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Garbage Disposals and Private Septic Systems - Weston, Wellesley, MA

06 Jun 2013

We often get asked by homeowners with private septic if they can have a garbage disposal installed. Garbage disposals allow food waste to fit through your sink drain and plumbing pipes instead of throwing it away in the household waste that ultimately goes to a landfill.  Yes, a garbage disposal can be used with a septic system. However, using a garbage disposal frequently may lead to an increased amount of solids and grease in your septic tank. As a result you may be required to pump your septic system more frequently.

Garbage disposals add to the solid waste load in the septic tank. But, can you use garbage disposals with private septic? Yes. Food waste is waste, plain and simple. Food is organic matter and it will enter your septic system either through the sink or through your wasted pipes. The challenge is, with garbage disposals, water is used while the garbage disposal is running which allows more water into your septic system than would enter without the disposal. Also, you might send more food waste down your sink drain than you would otherwise.  However, there are water operated and electric operated garbage disposals.

A septic tank has microbes in the tank that break down the solids into liquids.  A garbage disposal makes disposing food scraps easy, but it can cause additional strain on the septic system. It is generally recommended that the septic tank be pumped out annually if a garbage disposal is used. This compares to every 3-5 years for homes that do not use a garbage disposal. However there are garbage disposals with enzyme injectors for use with private septic systems.

Garbage disposals installed in your home are a convenience, but you need to be cautious of your water use. Know that the added waste and water they add to the septic tank might mean that the septic tank needs to be pumped more often. For more information or for garbage disposal installation, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

Plumbing Problems Caused by Homeowners - Wellesley, MA

29 May 2013

Homeowners need plumbing that works. Unfortunately the drains get clogged and the toilet backs up. Regularly, we come across plumbing problems that are caused by homeowners. Here are some things that ruin your plumbing.

Pouring grease down the kitchen drain.

If you’re in the habit of pouring bacon grease down the kitchen-sink drain, you might as well call the plumber now. Grease is one of the best things for clogging drains.

Putting everything down the kitchen drain.
Don’t put everything down the garbage disposal.  You should especially avoid putting flour, rice, potato peels (and some other peels) and many fibrous foods such as asparagus and chard down the garbage disposal.

Using the toilet as a trash can.  

If it isn’t waste or toilet paper, don’t flush it. The toilet should not be used as a trash can. The toilet has a 3-inch drain pipe that leads into another drain pipe, which is THE drain pipe to your entire house. In other words, flushing one improper item down the toilet ultimately can stop up everything in the house.

Leaving hoses connected during winter.

This is a classic plumbing error. Hoses can cause damage when left out all year: they can lead to freezing of the outdoor faucet or its water supply pipe. It’s also very bad for your hose.

Using too much drain cleaner.

When used judiciously and on the right kind of clog, drain cleaners can be effective and relatively safe for drains. When used with abandon, they can corrode some drain materials, and they can actually make clogged drains worse.

Pouring chemicals into a septic system.

If you’re used to living with private septic, you probably know how to take care of it. But if you just bought a house with septic, you might not think twice about using chemicals like drain cleaner, chlorine bleach, paint and even anti-bacterial soaps. These chemicals kill the essential waste-eating bacteria in the septic tank.

Nailing or cutting into a wall with hidden plumbing pipes.

Know where you are nailing, screwing or sawing into a wall. You don’t want to hit the pipes.  

Joining two different metals in piping.

When you hire a plumber, make sure they know what they are doing. When dissimilar metals, such as copper and steel, are touching, a process called galvanic action leads to corrosion. Corrosion leads to leaks. Such joints must be made with a dielectric union or other approved fitting. Be sure you plumber is using the right type of metal pipes.

For your plumbing problems in Wellesley, contact Greater Boston Plumbing.