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The risks of using a drain unblocker

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Sink, tub and shower clogs are a nuisance. Let’s be honest: If you have a clogged drain, your first inclination is to reach for a drain unblocker. And why not? Advertisers herald the fast-acting, neat and tidy work of drain cleaners. What you may not know about drain unblockers, and what should cause you to carefully consider a better option, is that they’re dangerous to your Alpharetta plumbing and septic systems.

Most drain cleaners contain a harmful substance called sodium hydroxide, a soda component that’s highly caustic. As a result, they’re corrosive to plumbing pipes and can cause significant damage if they come into contact with your body.

Hazardous to your health

Drain cleaners are not only harmful to your plumbing and septic systems, but they are also hazardous to humans if ingested, or if they come into contact with skin or eyes. If you store drain cleaners in your home, make sure they are not accessible to children. Store them away on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet. If someone in your household is exposed to a drain cleaner, call the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or 911.

The fumes from a drain unblocker alone are hazardous. Opening a can of drain cleaner without sufficient ventilation and inhaling the fumes could lead to respiratory tract damage, compromise lung tissues and, in the worst cases, cause pneumonia.

Hazardous to your plumbing

Plumbing pipes are also prone to damage from these caustic cleaners. Here’s what happens: The chemical reaction in the cleaners generates heat, which helps clear out the debris in the clog but will also eat away at pipes made of metal (often used in older homes) or soften the durability of softer pipes, such as PVC.

Why risk your health and plumbing system to the potential dangers of drain cleaners? The next time you need to unclog a drain, contact a professional who will use safe alternatives to hazardous cleaners, such as a powerful snake or hydro jetting. The experts at RooterPLUS! are happy to help Alpharetta residents with these types of issues.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Septic maintenance: Keeping your system in prime working condition

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The septic system is a major component of your house’s operating system. When the system fails, fixing it is an expensive proposition. Fortunately, your system can last for many years without fail if you follow a proper septic maintenance routine.

Septic maintenance is a simple process. It primarily consists of following a set of rules closely, and you don’t have to do anything to physically maintain it. It is really a case of “doing a little to save a lot.”

  • Never throw foreign objects into your sewage system. Sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, cigarette butts, paper towels and other objects of that nature have no place in your septic system. They clog the tank and drain field, ultimately resulting in expensive repairs.
  • Have the tank pumped periodically. Generally speaking, a septic system serving a family of four should be pumped every three years or so. When you introduce appliances such as a garbage disposal or even a hot tub, the pumping frequency may have to increase. Leaking faucets can require that the tank be pumped more often, as well.
  • Never dump paint, oil, mineral spirits or anything else of that nature into your drains. Naturally occurring bacteria within the septic system help to break down the solids. When you introduce those types of liquids, it kills the bacteria and may end up causing total system failure. Cleaning chemicals like chlorine bleach can kill the bacteria, too.
  • This is not a DIY project. When your septic system requires service, hire only qualified, licensed professionals to perform the work. These folks know what they are doing and what it takes to prevent damage to your septic system.
  • Avoid planting trees and shrubs above the location of your septic system. Anything that has deep roots can invade the septic system and cause clogging or other damages to the tank and leach field, which may result in expensive repairs.

When the entire household follows a few simple rules, septic maintenance becomes a breeze. Your system will operate problem-free for many years to come, costing you little more than an occasional pumping fee.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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DIY septic system: Leave it to the professionals

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Your septic system is one of the most important structures in your house. If it’s not operating properly, it can result in backflow into your home. This is not only disgusting, it’s a serious health hazard, as well.

Installing a septic system is a job best left to the professionals. It needs to be installed properly, and it’s not something that you want to have to revisit or pay for a second time — two strong possibilities with a DIY septic system.

While you can do plenty of searches on the Internet and find any number of sites willing to tell you how to install a septic system, the truth of the matter is that it is not as simple as websites might make it out to be. It’s easy for someone with little experience to think the job is not particularly difficult; in reality, it’s just the opposite. Looking beyond the fact that the installation must meet specific requirements and building codes, there are other things you need to think about, too.

If the septic system installation is not done right, the waste probably will back up into your house. From there, the costs start mounting, because now you not only have to pay someone to come out to reinstall the septic system, properly, you’re also going to have a great deal of time — and probably money — involved in cleaning up the inside of the house from the backups that occur due to an improper DIY septic installation. Looking beyond the cost and disgust of cleaning up a septic backup from inside the house, consider your water source.

If you have a well on your property, an improperly installed DIY septic system can destroy your water supply. You then might have to have a new well drilled — that is, if the contamination hasn’t affected your entire water table.

Do not put your property at risk. Hire the professionals required to get the job done right the first time. Save your time, health, money, property and water on a job that you just shouldn’t do yourself.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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When to Have Septic Pump Service

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Your septic tank is an enclosed sewage system that services your home only. Normal, properly maintained septic systems should only require pump service every 3 to 5 years.

The system consists of a tank, PVC pipe, sand and gravel. The tank may be made out of a variety of materials, including concrete or plastic. Sewage leaves your home and goes into the underground holding tank.

The tank has a baffle in it that keeps solids on one side and allows fluid to flow to the other side. From there, the fluid leaves the tank and enters the drain field through a pipe called a French drain. This pipe has holes in it that allows the liquid to flow into the gravel bed. The liquid then gets filtered by the land in a process called percolation.

As you and your family go about your daily business, you generally will not have to worry about your septic system, as long as you follow some simple rules. These rules include:

  1. Never flush anything other than septic-safe toilet paper into the system. This means no paper towels, tampons, sanitary napkins, diapers (even if they are labeled as flushable) or anything else.
  2. Never dump old oil, mineral spirits, paint, paint remover, or paint thinner into the drain system. The tank has natural bacteria in it that helps break down the solids. These materials can kill that bacteria and the septic system will fail.

If you ever have any doubt about whether something can be flushed, just throw it in the garbage. It’s much cheaper to do that than to clog the system and have to have a pump service to come and empty the tank. The worst possible thing is for your septic system to back up into the house. If it ever reaches that point, you may have more serious problems than just having to hire a pump service.

There are some signs that your tank needs service.

  1. There may be a lot of moisture around the tank cap when there hasn’t been any rain.
  2. You smell sewage.
  3. The toilet backs up or overflows for no obvious reason.
  4. Sometimes you can hear drains gurgling when they normally don’t.

A septic service handles waste water from residential and business buildings. They make use of tank trucks with pumps designed to remove the waste from your septic tank relatively fast. Most companies can provide emergency service for an extra charge. “Emergency service” can even take place during business hours if service is needed right away. So take proper care of your septic system and schedule a pump date. You’ll save money as well as keep your system in good shape.

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