is Your Household and Septic System?

The two primary factors are the number of permanent occupants and the size of the tank. Let’s begin with the septic tank size, which can range from 500 to 2,500 gallons. Next is the home size; residences generally have anywhere between one and seven occupants.

Next, let’s explore the extreme ends. If you have seven people in the home and a small 500-gallon tank, then the pumping interval should be about once every four months. At the other extreme, you may have a solo occupant in a home with a massive 2,500-gallon tank. In this scenario, pumping would only be required about once every 22 years. Continue Reading →

How Does a Water Softener Affect a Septic System?

septic water softener, water softenerHardwater isn’t too common in the Woodinville area. Nevertheless, some homeowners have complained of cloudy water. A water softener is the surefire solution. However, some people worry using a water softener might harm the septic tank. Let’s explore how the water softener and septic system interact?

How Does a Water Softener Work?

First, let’s explain the inner workings of a water softener. The system removes the “hardness” in hardwater, which mainly consists of dissolved mineral like calcium and magnesium. It does so through an ion exchange process. Water softeners contain tiny resin beads negatively charged with sodium ions. The negative charge draws the positively charged minerals out of the water.

Water softeners also contain a brine tank that restores the sodium ions’ positive charge. This is where the concern mainly arises.

Does a Water Softener Impact the Septic System?

Does a water softener affect the health of your septic system? This is a frequently asked question among homeowners who have experienced hard water in their tap. Some are concerned that the brine’s heavy salt concentrations can harm the septic tank’s bacterial content.

A study from the Water Quality Research Foundation revealed good news for water softener owners. Research shows that the brine, containing the hardwater’s absorbed mineral deposits, helps the solids from the septic tank settle to the bottom. This helps offset issues that may warrant a septic system inspection.

That’s not all. A separate study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that the softened water actually helps the beneficial bacteria. This promotes the timely breakdown of solids.

We Address all Septic Tank Concerns

Whether you own a water softener or not, remember that septic tanks require a pumping every three to four years. Call Woodinville Septic Service to schedule the next maintenance. The connection between water softeners and septic systems is a positive one, so there’s no need for worry.

Residential Septic System Maintenance

Serving Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Mountlake Terrace, Bellevue, Sammamish, Duvall, Issaquah, Snoqualmie and more

Why a Perc Test Matters for a Septic System Installation

perc text, septic perc test, percolation testYour property may require a septic system installation if the home is not connected to a municipal sewer line. However, the land may not be suitable for accommodating such a system. The only way to find out is via a perc test.

What Is a Perc Test?

Technically known as a percolation test, a perc test examines the rate at which water drains through the soil. The test is quite simple. A small hole is drilled into the soil and water is poured into it to evaluate how quickly the water drains away.

Typically, soil with a high concentration of sand passes the perc test easily. Those with a heavy silt or clay composition are more prone to compaction and, thus, more likely to fail the test.

Why A Perc Test Matters

The soil the septic system is buried under acts as the drain field. When the septic tank breaks down the effluent, it distributes the black water into the soil. The soil and its aggregate act as a filter that traps harmful bacteria before releasing the water into the water table. Continue Reading →

Septic System Installation Preparation: Tips for a Hassle-Free Process

septic installation tips, septic installationA septic system installation on your property is a big undertaking. A huge portion of your property, after all, is going to be exhumed and inaccessible for several days. Follow these septic system installation preparation tips to make the process less of a hassle and headache.

Legalize the Installation

Even though it’s on private property, you may still require a permit. You will need to apply through the local health department and submit installation blueprints. We are familiar with the logistics set forth by most health departments in areas like Woodinville, Redmond, and Kirkland. We can assist you with this step.

Inform Your Neighbors

If you have neighbors living in close proximity, the courteous thing to do is to inform them of the upcoming installation. The process involves heavy machinery, noise pollution, construction-like work, crew members coming in and out, etc. Continue Reading →

Natural Bleach Alternatives for Septic System-Friendly Cleaning

bleach alternativeChlorine bleach can be found in just about every household and for good reason. It has so many uses, especially when it comes to cleaning. However, this substance, in large amounts, can also be bad for your septic system. Instead, use these bleach alternatives so you won’t strain your septic system.

