Why Do Septic Tanks Smell When It Rains?

With septic systems can come septic problems. From the risk of a back up to curbing certain smells, maintaining a healthy septic system takes some work. Some people recognize a foul smell as one of the first signs of septic problems, but your nose doesn’t always know. Your septic system can emit a less-than-fresh odor simply because of a change in weather. However, there are some components to your system that could be failing, which allows the smell to be more potent.

Change in Atmosphere

When it rains, the air becomes heavy and doesn’t allow for proper release of methane gases through your vent. As a result, the gases stay low to the ground with the atmospheric pressure, which results in a foul smell. If you have a loose toilet gas ring somewhere in your home, the added pressure from the rain can push these gases through into the house resulting in a bad smell. Even the tiniest hole can allow methane gases to leak.

Rain Saturation

Another thing that happens when it rains is the ground becomes saturated, which, in turn, impacts your drain field. A saturated drain field can create signs of septic problems as well. Heavy rains result in a rise of the liquid level in your septic tank, which increases backpressure on gases in the tank. These gases have nowhere to go but into the drain, vent, and waste system in your home.

rain saturation

How to Stop the Smell

The easiest thing to do in preventing septic smells like this is to frequently run water through your drains. Typically, houses with more than one bathroom suffer from septic smells more often when it rains because one of the bathrooms is used less often. By running water in all your sinks, showers, toilets, and drains every couple of months, you can prevent this kind of issue.

Should you experience any signs of septic problems, call us right away. Dealing with the issue early is key in making sure your home is back to normal in no time.

Emergency Septic Pumping in the Winter

Septic Emergencies in the Winter

If you live in an area that experiences frigid winters and you have a septic system, there are problems that can arise during those colder months. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to avoid issues like emergency septic pumping due to a backup during the winter. Following a preparation plan in the fall can help you curb any potential problems, but being proactive even when the temperature has dropped can make a difference, too.

Ways to Avoid Winter Septic Issues

You might’ve not had the chance to do any prep during the fall, but when next year rolls around, here are some steps you can take to get ready for winter:

  • Add new mulch near systems that do not have adequate grass cover. This will keep snow melt from saturating the ground and causing flooding resulting in the need for emergency septic pumping. Mulch will also add insulation to your system so that underground pipes won’t freeze.
  • Before the temps drop, make sure your system is thoroughly inspected, and if needed, repaired. Leaks can prove particularly damaging when winter hits. Also, make sure all pieces are insulated properly.
  • Natural Insulation. Never use anti-freeze or chemicals in your septic system to avoid a freeze. If you insulate your system properly, either with grass cover, mulch, or even wild flowers, you won’t need to use anything else that could become potentially hazardous or damaging. Chemicals can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your system and make a small problem much bigger.

Help for Septic Systems During the Winter

If you didn’t get a chance to prep, you can still take steps to avoid disasters during the winter. The main thing is to make sure parts of your system don’t freeze and cause a back up resulting in the need for emergency septic pumping.

  • Know where your septic tank and drain field are and make sure to keep snow plows off them. Plows could damage the ground which, in turn, can damage your septic system.
  • Hot Water. When the temperatures drop below freezing for an extended period, be sure to frequently flush your system with hot water. You can do this by planning your laundry, dishwasher cycles, and hot showers so that your system gets a dose of warm water frequently throughout the day and evening.
  • Don’t Drip. Keeping faucets dripping may help you avoid frozen pipes in the house, but doing this for your septic system will cause more harm than good. A gradual stream of water can overload a septic system which will actually cause pipes near the exit to your home to freeze.

If you do find yourself in need emergency septic pumping, or any septic service, contact us right away! We’re here to help and get you back to normal.

Can Too Much Rain Cause Signs of Septic Problems?

There are a number of things that can cause issues with your septic system. The key to getting ahead of any issue is to look for signs of septic problems. One thing that, if caught quickly, can be mitigated is too much rain causing a septic problem on your property. Heavy rains can cause a slew of catastrophic issues and your septic system is not spared from this act of nature.

