What is a drain line inspection?
A specialized high definition waterproof camera is mounted on a flexible rod called a snake, which is then fed through a drain and pipe system while an expert watches the video feed in real time. A real-time camera inspection is useful for identifying a problem, searching for something of value lost in your drain, and more. Especially if you face a problem with an unknown cause, a drain line inspection can quickly and effectively identify the issue you’re running into, meaning you can resolve it without all the guesswork.
Some of the benefits of getting a camera drain line inspection include:
Saving time: a camera inspection identifies issues quickly and efficiently; it saves a lot of time and troubleshooting, meaning lower labor costs
Confidence: once we’ve been able to visualize an issue, resolving it becomes a matter of surety. There is no guessing which procedures to take to fix your problem because we are confident that we know exactly what the problem is.
Clarity: a high-definition camera gives a clear idea of the causes of your issue. We can easily tell if rust, corrosion, or roots are damaging your pipes, and can pinpoint any lost items.
Affordability: using a camera inspection to quickly identify and resolve issues means you can avoid larger issues that may lead to costly repairs or even replacement in the future.
Assurance: a camera pipe inspection poses no risk of damage to your sewer and septic system, so you can rest assured that you will gain the benefits of this inspection without taking on any risk.
When to get a video pipe inspection
While we are big advocates of video pipe inspections for the reasons listed above, we especially recommend getting a camera inspection in the following circumstances:
When purchasing a home. It’s always a good idea to have a very thorough real estate inspection for your sewer and septic system because of the potential there is for costly repairs, so we definitely recommend that clients who are thinking about purchasing a home seriously consider utilizing a camera inspection to make sure that everything is in order. The last thing you want in a new home is flooding, sewage backup, or other disastrous sewer and pipe issues.
Slow or noisy drains. Pipes are designed for water to flow through them unobstructed. If your drains are noticeably slower, they aren’t doing their job, and bubbling or gurgling noises coming from your drains often means that water is skipping off the side of the pipes due to some sort of clog or obstruction. Investigating the cause before you have an emergency on your hands is always a good idea.
Drain backups. Similarly, drains should never back up; whether it’s a toilet that spits sewage back up or sinks that suddenly fill with wastewater, it’s a clear indication that something is not operating properly. If the issue can’t be resolved with a plunger or other at-home remedy, it’s time to call in a professional.
ASAP Septic serves clients in Boise, Payette, Mountain Home, Middleton, ID, and all areas throughout southeast Idaho. We are an industry leader for all things sewer and septic, and we are passionate about keeping drains flowing smoothly for residential and commercial clients. We have spent decades earning the expertise and skills required to help and serve our Idahoan friends and neighbors in this capacity and are excited to continue to serve our communities. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (208) 991-7184 for more information or to schedule a consultation today.
Whether you are building a new structure to house your business or recently purchased a commercial property with a septic system, it can be difficult knowing the ins and outs of a commercial septic system when your business is located where there is no municipal sewer system in place. It’s something that may not be discussed as frequently as residential systems, and on top of everything else that comes with running a business, can sometimes feel overwhelming. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! At ASAP Septic, we are eager to help our friends and neighbors in Boise and southeastern ID with all things sewer and septic.
Commercial properties that would need a commercial septic tank installation include:
Apartment complexes, condos, hotels
Industrial buildings and warehouses
Any other property used for a purpose beyond private use
Commercial septic tanks work identically to residential ones: wastewater from the building flows through the drain pipe into the septic tank, where debris in the wastewater settles to the bottom in a layer called sludge or floats to the top in a layer called scum. The wastewater that is now free of debris is allowed to seep back into the ground, where it is purified through layers of sediment and rock before it reaches the water table, where it reenters the water cycle. In residential septic tanks, we recommend having the tank pumped out every 2-5 years depending on usage and the amount of wastewater produced; for a business, we recommend pumping every 1-3 years. Even with the larger volume a commercial tank can hold, businesses typically produce such a high volume of wastewater that it needs to be pumped more frequently, not to mention the increased rate at which buildup occurs. And, it’s important to keep in mind that a septic emergency can be disastrous to a business!
Although the functionality of a commercial septic tank is the same as a residential tank, there are a few key differences:
Larger tanks: because commercial septic systems typically serve a larger population than a residential system, they handle a higher volume of wastewater, meaning a larger tank size is a must.
Increased debris: commercial properties often have wastes and debris that aren’t found in a residential property, or a higher volume of them. Whether it’s fats, oils, and grease, or small pieces of debris from construction or landscaping, the septic system has to be equipped to handle whatever will be present in the wastewater.