Why Chlorine Bleach Is Bad for Septic Systems

Chlorine bleach kills bacteria, which is why it’s a mainstay remedy for treating infestations like mold. However, it kills ALL forms of bacteria, including the beneficial ones. Too much bleach down the drain can disrupt the good bacteria in the septic system, inhibiting its ability to break down solid waste. This leads to the need for more frequent septic system pumping intervals. Continue Reading →

Why Do I Hear Running Water in the Septic System?

septic system running water, septic water problemYou may be aware that a gurgling noise is a sign of a septic system blockage. However, homeowners may also hear the sound of flowing water. Is this normal? Should you be concerned if you hear running water in the septic system? We explore some of the possible causes.

Leaking Groundwater

If you hear running water, it may indicate that groundwater is leaking into the septic tank. For a system constructed of concrete, a crack in the slab can cause water penetration. If the system is composed of steel, then rust may be the culprit. A septic system inspection will determine the cause of the leak. A big enough of a crack may even necessitate a new septic system installation.

Blocked Drain Field

In a healthy drain field, wastewater exits the septic tank into the drain field. The soil and gravel act as the filter. However, if the drain field contains too many solids or too much effluent buildup, the wastewater will have nowhere to go. The sound of running water is the wastewater flowing back into the tank. Continue Reading →

Common Problems with a Septic Lift Station

septic lift stationSeptic systems are common in homes in rural areas that don’t have direct connections to a municipal sewer line. Many of these systems also have a septic lift station, which may experience difficulties and cause backup problems. How do you know when a septic lift station is having troubles?

What Is a Septic Lift Station?

When installing a septic system, builders usually construct the system on a slightly higher-to-lower slope. That is, the main septic system is above the drain field. This ensures that water and effluent naturally flow downward. However, in some rural areas, the system may be built at an elevation where the drain field is above the system. In the absence of gravity, a septic lift station takes over and shuttles the water from a lower to a higher position on the slope. Continue Reading →

What You Need to Know About Your Septic System and Drinking Water

drinking water, septic system drinking waterMost homeowners don’t realize that a correlation exists between the septic system and drinking water. If you have a septic system on your property, its condition may affect the cleanliness of your water. Learn about the nature of this connection.

Septic System and Drinking Water: What’s the Connection?

A septic system’s job is to dispose of wastewater by filtering it and expelling it into the drain field. The system itself usually has nothing to do with your drinking water supply, at least not directly.

Some homes with a septic system also have a private water well. If the well is positioned closely to the drain field, contaminants from the effluent can get into the well water. This includes a plethora of harmful elements, such as bacteria, harsh chemicals, and heavy metals.

How to Avoid Contamination

You can avoid water contamination by arranging for a septic system inspection. Depending on the size of your home, we recommend a septic pumping every one to three years. Regular pumping removes solid buildup from the septic tank. Those solids contain many contaminants. Some of them could end up in the drain field, eventually leaching into the well water. Continue Reading →

Why Is My Septic System Gurgling?

gurgling septic system, septic gurglingA gurgling noise in your pipes is not a sound you hope to hear. This is a dead giveaway that something is amiss with the plumbing. A gurgling septic system probably indicates a blockage. The system may also have a number of other imminent issues.

Blocked Sewer Pipes

The most likely cause is a blockage between the residential pipes and the septic pipes outside. When this happens, your drains may still function okay on a regular day. However, during heavy water use, such as when you do the laundry, expect the water to backup. The gurgling noise stems from the larger amount of water that’s struggling to flow past the blockage.

Worn Drain Vents

The drain vent shuttles the sewer gas out of the pipes. This component may also make gurgling noises. This may especially be the case if you hear gurgling noises immediately after flushing the toilet. Of course, a gurgling toilet may also indicate a partial clog within the house pipes and not the septic pipes. In any case, a septic system inspection will definitely confirm a damaged drain vent. Continue Reading →