Posts Tagged ‘pump’

Septic alarm and what it means

Friday, May 30th, 2014

This is a working model of a basic septic systems pump and alarm for a pressure drainfield, sand filter, or sand mound.  Geogrpahically, these two yellow float switches are located in the tanks with the wastewater.  The light signifies the pump.  When I raise the lower float switch, you must imagine my hand as wastewater.  This is what will trigger the pump to turn on.  The light comes on.  When the lower float is lowered, the light goes off.
Now if something goes wrong with the pump the water levels will reach higher than normal.  When the upper yellow float is raised, it sounds the alarm.  When the water level goes down, the alarm will silence itself.

Now if the alarm is randomly going off, and appearing to reset itself, is an indicator that a pump is starting to go bad or a component is starting to plug up.  I have seen people think that the alarm is malfunctioning and unplug it.  And later cause themselves a very expensive bill.

I hope this demonstration helps those looking at the problem.  And as always, if you have any questions, please email or call me.

ronnie@firstcallseptic.com

360-686-0505

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

Septic Tank Additives

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Sometime last week we experienced an emergency call about a septic system only being 3 years old and needing pumped already.  They have used Rid-X septic tank additives religiously over the past three years. And they thought they didn’t have to pump the septic tank if they used their product.

Here is the cut and paste from their website.  It’s also on the package of Rid-X they were using.

“Q: If I use RID-X®, will I still have to have my septic tank pumped?

A: Yes, the average recommended time between septic tank pumpings is 2-3 years, depending on the rate of sediment build-up, family size, and other factors. Used regularly, RID-X® helps break down the solid waste in your septic tank.This may slow the accumulation of solid waste in the tank.”

And here’s the link to their page.

http://www.rid-x.com/faq.shtml

Rid-X has never said use their product and never pump the septic tank again?  Which is so confusing to me.  I don’t know where/how these things get started.  Even Rid-X know’s you will need to pump your septic tank every 3-5 years depending on use.

Below was the septic system that had used Rid-X every month.  And it backed up in 3 years.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmR5xX-lHYQ

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

Neglected Septic Pump Screens

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Here is a video of what happens when these screens are not cleaned annually.  And there is no “septic technician” in a bottle.  There’s no magical chemical that you flush that can clean this screen.  It needs to be completely disassembled and cleaned.  There’s no other way around it.

The consequences of not performing this maintenance, will be a pump that is starved and eventually burns up.  And these are not cheap pumps at all.  They start out at about $400 to replace and on up.  And I really mean that.  On up.

Enjoy the video and thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

httpv://youtu.be/LPdzpiIBMmQ

 

 

Warning signs septic tank needs cleaned or pumped

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Good morning. This week I have a great project. I will try to document and take all kinds of pictures. It is a septic system that has just started to back up. It’s in the plumbing of the house, but hasn’t backed up into the showers yet. For those of you who don’t have “alarms” and sophisticated septic systems there are warning signs to not ignore.
1. toilets are flushing really weird. Not normal at all. A huge sign the septic is starting to back up.
2. Funny gurgling sounds in the pipes as you drain a sink. Another huge sign the septic is starting to back up.
There are two things going on. The pipes are not draining into the septic tank as designed and are flooded.
Now remember. These pipes under your house are not designed to have waste water sit in them. It’s a weight issue. They are designed to carry your waste water to the tank. And remain empty. This plumbing can get really heavy under all this weight and break under the crawl space of your home and cause your septic tank to back up in your crawl space. Which is extremely difficult to remove and expensive.

Do not wait for this to happen. Keep the septic tank clean. It’s the easiest and the least expensive solution.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

Septic Tank Enzymes

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Done paying taxes, time to head out the door. Fun filled day.

I guess a septic tank is blowing up in Yacolt. He started to back up in the house. So he took the lid off the septic tank, and sewage is “mushrooming” out of the septic tank and blowing up all over the grass.