More robust cleaning: due to the increased amount of sewage, septic maintenance and cleaning often requires stronger cleaners and sometimes different equipment designed to handle the larger volume.
Frequency of pumping: effluent--the wastewater that seeps back into the ground--of a commercial property is a much higher volume than a residential property. Pumping and cleaning out the tank more frequently can help prevent the business from having a significant negative impact on the local water source.
We recommend consulting with a professional when making plans for your septic system; different commercial properties will have different needs based on the business. For instance, a warehouse that primarily only produces wastewater from restrooms and handwashing has significantly different needs than a restaurant, which has restrooms and handwashing, water for cooking, dishwashing, mopping, the need for a grease trap, and more. Additionally, septic tanks are only approved to handle sanitary waste, so if your business deals with industrial or automotive waste, you cannot flush these wastes, and there are certain regulations that must be followed. Consult a septic expert if this applies to your business.
The professionals at ASAP Septic are excited to serve our clients in Boise, Middleton, Payette, Mountain Home, and areas throughout southeast Idaho as an industry leader of septic services. From commercial to residential septic services, hydro-jet services, lift station servicing, and more, we are passionate about keeping your drains and septic systems running smoothly; we understand how stressful it can be to deal with a septic emergency, and are excited to help and serve our communities here in ID with our 24-hour emergency septic services as well as our routine services. Give us a call at (208) 991-7184 for more information or to schedule a consultation today.
Last spring, we were blessed with an abundance of rainfall after several years of drought. We were delighted to see our reservoirs and water tables replenished, but realize that new septic owners may not recognize potential issues that can arise as a result of abundant rainfall. One of the main functions of a septic tank is to allow excess wastewater to seep out of the tank and into the ground, and heavy rains can saturate the ground, slowing down septic systems and exacerbating mild issues. Clogging, flooding, and raw sewage leakage are all potential problems, all of which can lead to health hazards in addition to the headache and stress such issues bring. Some signs you should be aware of include:
Pooling water: be aware of where your drain field is located. The drain or leech field is a term that describes the area on your property where a network of perforated pipes allows wastewater to seep into the ground. Pooling water indicates that the ground is oversaturated, and can be a result of heavy rains combined with normal wastewater usage.
Slow drains: a classic sign of a clog, drains taking excessive time to carry water away, especially during or after abundant rainfall, can be a red flag indicating it’s time to get your drains cleaned or otherwise examined. While some clogs may dislodge themselves, the majority will go away without being cleared, either by hydrojetting or another method.
Bubbling or gurgling noises: the inner surfaces of pipes should be smooth and allow water to flow with no interruption. Bubbling and gurgling noises can indicate clogs forming on the inner walls of your pipes, or can even be your septic tank bubbling after a heavy rain.
If you see any of these signs, especially after heavy rains, the first thing to do is to call a professional for a septic inspections! ASAP Septic offers 24-hour emergency septic services, so we are on call to help with any emergencies you may experience, whether related to the weather or not. We know how stressful it can be to experience septic and sewer troubles, and we are dedicated to helping resolve your problems quickly and efficiently. In addition to performing any repairs your system may need, we will always check to ensure that your septic system is clear of the debris that sometimes infiltrates the system with heavy rains, which can help prevent future issues.
Perhaps the best way to prevent large issues and emergencies is to maintain your septic system on a regular basis. Depending on the number of people in your household and the amount of wastewater produced, we typically recommend getting your septic tank pumped every 2-5 years. Additionally, it’s good practice to prevent damage or excess water flow to your drain field. For example, avoid driving or allowing construction vehicles to drive over your drain field, as compacting the soil restricts drainage and can slow down your septic system. Keep an eye out for broken sprinklers that may cause flooding in the area, and ensure that rain gutters and spouts don’t empty into the drain field. If your septic system is in peak condition, you can rest assured that all will go smoothly this coming spring, and if any new issues arise, you can always call our team of experts at ASAP Septic. We serve Boise, Payette, Middleton, Mountain Home, and areas throughout southeast Idaho. For more information, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (208) 991-7184 today.