If your area is expected to get heavy rains, there are some steps you can take to avoid septic system issues:

  • Limit water use during the rain
  • Only flush safe materials
  • Don’t work on the system during flooding conditions
  • Don’t park or drive over your tank
  • Use biodegradable cleaners
  • Be mindful of root damage
  • Regularly inspect and pump your septic tank

Even if you’ve been diligent in your preparation, rain can still cause problems for your septic system. The basic issue is that heavy rains saturate the ground and can cause your septic tank to flood. Septic tanks have three components: inlet pipe, tank, and drain field. In your septic tank, solid waste settles to the bottom and decomposes. Lighter solids and grease rise to the top and create a “scum” while the liquid waste flows into the soil and is purified by microbes. When heavy rains saturate the soil around your septic tank, the drain field becomes clogged which fills the tank with liquid.

heavy rain soaks the ground and can result in septic problems

Signs of Septic Problems

Signs of Septic ProblemsAside from preparing, you need to know the signs of septic problems when heavy rains hit. So, what should you look for? Unfortunately, a flooded septic tank exhibits the same symptoms of a standard clogged pipe or a tank that may need routine maintenance. When your tank is flooded, the drains and pipes in your home may begin to back up and fail to drain properly. The best thing to do is if your area has been experiencing heavy rains, you need to contact a professional to evaluate the situation. Repairing a flooded septic tank is different than routine maintenance and a professional knows the difference.

If you’re experiencing signs of septic problems, or just have a question, contact us today!

 

What to Expect for Septic Maintenance

Maintenance

Many homeowners have on-lot septic system instead of a standard public sewer system in Pike County area, including Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania and Buskill, Pennsylvania. You can find homes or properties with septic systems in many different parts of the United States: in the mountains, by the shore, in the country and other locations. In this part of Pennsylvania, the Septic Systems are typically turkey mounds (also referred to as elevated sand mounds). How you utilize your system and how well you keep up on maintenance will help to determine the life of your septic system.

Maintenance is the backbone of a septic system and tank: without it, you can damage your system and reduce its lifespan by years. Ultimately the costs of replacing a whole system far outweigh the costs of yearly or bi-yearly maintenance, and can increase the life and reliability of your system. A septic tank is almost like a living organism; in fact, the bacteria within it is utilized to break down waste products. So if you are willing and able to take care of it, you will be able to prolong its life and in prime working condition.

So what exactly should one expect when first dealing with a septic tank? For those who are completely unfamiliar with septic tanks and septic systems, it is a system that breaks down solid wastes and directs treated liquids. You have pipes that exit your home like any other home: pipes running from the shower drain, the toilet and the sinks. The waste water and solid wastes enters into a septic tank, which usually is designed to hold around 1,000 gallons or more.

Within a healthy tank, there are 3 layers:

  • The top layer is bio mat which breaks down the solids
  • A middle layer of “clear water” that leaves the tank
  • A sludge layer at the bottom which is generally solid wastes generated by the bio mat

New water enters the tank and pushes our or displaces the older water, which then flows out of the tank into the drain field. Within the drain field, the water is slowly absorbed, but that also may depend on how much clay is contained within the dirt. The bio mat is where all the action happens. This top layer is a living organism, that is why it is so important to not use harsh chemicals.

So ultimately, when we talk about maintenance, we need to check out several areas:

  • Checking sludge levels to ensure they are not getting too high within the tank
  • Looking for liquid waste that may be appearing on the surface of the ground
  • Ensuring that baffles are intact and functioning properly
  • Inspecting the tank lid for cracks
  • Pumping your septic tank, which is recommended every 2 to 5 years depending on your usage
  • Learning about what you can and cannot flush down the toilet, which can include disposable wipes, certain types of cleaning solutions and much more.

Having your septic tank and system inspected yearly is highly recommended, and may even require inspections twice a year if you have a larger family and see a lot of use through your system.   Maintaining good awareness of the do’s and do not’s as taught to you by your local septic service company can really help you in the long run and provide you with a level of comfort knowing that your system will continually run smoothly as long as you take the time to invest in it.

 

 

 

Homeowners Guide to Septic Tanks

Septic

As a homeowner, one of the most important aspects is to make sure that you keep up with the maintenance in your home.  If you rented property or apartments your whole life, and this is your first time owning a house, then you might be in for a bit of a surprise. All the small details were likely managed by your landlord previously, such as taking care of your lawn, fixing any issues with your plumbing, minor annoyances such as squeaky doors or chipping paint, and so on.  So to become a homeowner means to be prepared for nearly any situation that may arise.

