Clogged drains happen.

And when they do, your first reaction is probably to grab the nearest plunger and get to work. After all, if not taken care of quickly, clogs can lead to bigger problems down the line that can impact the health and longevity of your septic system.

But are you using the correct tool for the job?

Choosing the right plunger is the key to clearing a clogged drain so you don’t need to call in the professionals. Before you tackle the next clog, take a look at these common issues and see what the experts recommend for each one.



A cup plunger, sometimes called a sink plunger, is what most people have around the house. Its simple design features a rubber suction cup at the end of a long wooden or plastic handle.

Cup plungers work best on even surfaces where they can lay flat and create a good seal. For the best results, hold the plunger straight up (instead of at an angle) to create a strong suction. Then, lower the plunger slowly to release excess air and pull back gently. Repeat until the clog is released.



For toilet clogs, a cup plunger just isn’t going to cut it.

A flange plunger, sometimes just called a toilet plunger, looks like a cup plunger but with a small, narrow piece extending from the center. This piece is the flange, and its purpose is to improve suction inside a toilet bowl.

Beehive plungers look exactly like their namesake and are also great for clogged toilets. Because of their distinct shape, they can fit almost any toilet drain, which makes them a popular choice for homeowners.

When working to unclog a toilet, make sure your plunger is fully submerged. If not, fill a bucket from the sink or tub and add water until the head of the plunger is underwater.



If you know what an accordion looks like, this type of plunger should be easy to spot. Also called a bellows or bellows-style plunger (after the popular blacksmith’s tool), it looks like a flange plunger but with a collapsible body like the sides of an accordion.

Its unique shape makes it perfect for removing tough clogs, provided you have a good seal around the drain head.



While clogs can sometimes be the result of invasive tree roots or offset pipes, more often than not they are caused when things like food waste, hair (including pet hair), soap, grease and oils, and “flushable” wipes find their way down the drain.

To keep your septic system running smoothly and avoid the need for costly repairs, make sure only the right things end up getting flushed down the toilet or washed down your sink or shower drain. You should also have your septic tank inspected and pumped on a regular basis.

More questions about clogs and the health of your septic system? Call the experts at Paradise Valley Septic today at 480.351.1725 or send us a message online.


It’s That Time of Year Again: This Thanksgiving, Make Sure to Keep Fats, Oils, and Grease Away From Your Drains


“It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love…” are the words to a popular Christmas song, and, as Thanksgiving approaches to kick off the holiday season, these nostalgic song lyrics make us think of festive gatherings, extra houseguests, and a smorgasbord of delectables.

While Thanksgiving is often synonymous with football and eating too much pumpkin pie, it can also mean a big challenge for your septic system to keep up with all the extra goodies. When you’re enjoying your spiced apple cider by the fireplace this Thanksgiving, remember to keep fats, oils, and grease away from household drains.

Fats, oils, and grease are culprits for future septic system problems.

Extra houseguests and preparing a spread that is traditionally the biggest meal of the year can be challenging for your septic system. Your guests may not realize they shouldn’t be putting everything down the garbage disposal, especially fats and grease that can clog your drains and disrupt the bacteria in your pipes and septic system.

Fats, greases, and other hard-to-break-down foods (like turkey skin and meat scraps) can lead to the accumulation of sludge in your septic tank. When the natural bacteria that break down waste can’t keep up with the overload of the Thanksgiving feast, it can create problems well into the holiday season, so you could be celebrating New Year’s Eve with plumbing problems.

Simply put, your septic system is built to break down waste and toilet paper, but not much else.

Fats, oils, and grease (known as “FOG” by professionals) accumulate in your drains and septic tank when you discard things like:

  • Cooking oils
  • Butter and margarine
  • Meat scraps
  • Salad dressings

FOG is not only difficult for your system to break down, but it can cause drain clogs and messy back-ups – certainly not things you add to your list of holiday fun!

Why regular maintenance is so important.

If you’ve been keeping up with your regularly scheduled septic tank maintenance, you have a better chance of steering clear of plumbing problems during your first big gathering of the season, but the best way to prevent fats, oils, and grease build-up in the system is to be extra careful. Before a problem occurs, avoid putting potentially damaging ingredients down your drain in the first place.

Remind guests, or anyone else who’s helping you prepare the meal or clean up afterward to:

  • Pour cooking grease into a can and throw it in the garbage
  • Wipe off greasy plates with a paper towel before loading the dishwasher
  • Put meat scraps in the garbage, not the garbage disposal
  • Avoid putting anything that’s hard to break down into drains

Follow these simple guidelines for a healthy, happy, Thanksgiving – for both you and your septic system – and we’ll all be decking the halls instead of dealing with clogged drains, well into the new year.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a septic tank inspection, there’s still time to prepare before the big day. Schedule your inspection today with the experts at Paradise Valley Septic. Or, give us a call with questions: 480-607-7763.