One question our clients tend to ask us in the winter as the weather gets colder is whether a septic tank can freeze. And the answer is yes! Septic tanks can freeze, particularly on colder years where the frost line is deeper into the earth, putting pipes and tanks and all the underground hardware of a septic system at risk. In fact, there are a number of issues owners of residential and commercial septic tanks should be aware of as we approach midwinter:
Once that frost line gets low enough into the earth that it contacts pipes, and this can cause the water inside to freeze. You may begin to experience clogged drains, but rather than the usual fats, oils, and grease that can clog drains, they’re stopped up by ice! Typically, the first pipe to freeze is the pipe leading from your home to the septic tank, which increases the risk of damage to your home. Pipes that are indoors, pipes running through areas of the house that aren’t well insulated--like a laundry room, garage, or basement--can benefit from a little insulation boost, such as a sleeve-style insulator to help keep the pipes above freezing temperatures. For underground or outdoor pipes, preventing them from becoming dormant can be a lifesaver. In particularly cold years, consider allowing your faucets to drip water, as dormant pipes with no water flow can allow the water to freeze, which increases the risk of a pipe bursting.
Heading Home for the Holidays
If you’re headed out of town or will otherwise leave your home vacant for a length of time, be mindful of how the weather may be while you are away. The last thing you want to come home to is a flooded home, and pipes bursting from water freezing and expanding inside of them is a risk you don’t have to take. It can be a good idea to ask a friend or neighbor to come over every once in a while during your vacation to run some water through various taps, as this will allow water to flow and reduce the risk of freezing water. Additionally, if you’re coming up on being due for a cleaning, having your septic tank pumped can help prevent issues with freezing as well.
Frozen Ground and a Tank that Needs Pumping
Septic tanks should be pumped every 2-5 years, depending on the size of your tank, the number of people living in your home, and the amount of wastewater you produce. If you know that you’re coming up on needing your tank to be cleaned out, choosing to do so before the ground freezes is a great idea, as frozen ground makes it significantly more difficult to dig into the ground to access the tank. If you’re not sure of whether your tank needs to be pumped soon or not, a septic system inspection can help you determine when you need that service!
Hosting the Holidays
On the flip side, if you are hosting the holiday festivities this year, the increase in guests and water usage can add up quickly with more people taking showers, dishes that need to washed, and laundry being done. If you have a lot of guests in your home this year, it can be a good idea to plan out your wastewater usage so as not to overwhelm your septic system. Running your washing machine and dishwasher while cousin Joe is taking a shower may not go over so well, and a little bit of thought can save you a lot of headache.
Our team of sewer and septic experts at ASAP septic is passionate about serving our clients in Boise, Mountain Home, Middleton, Payette, and areas throughout southeast Idaho as the industry leader for all things sewer and septic. Whether you need a grease trap pumped out, hydrojetting or septic services, we are ready and eager to help. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (208) 991-7184 for more information today.
Ideally, running a restaurant should be like running a well-oiled machine: no hitches, everything flowing as smooth as butter. Including, of course, floor drains, sinks, and industrial dishwasher drains, all of which can quickly become clogged by the aforementioned butter. Working with fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) in the food service industry is practically unavoidable, and the critical piece of plumbing that keeps those substances from clogging up pipes and drains and causing major issues is the grease trap.
What is a grease trap?
Most managers in the service industry know that the grease trap is an important element, even if they’re not quite sure what exactly it does. A grease trap is a plumbing fixture located downstream from the drains, but before wastewater enters the municipal sewer system. It serves to intercept grease, oil, fats, and other solids before they enter the sewer. The old adage, “oil and water don’t mix,” is true, and oils, fats, and grease float to the top of wastewater. This fact can be used to our advantage: by allowing water to exit out the bottom of the grease trap, fats, oils, and grease are left behind, effectively trapped.
Parts of a grease trap
A grease trap is generally made up of five parts:
The inlet pipe: as the name implies, the inlet pipe is where wastewater from all of the drains in a kitchen flows into the grease trap. Oftentimes, an access point for grease trap cleaning is located near the end of the inlet pipe.
The flow rate controller: a grease trap is more or less a holding tank that separates grease, fats, and oils from wastewater, so there is a chance that it could become overwhelmed. The flow rate controller prevents this from happening by controlling the flow of water into the grease trap.
Baffles: typically made of either plastic or metal, baffles are blade-like separators within the grease trap that serve to separate water from FOGs. They leave a gap at the bottom of the structure, allowing the separated wastewater to flow through while retaining grease.
Cooling mechanism: water is the most commonly used mechanism. Greases, oils, and fats become liquid when heated, and is the primary state in which they are flushed down a drain. These substances harden when cooled, which allows for easier separation.
The outlet pipe: once wastewater has been separated from greases, oils, and fats, it flows through the outlet pipe to enter the municipality’s sewer system.
