The water you use eventually returns to the environment in one form or another. Whether it’s taking a shower, washing the dishes, or flushing the toilet, the water will always find its way back into our ecosystem after it has undergone treatment in a wastewater facility. We don’t think about this process all that often, but the truth is that for many this process is invaluable and vital to the health of their property.
An overworked septic system can be prone to all kinds of problems, including jams and clogs, leaks, and much more. However, a few bad habits we may have could also cause some serious issues for your septic system. In this blog, we’ll offer a few tips for things you should do to keep your septic system in good health while sheltering-in-place during COVID-19.
Keep an Eye on Your Septic System’s Health
If you begin to notice signs of recurring clogs, wastewater backups, overflowing toilets, or foul smells in your yard, then you are likely already past due for professional septic service. If you experience any of the above symptoms, or you know that it has been a year or longer since your Septic Service Near Me service, then it is best to discuss your needs with a septic specialist as soon as possible.
Avoid Potential Septic Problems
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve heard and seen a lot of strange stories about things people are doing to try and make up for shortages or compensate for things they run out of. This is particularly true when it comes to sanitation problems. Toilet paper is becoming a hot commodity, and we’ve unfortunately seen too many stories about people using things like facial tissue and paper towels as substitutes. These things not only block up your drain lines but don’t decompose in your septic tank, so they’ll contribute to clogging and other problems in the long term as well.
Likewise, it’s also important to think about what kinds of liquid wastes you’re putting down the drains, as they’ll impact your septic system too. Septic tanks use naturally occurring bacteria to decompose the waste we put into them and treat the water so it’s safe to return to the water table. That means antibacterial soaps and disinfectants actually harm your septic waste treatment system.
Here are a few tips:
• Use hand soaps that are not antibacterial. Regular soap does the same job and doesn’t stress or destroy the good bacteria your tank needs. Use hand sanitizer after washing your hands, as it does not need to be flushed down the drain.
• Don’t use a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals generate food waste that is far too heavy on the organic load in your septic system.
• Limit showers, laundry loads, and heavy water usage activities to the fewest number possible. This keeps your water processing level in balance.
Do You Need a Septic Service? Call Mid-Tenn Septic & Plumbing Today
Are you worried about the condition of your septic tank now that everyone in the family is at home more often? If you need to schedule a septic inspection, cleaning, pumping, repair, installation, or maintenance, then there is no need to wait. Call the experts at Mid-Tenn Septic & Plumbing. Our specialists are always ready to help you achieve quality, lasting results. Contact our office for more information about our services or to schedule an appointment with a septic specialist in Middle Tennessee. Learn more about Septic Service Near Me.
Mid-Tenn Septic and Plumbing
4470 old Lebanon dirt rd. Mt Juliet TN 37122
Deck additions are the most common home improvement projects, and can be the easiest one to bungle unless you know what you’re doing. Problems like skipped permits, water infiltration, unsafe guardrails, and unreliable framing materials and hardware can undermine your deck’s performance, cause serious safety issues, and lead to unnecessary frustration and unplanned expenses. Before you commit to the project, make sure you know:
- the pros and cons of attached and freestanding decks
- deck safety features
- how to make your deck durable
- additional features to make your deck more enjoyable
- Connection to the home
When you build a deck, you have the option of physically attaching it to the home’s structure, or letting it stand on its own in the yard.
Attached decks will let you save a bit of money on piers and footings, but impose additional loads on your home’s existing structure and penetrate the envelope, possibly causing water infiltration. Thus, if you opt for an attached deck, your two priorities should be ensuring a secure connection to the home, and preventing water intrusion.
Attached decks connect to the home via a ledger board, which is essentially is a rim joist that spans the length of the deck’s connecting side and attaches to the home’s structure. Affixing the ledger board to the exterior siding is not enough to secure the deck safely; instead, ledgers must be bolted to the home’s rim joist.
To deny any chance of water ingress at the point of connection, the penetrations must be adequately flashed and sealed.
Rather than relying on the home’s existing structure for support, freestanding decks are held up by their own footings and deck posts. You can place one anywhere on the property within the allowed setbacks – freestanding decks are treated as accessory structures for setback purposes. If you want to enjoy direct access from your home to the deck, you can place a freestanding deck flush with any wall of the house without attaching it to the structure. However, in this scenario, you will still have to flash and seal around the exterior siding penetration to keep out water.
Freestanding decks may cost more due to the need for additional footings and posts beneath the end that would otherwise hang off the home’s structure. That said, freestanding decks involve less structural planning and don’t overburden your home with additional loads.
As with any elevated structure, fall hazard is a safety issue on decks. Requirements may vary between jurisdictions, but at a minimum, deck guardrails must:
- have a top rail that’s 42 inches or more above the surface of the deck or 34 inches above the stairs’ treads
- have a bottom rail that’s 4 inches or less above the surface of the deck
- have 4 x 4-inch supporting guard posts spaced 6 feet or less
- have balusters spaced less than 4 inches apart to eliminate the strangulation hazard
- withstand a single concentrated load of 200 pounds in any direction, applied at any point along the top rail
- be installed at deck stairs and any other means of access to the deck
Some cities and counties may have more stringent requirements, so take the time to research when you design your deck.
You want your deck to last long, but if you build it with the wrong materials, it won’t. All wood eventually rots when exposed to moisture, but by using the right framing material you can prolong the longevity of your deck and minimize future repair costs. Pressure-treated lumber is your best bet. It may lack visual appeal but makes up for it with an ability to ward off rot and other moisture-related conditions. Besides, you can always beautify your deck with pine, cedar, or composite deck boards.
The hardware which connects a deck’s framing, boards, and guardrails can also suffer from its exposure to the elements. Using stainless steel or galvanized hardware will extend your deck’s service life. It may even be a code requirement in your jurisdiction. By doing some research and investing in durable materials, you can mitigate the risk of future replacements and minimize repair costs.
- Additional features
Think your deck is boring? From awnings to hot tubs, there is a world of deck features for you to explore and make your deck stand out from the rest.
Canopies can extend a deck’s usable hours to those hot summer afternoons and the wet months of the rainy season. If this sounds like a worthwhile investment, find out whether a pergola, awning or simply a moveable umbrella will work best for you. If you opt for a permanent feature, such as a pergola, you will need to include its details in the drawings you submit for approval and permits.
If you want to decorate your deck with plants, your options range from floor and railing-mounted pots to planters built into the deck. If you choose the latter, you can also incorporate seating and storage elements into the deck’s design. The deck’s structure will have to interface with all these features, and you will have to show them on the drawings you submit to the building department.
For a cozy yet vibrant look, adorn your deck’s posts, guardrails, and steps with low-voltage, LED lights. You will need a transformer to power down the current; installing the transformer and the lighting system may entail getting a separate electrical permit. Be sure to get assistance from a licensed electrician and ask your local building officials whether you need a permit for this work.