This is even more important when your home relies on a septic tank system for water usage and waste, such as the shower, the toilet and your sinks. A septic system requires that you know how to effectively unclog a drain, diagnose septic problems and understand the overall care for this type of system. Even if you cannot perform most of this maintenance on your own, it would be a great idea to learn how exactly the system works, what types of problems to diagnose and to know when to let a professional septic tank company deal with problems with your septic tank.

To start with, let’s try and understand how exactly the septic system works: when you have waste water or waste that flows out from your house, it goes through pipes and flows into the septic tank. There are two baffles within the tank that deflects waste downward. The inlet baffle deflects waste downward insuring that it does not go directly across the tank. The outlet baffles also performs a couple of objectives. This keeps anything floating, such as the biomat, from going out directly into the field or pump tank, and it allows only “clean water” to leave the septic tank. Also there should be a gas deflector at bottom of the outlet baffle to deflect gas particles containing sludge. The remaining liquid waste exits the end of the tank, where it is usually flowing out into the leach field. This is generally the traditional process for waste product flowing throughout your septic tank.

The septic tank itself is built with the ability to access it, usually from above. This allows the homeowner or septic tank professional be able to inspect the inside of the tank, and perform routine maintenance. This type of maintenance is critical to ensuring that your septic tank is functioning properly. If there are any issues such as sludge building up in the tank, or a loose pipe somewhere, you could end up running into issue such as having foul smells within your home, inability to flush your toilet and having backups into parts of your home.

A tank should be pumped when sludge buildup measure 1/3 or more of the liquid depth, and/or if the sludge level is higher than the gas deflector. Either of these will lead to a problem and it would be a good time to get a septic cleaning. Septic tank systems should be tested once every two years. It is recommended to test more often too, especially if you live in a household with a large amount of people that requires the use of resources on a greater scale, which in turn puts more strain on the septic tank system.

Some common ways to take the best possible care of your system is to:

  • Make sure that you pump your tank frequently, usually bi-annually or annually. Again, it depends on how much you use your system.
  • Make sure that you use only safe chemicals that are suitable for septic systems. Certain household chemicals that travel through your pipes can often be detrimental to the bacteria within your septic tank system.
  • Avoid flushing items such as disposable wipes down your toilet, as they will most likely build up and clog your pipes and system.
  • Try to be economical when it comes to using your water system – don’t shower multiple times a day and try to conserve your usage as much as possible to avoid overstressing the septic tank.
  • Keep an eye on things for anything unusual. Also make sure to check your leach fields for areas of grass that are robust or growing faster than anywhere else on the mound. Make sure that the water isn’t standing there or squishy, and that it is generally in good shape.

Homeowners shouldn’t truly be expected to know all the ins and outs of how to diagnose and fix septic tank problems, which is why it’s super important to have access to a reliable and trustworthy septic repair company that knows what it’s doing.

Septic Medic has the years of expertise when it comes to serving septic tank issues and problems within Pike County; we are the number one resource for emergency issues that can arise, so contact us for everything from routine maintenance to emergency issues such as having a pipe break or the system backing up.  Septic systems are extremely durable when you take good care of them, and can last well for years and years; with the right amount of attention, and with our help, you will be in the best hands possible.

 

Leach Field Repair

Leach Field RepairSeptic tanks serve a purpose that is not always apparent to those who live in highly populated or densely populated areas. Neighborhoods and homes that are located in these areas often have the benefits of sewer systems that are able to flush away and eliminate any waste water. But what about homes that are in less populated regions, or don’t live in a part of a town or city that offers a sewer line connection to their home or property? This is where septic tanks come into play; a homeowner with a septic tank, however, needs to be aware of some septic problems that may crop up, especially if regular maintenance and check-ups are not performed.

A septic tank system is generally designed to drain into a leach field. The maintenance and upkeep of the septic tank, as well as what you put down your drain, impacts the overall health of a septic system and leach field. When you eventually run into an issue with the leach field, there can be a number of issues. Some of the symptoms that will let you know a leach field are failing are:

  • Strong odors emanating from either the septic tank or the drain field region
  • Reluctance for water to flush normally, as well as noises coming from different pipes throughout the home
  • Standing water or wet spots located in and around the leach field
  • The toilet, shower or sinks backing up with water

Now while these are the symptoms, we still need to discuss what could actually be causing the leach field problem in the first place:

  • Bio-mat building and sludge build up
  • Lack of consistent septic tank cleanings
  • Broken drainfield pipes or soil that has compacted too much
  • Overuse of the septic system
  • Roots of trees that can get into the important elements of the septic system

So how is a leach field problem then fixed? There is no “quick-fix” unfortunately, but the good news is that by process of elimination and with the help of a septic repair company that has years of industry knowledge, it can be diagnosed with ease. One of the first methods one can employ is actually prevention: preventing this from happening in the first place by getting septic tank draining on a regular basis, having your system checked at least once a year by a professional and determining your needs based on your system usage. A next step is to check if there is a clog in the system somewhere, either in the drainpipe that leads to the field, or something further up the line that could be causing the system to become overloaded.

Sometimes it requires a new trench system to replace the current one so that it drains better and more efficiently, or you may even need a septic tank replacement. Other times, you will find that it is a quick and simple fix. Ultimately, it depends on the nature of your particular septic tank setup and how your lawn is set up.

Septic Medic will diagnose septic drain field problems and perform leach field repairs quickly and efficiently.

Contact Septic Medic to discuss installation, maintenance, repair and replacement services for your septic tank system. 

Specific for servicing the Bushkill Falls, PA area

Bushkill PA Septic ServicesLiving in the Bushkill Falls region of Pennsylvania definitely has its perks. It has been called the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”, and the region includes some of the most beautiful waterfalls, rivers and streams you can find in the area. Located in the region of the Poconos Mountains, the actual park was founded and open to the public in the year 1904. The actual Falls are still owned by the original family, which is a great thing to experience in our modern society. It is a deeply wooded region, and most individuals who live here tend to require the usage of septic tanks.

However, as beautiful as this region is in Bushkill Falls, it does not come without its share of septic problems. As with any heavily wooded region, there are some elements that you need to be able to watch out for, especially when it comes to keeping your septic system in top shape. 

Here are some of the more important aspects to consider:

Regular Maintenance

As with any septic tank system, it is important to make sure that your system is consistently inspected and kept up to date. This includes regularly having a septic repair company perform yearly inspections to make sure everything is functioning properly and identifying any potential issues early on, as well as performing tank draining and cleanings.

Leach Fields

The leach field is essentially where the runoff from the tank is purified and eliminated, but sometimes this area can become backed up, especially in a region such as Bushkill Falls.  Excess water can cause draining issues, and it’s also important to make sure that you aren’t overusing your system as well.

Trees

Yes, Bushkill Falls is a heavily-wooded region of the Poconos, and you need to be aware of any trees that could encroach on or near your septic system. Large trees can unfortunately be a risk when it comes to their roots, which can push under and through the soil, causing breaking or bending of the pipes that come out of your home. It can also impact the actual septic tank as well, so be sure to consult with your septic tank professional on the dangers of the trees on your property, as well as determining which ones may need to either be moved or at least addressed.

Altogether, the Bushkill Falls region is a wonderful place to live, and with the right and proper septic tank repair and maintenance, you will be able to enjoy a trouble-free existence on your property. Make sure to invest in regular inspections of your system, and you will do just fine!

How to Diagnose a Clogged Septic System

DrainMillions of Americans rely on septic tanks each and every year in order to help eliminate harmful biohazard products and wastewater that flow from the usage in their homes.  While these systems are genuinely trouble-free as long as they are taken care of in a responsible manner, there may be times when an individual may experience a clog within their septic system.  What should you do in order to unclog a drain or septic system? Not many individuals are familiar with how to troubleshoot a septic system, especially when they are unsure where the clog is taking place. Let’s take a look at a few common ways to address this particular issue.

One of the first steps to take is to determine if you actually have any damage to your system as a whole. A professional septic tank repairman can scope out the tank with a special camera in order to determine if there is any issues. While more often than not, the issue will be due to waste or material that has accumulated over time, it is a good idea to be able to check out the system as a whole first.

Another step to take is to ascertain that there has been no draining or dumping of harmful chemicals or products that could have either clogged or disabled the functions of a septic system. In many instances individuals with a septic tank installed will often not realize or not remember that they cannot treat their system the same way you would as with a public sewer system. Items such as “flushable wipes” more often than not are not meant to work with septic tank systems, and have difficulty breaking down in addition to potentially clogging up pipes or the tank itself. Over a period of time, they could build up until there is a large mass of nearly-intact wipes that have never dissolved and you’ll have to have your septic system pumped out.

Using certain chemicals to clean your drain pipes in your toilet or sink and shower can also become problematic unless you have checked that they are safe for use with septic systems. The more serious chemicals can actually break down the good bacteria in your septic tank, leading to further issues and problems down the line.

So once these issues are accounted for, you can move on to the next step, which is to check the plumbing within the building or home. This would mean checking the various fixtures throughout the home, on the ground floor and any upper floors. There could be an issue somewhere else that is wreaking havoc and ultimately creating this issue.

Checking outside the home can be another helpful way to determine the root of the problem. For instance, check outside for any trees with large roots that could be pushing or creating pressure on underground pipes. In addition, check the leach field to see if there is standing water that is unable to drain. This could be an issue at the last end of the septic system process, and it is an important one.  Septic problems can come in all shapes and sizes, which is why it is doubly important to invest in the services of a professional who knows how to deal with problems with septic tanks.

Quality and service are Septic Medic’s top priorities. We will quickly and efficiently troubleshoot and diagnose clogged septic tank systems and leach field problems.

Contact Septic Medic for maintenance, pumping and repair services for your septic tank system. 

Let’s Talk about Turkey Mound Septic Repair

One of the more difficult aspects of owning a septic tank system is that it is not always simple to diagnose or spot an issue on your own. The majority of septic problems tend to occur below the surface, and without the proper tools and know-how, you could end up wasting a lot of time and still end up with no answers.

So what exactly can you do when it comes to an emergency that requires septic tank service? Let’s take a look at one of the more common alternatives to septic drain fields in the region: the turkey mound. The turkey mound, an elevated sand mound, is a better choice for individuals who cannot risk a traditional drain or leach field due to either higher water tables in the region, or soils of differing extremes, such as too permeable or not permeable enough.

The elevated sand mounds are built up from the septic tank and dosing chamber at various depths; and these depths are then determined by the particular layers of the soil and may change based on an individual’s particular property. The dosing chamber is what releases the effluent into the mound, and this is done in doses, not all at once. In this manner, it helps to distribute waste efficiently.

However, as in the case with every septic tank or system design, there may come a time where you end up with a clogged drain, or experience septic mound system problems. What do you do then and how can you diagnose the problem? For example, what if the elevated sand mound is unable to hold water? This is usually caused by heavy rains, which can back up the entire system. At other times, the sand mound can become clogged with sludge or grease. In this particular instance, the portion of the mound that has been clogged needs to be removed and the sand scarified.  The sand mound then will need to be replaced to the original levels.

This requires the expertise of a knowledgeable septic service; Septic Medic is here to meet all of your elevated sand mound needs in this region of Pennsylvania. Whether you’re running a mound system or a traditional septic tank setup, emergency situations can happen at any time – we are here to provide instantaneous service, so contact us the moment you discover a problem with your septic tank system!

Keep Your Septic Tank Healthy with Regular Maintenance!

Utilizing a septic system for your day-to-day activities is something that hundreds of thousands of home and property owners face on a regular basis. Septic systems offer a great and reasonable method for those who are unable to connect to a public sewer system, or for those who are too far removed from public utilities for it to be considered reasonable. 

That being said, a septic system still requires consistent maintenance to keep it working in top condition. There are some differences that set it apart from traditional public sewer systems, which can mean a bit of a learning curve if one is purchasing a home that relies on a septic tank. Everyone should learn what maintenance is required to keep your tank healthy and trouble free, as this will help you avoid any serious issues down the road!

For instance, consider what happens when you don’t change your oil at the recommended mileage for your personal vehicle; failing to perform routine maintenance can often cause further issues down the line, and this ultimately means spending more money.  The same concept should be applied to your septic tank system: a healthy and happy septic tank likely means years free of serious issues!

Scheduling regular cleaning and staying up to date on maintenance of the system also means you will help do your part for the environment.  At times, septic system backups can mean human waste products spreading into the immediate region, and sometimes even spreading into local water sources. Ultimately, not taking care of your system can lead to a mess!

Here are some steps you can take to make sure that your system is working at full capacity year-round:

Get an Annual Inspection

A local septic cleaning company can perform all the necessary due-diligence that goes into a running a tank to a home.  This includes measuring the layers of scum and sludge that has built up, as well as checking how absorbent the drain field is.

Only Flush Certain Items