Why are grease traps important?
Greases, oils, and fats are liquid when heated, which is usually the case when cooking. Without a grease trap, they will cool down and harden once they enter the municipal sewer system. Greases--especially animal fats, like lard or bacon grease--solidify into thick, sludgy substances that can coat the inner surface of pipes. As hardened grease builds up and traps other particles, pipes can become blocked, leading to clogs that can cause backups called sanitary sewer overflows. These sewer overflows are not only costly to clean up and repair, but also present a public health hazard. Many cities legally require grease traps in the food service industry in order to prevent the major problems that can arise in the city sewer system without the critical role they play in separating wastewater.
A grease trap serves to keep the sewer and wastewater system operating smoothly. Without proper maintenance, the grease trap itself can become clogged. In general, FOG clogs in a grease trap happens when build up slowly accumulates over time. If water is backing up in sinks or floor drains, or water seems to be draining slower than before, it’s likely that you may be dealing with a clog. Regular maintenance can help prevent this from happening. Reach out to a professional immediately if you suspect a clog, as leaving a clog unattended can exacerbate the problem and create a bigger issue that could have been prevented with proper care.
At ASAP Septic, we are dedicated to serving our clients in Boise, Payette, Mountain Home, and areas throughout southeast Idaho as the industry leader for all things sewer and septic. Whether you need a grease trap pumped, hydrojetting or septic services, our team of experts is ready to help. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (208) 991-7184 for more information.
Common Drain Problems
Drain issues are a major concern for homeowners! There are a number of early warning signs that your drains may not be functioning as well as they used to be, and it is critical to notice and resolve those issues before wastewater backs up and potentially floods and damages your home. Some common drain issues include:
Slow drains: the drains in your home are not designed to drain slowly. Any time you notice that water drains slower, it’s an indication that something may be clogging your drain. Drains can become clogged with just about anything, but common culprits include hair in households with long-haired individuals and grease clogs for clients who frequently cook. Grease and oils poured down the drain can coat the inner surface of your pipes, which can cause other particulates to stick to the pipes and constrict them over the years and cause some significant issues.
Drain flies: do you have fruit flies in your home, but can’t pinpoint where they’re coming from? Do they seem to appear nearby sinks or other drains? Drain flies look almost identical to fruit flies, and breed in drains with stagnant water. If you notice drain flies, it’s a clear sign that your drains may have downstream clogs that need to be addressed. Drain flies are extremely difficult to eliminate without cleaning out their breeding grounds.
Bubbling or gurgling noises: generally speaking, your pipes should not be making noise. If you notice that your drains or toilet are making bubbling or gurgling sounds, it’s likely time to call in a professional. Noisy plumbing usually means that water isn’t draining properly, and can be an indication of a clog.
Drain Line Camera Inspections
An increasingly popular industry standard is conducting a video camera pipe inspection. A high-quality camera is mounted to a flexible rod, which is then threaded through the pipe system in your home or business to conduct a thorough investigation on any issues that may be occurring. This allows us to quickly and efficiently locate pipes broken by tree roots or other causes, find a particularly stubborn clog, and find any other issues that we would not otherwise be able to visualize.
Drain Line Maintenance: Preventing Clogs
While our professional services can certainly help resolve many of the issues that arise in drains and drain lines, there are a few maintenance tips and tricks that can help keep your drains in tip-top condition. These regular, daily actions can reduce the strain and wear on your pipes, and are simple ways to increase the longevity of the hardware you have.
Brush your hair before showering. Especially for individuals with longer hair, hair can get caught in a drain and quickly cause issues. If you choose to bathe your pets, block the drain with a washcloth or town to prevent pet fur from clogging drains.
Use a shower drain hair catcher. It’s a lot easier to catch loose hairs at the source, and there are many affordable options for mesh drain covers that will prevent hair from going down the drain.
Avoid using the garbage disposal. Food scraps can be thrown away or composted; avoiding putting food down the garbage disposal lessens the chances of food chunks blocking your pipes.
Only flush toilet paper. Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate in water, and toilets are designed to handle human waste, water, toilet paper, and nothing else. Dental floss, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, and Clorox wipes are all common causes of clogging and flooding.
At ASAP Septic, we’re eager to provide the very best of services, including information on common sewer and septic issues and how to avoid potential problems. Whether you need services in Boise, Mountain Home, Payette, ID, or any of the surrounding areas here in southeast Idaho, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (208) 991-7184 for more information.