But they use enzymes, they should never have a problem. I told the homeowner to turn the bottle of enzymes over. He read the small print, “Along with regular pumping maintenance every 2-3 years.” Oh, hasn’t pumped it in over 20. I know what this drainfield will look like.
Now what’s really funny, is he doesn’t want me to bring the semi up just yet. He wants me to bring the inspection car. He thinks it’s going to be something simple. I hope it’s not raining. I want to take a lot of pictures of this one.

Servicing septic tank too rarely

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

This blog post is about the frequency of septic service.  Now this doesnt mean just pumping services.  This means annual maintenance for those of you that have pumps involved.

Neglected septic system solids contaminate pump tank, screens, and filters

Neglected septic system solids contaminate pump tank, screens, and filters

Just a little background on septic tanks.  They have many functions, but the most important, and obvious is to separate liquids from solids.  Now this applies to those of you with pumps or without.  All septic tanks are the same for this purpose.  Now drainfields and pumps can handle water.  Nothing more.  Solids plug up everything, it is extremely difficult to remove and clean.  Which usually translates as expensive.  And for that we truly feel bad.  I don’t like having to tell someone some bad news that their system could cost up to $2,000.00 to clean and repair.

You can see in the pictures that “goo” is covering everything.  This has to be one of the worst jobs we’ve seen so far.

 

High head sewage pump out of a neglected septic tank

High head sewage pump out of a neglected septic tank

 

 

 

 

 

And this system was one of those that the homeowner’s just “knew” that everything was okay.  And this is where it’s hard to educate people.  No one can just “know.”  Just like you don’t know how much oil is in your engine of your vehicle.  You have to open the hood and pull the dipstick from time to time.  Hopefully you do that at least once a week for your car.  But back on track, your septic tank should be checked every three years.  To “check” the levels of your solids in your tank. And trust me, no one just “knows.”   There’s only one way to know how much solids are in the septic tank.  Someone has to open it up and take measurements.

 

Here we start to clean the sludge off the septic pump vault screen.  This is the final bit of protection for your pump and the drainfield.   What’s really scary is that no alarm sounded.  The pump simply was able to push these solids out until it started to plug the drainfield.

 

It’s so hard to say it.  This homeowner is wishing he’d heard of my website years ago.  It’s only about $125.00 bucks to inspect a tank on a yearly basis.  I would have seen this years ago and recommended cleaning before it got to this degree.  That’s about $10.00 per month.  A car wont run forever on “Not” changing the oil.  And the septic tank needs cleaned.  There is no special chemical that can make solids disappear either.  Be careful, there are those that try to sell that stuff too.  It’s kinda like snake oil.  There’s no special chemical that one can put in a gas tank to get uber great mileage.

This was the nightmare we were dealing with today.  We got it done.  First call wins again, and another septic system that appeared to be failed, is now back up and running.  Thanks for reading.

sludge on a septic pump vault screen

sludge on a septic pump vault screen

Starting to clean the sludge off the septic pump vault screen

Starting to clean the sludge off the septic pump vault screen

Holiday Blues:

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Good Day everyone.

Now I am sure you are thinking, how can he title his blog title Holiday Blues? Is he having a bad holiday?

Answer to both questions are no. I had a great holiday, and I truly hope yours was just as well.

The answer to the questions is quite simply. Holiday Decorations.

Usually when I get a call about a septic alarm going off. I tell the homeowner to check circuit breakers first. And then check for tripped GFI’s. Reason. I hate charging a service call for turning a breaker back on. I feel guilty for doing so. But service calls are what they are.
But now that doesn’t enter into the holiday blues theme. But two calls this year were from homeowners unplugging their pumps to plug in their holiday lights.

It’s kinda of comedic, and pretty darn funny. But I still feel bad for having to charge homeowners for plugging their pumps back in.
Both times the owner was happy to pay and was happy that there wasn’t any real damage done.
But here is a reminder. Sand filters and Sand media components are Aerobic Treatment Units. Which means that they need oxygen to survive. They are in-fact air breathing organisms. So if someone is to unplug their pumps they risk flooding out that component. And if that component goes under water, it only has three days to live. In some cases the component dies. Or fails to recover. So please heed your septic alarms warning and call someone straight away.

I hope everyone had a great holiday. And may 2011 be great for everyone.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie