Toilets and Plumbers PB&J

A warm welcome to Spring/Summer it is wonderful to feel the warmth of the Sun and see the flowers and trees starting to bud. It makes one glad to be alive.

That said I want to chat quickly about toilets. There is no doubt that toilets and plumbers seem to go together like PB&J. Where would modern society be without the invention of the toilet and modern plumbing?? Imagine sitting in a high level meeting and needing to excuse one’s self to use a bucket or worse yet run out to the outhouse. I may be basis but the start of modern society began with a bathroom upgrade. So why is it that we treat our bathroom fixtures so poorly?? We have found everything from old style pagers.

Pager

To several rolls of toilet paper flushed all at once.

The Big Flush

In fact this picture above shows someone trying to flush a roll of brown paper towel. Folks that is not going to happen.

Although we appreciate the business please think before you decide to flush. Not everything disappears after you flush it.

If you happen to be the victim of someone’s careless flushing, give us a cal 24/7 we’re to get things moving again.

All the best!!

Baker Plumbing

Alberta Septic Fields/Tanks and Freezing

Question#2: How do I keep my septic field or tank from freezing?

Thanks to Martin for asking this question.

A septic system is a highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system. Because septic systems treat and dispose of household wastewater onsite, they are often more economical than centralized sewer systems in rural areas where lot sizes are larger and houses are spaced widely apart.

Alberta Septic Tank Installation

Septic systems are also simple in design, which make them generally less expensive to install and maintain. And by using natural processes to treat the wastewater onsite, usually in a homeowner’s backyard, septic systems don’t require the installation of miles of sewer lines, making them less disruptive to the environment.

A septic system consists of two main; a septic tank and a drain-field. The septic tank is a watertight box, usually made of concrete or fiberglass, with an inlet and outlet pipe. Wastewater flows from the home to the septic tank through the sewer pipe. The septic tank treats the wastewater naturally by holding it in the tank long enough for solids and liquids to separate. The wastewater forms three layers inside the tank. Solids lighter than water (such as greases and oils) float to the top forming a layer of scum. Solids heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank forming a layer of sludge. This leaves a middle layer of partially clarified wastewater.

The layers of sludge and scum remain in the septic tank where bacteria found naturally in the wastewater work to break the solids down. The sludge and scum that cannot be broken down are retained in the tank until the tank is pumped.

The layer of clarified liquid flows from the septic tank to the drain-field or to a distribution device, which helps to uniformly distribute the wastewater in the drain-field. A standard drain-field (also known as a leaching field, disposal field, or a soil absorption system) is a series of trenches or a bed lined with gravel or course sand and buried one to three feet below the ground surface. Perforated pipes or drain tiles run through the trenches to distribute the wastewater. The drain-field treats the wastewater by allowing it to slowly trickle from the pipes out into the gravel and down through the soil. The gravel and soil act as biological filters.

The use of septic fields goes back a hundred years or so. The first ones were very simple holding containers that would eventually leach into the ground. I even saw a septic tank made out of an old car (I wish I had pictures of it). Anyway the tank and piping of a septic tank usually are not buried very deep. Typically between 18″ to 36″ for the pipe and 6′ to 8′ for the bottom of the tank.

As long as the tank is being used you should have no problems with the tank or lines freezing. The bacteria that break down the effluent (poo and other assorted materials) create quite a bit of heat which keeps everything toasty. I couple of rules to remember though.

  1. Keep all traffic off the drain line from the house to septic, the septic tank and field. That includes foot traffic, horses, cars, anything with weight to it that can drive the frost further into the ground causing freeze ups
  2. Straws bales can be your best friend. Piling bales over the tank and building sewer can further insulate the lines and protect them
  3. Keep your field manicured (cut the grass). This helps aid the transfer of gases that the bacteria create to the atmosphere and will keep your field fit and operational

Some Do Not’s

  1. Do not add anti-freeze, salt or a spetic additive to system
  2. Do not pump sewage to the surface
  3. Do not start a fire over the system to unthaw
  4. Do not run water continually to unfreeze

A typically system looks something like this.

Alberta Septic Tank Installation

Some of the restrictions for installing a septic fields are outlined here.

Septic tank installation set-backs

Clogged Shower Drains in Calgary

Unclogging a Slow Shower Drain

Clogged Shower Drain Calgary

Everyone has had that moment: standing in the shower, washing your hair, when suddenly, water is up to your ankles. A drain clog! Hopefully not as bad as our picture above. Typically, a buildup of hair, by itself or combined with bath product gunk, is to blame. In this situation, many reach for the Drano. Instead of turning to harsh chemicals that might damage the finish of your tub or eat away at your pipes, try looking to some simpler (and possibly more effective) solutions first.

Before any tools or concoctions make an appearance, try sticking your fingers in the drain. If the hair is up near the top, this might be all it takes to fix the problem. You’d be surprised at how effective fingers can be as a hair removal apparatus. I doubt it if it will be as obvious as below!

Hair Ball Clog

There are two tools you can try if you can’t fix the problem that way, one of which you already own, and one that you can buy at the hardware store for under ten bucks. The first is a plunger. Try using it just as you would on a toilet, and see if the clogging culprit comes to the surface in the drain. The second is called a Drain Claw, and it is essentially a piece of wire with barbs on the end for catching hair. Stick one down the drain, twist it around a few times, and pull it out. Repeat until you stop pulling out hair, and run some water to test whether the clog is gone. You can even try to make your own out of a metal clothes hanger and go do some fishing.

Drain Ring

If the clog persists, it might be time to move on to a homemade clog-busting concoction. Pour one part baking soda down the drain, and follow it with one part vinegar. That’s right- the same as your kid’s model volcano. Wait until the foaming subsides, and follow that with boiling water. This method is effective when bath product gunk, rather than hair, is the problem.

I’ve added some pictures of typical plumbing system so you visualize what’s happening under the floor.

Drain Drawing

Drain Drawing 2

Whatever you do, don’t add nasty chemicals that can potential melt your pipes or destroy appliance finishes.

Draino

After all this, if your shower is still not draining properly, it’s probably time to call in the pros. Baker Plumbing can handle any clog you throw at us, quickly and professionally.

Give us a call at 403-279-7554 or book online.