Common Basement FAQ’s | Egress Window Wells | Portable Toilets | Septic Tank


Common Basement FAQ’s


Why fix a leaky basement?

Leaky basements are the number one problem that homeowners face. The longer the problem exists the worse it can become and the more expensive it can be to maintain in the future. Apart from the decreased home value, experts say “humidity and moisture can promote growth of biological agents that can trigger asthma”. Eliminating water, mold and mildew caused by water seepage can create a healthier living environment.


What causes a leak?

No basement is safe from water leaking through the walls, floor and foundation. The most common culprit of water in the basement is seepage. A water problem in the basement usually means there is hydrostatic pressure building up outside the basement wall. If left unattended this can lead to major structural problems such as foundation settlement, cracks (structural and non-structural) and can even cause a foundation wall to collapse


Why fix a cracked foundation?

You may be noticing cracks on your walls or floors. These cracks can be hairline or larger depending on the amount of water pressure around the outside of the foundation. You may have noticed moisture or dampness on the floor or walls after a heavy or saturating rain.

Cracks can come in a variety of shapes, sizes and directions. For example, you may see step-cracks on the wall. You might find vertical cracks, or horizontal cracks. In any of these cases, something is causing this to happen – cracks don’t usually appear naturally. It could be from settling, pressure on the walls or under the floor, or any number of other causes. The earlier you are able to catch the problem, the less damage will be done to your foundation and home.

First stage of cracking: A foundation goes through various stages of cracking. Cracks typically start from the outside and work their way inside. The first stage of cracking is usually just a hairline crack outside and nothing is noticeable on the inside at this point.

The second stage is when the crack has worked its way about halfway through the wall. Water may just be inside the hollows of a block wall or be inside the crack of a mortar joint or cement wall. This second stage is when you begin to notice signs of water such as mold, mildew, peeling paint, white powder, warped paneling, a musty odor, dry rot, rust and/or dampness.

The third stage is typically when you begin to see cracks or water. You may even begin to notice bugs or rodents in your basement that can enter through the cracks and stay due to a moist, damp environment. In addition to the signs from stage two, you may notice the basement is excessively damp, shows hairline cracks or spots on the walls. You might notice a loss of lime salt (white powder from walls.) Puddles form on the floor. You may see seepage during moderate rain, or basement flooding during torrential rain.

The fourth stage is when the cracks are at an advanced stage. You will notice a lot more water, some mud, more insects, rodents, and some foundation movement, such as bowing walls or buckling floors. In this stage there is visible structural damage, such as corners shifting and cracking or the floor dropping.


Egress Window Wells


What is the purpose of emergency egress in basement areas?

The International Residential Building Code requires a means of secondary egress from basement living areas. The egress allows firefighters to enter a basement in the event of an emergency and also allows occupants to escape from the basement if the staircase up to the main level of the home is impeded or blocked in any way


Can I add an egress window well to an existing home?



How much weight will the cover hold?

The optional dome cover will support up to 300 lbs of weight and will invert before it will break or crack.


Will extreme climate conditions affect your wells or covers (extreme cold/thaw)?

No, window wells have been installed in all climate conditions for many years. Per installation instructions supplied with the product, the well must be backfilled with stone, which allows for settling, drainage and acts as a slip sheet for freezing and thawing.


What type of draining system is used with your wells?

Window wells have an open bottom, and are free draining. They must be back-filled with stone per the product installation instructions and tied into the home’s perimeter draining system. In addition to proper back-fill, the yard should be graded away from the well upon installation.


Portable Toilets


Can I rent a porta potty for just one day?

Yes! Our portable toilets are great for weekend parties, or even a one day party. It is always best to call at least two days prior to your event to ensure proper delivery time of your porta potty.


What is the frequency of service on my portable toilet?

We service portable toilets once per week. This is done to keep the units fully stocked, clean and sanitized. The fee for the toilet includes the rental and once a week service. We can provide service more frequently if required at an additional charge.


What happens if my portable toilet gets tipped over?

When a tipover of a portable toilet does occur, we ask that our customers contact our office as soon as possible to report the incident. We will then dispatch a driver to come to the site and clean the unit or switch out the portable toilet with a replacement depending on the severity of the tipover.


Where can you place my portable toilet?

We will place your portable toilet(s) at your event or on your job site per your instruction. We will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate your wishes as to placement of the portable unit. However, we will relocate the unit or notify you if it becomes necessary so that is readily accessible for servicing. This ensures that our trucks, employees and equipment are not in danger or at risk.


How do you cut down on the odors and germs within the portable unit?

R.B. Satkowiak City Sewer Cleaners not only pumps out the holding tank and cleans the inner bowl of the unit but also provides meticulous janitorial service both inside and out. Our employees clean and sanitize the portable restrooms at each service which includes washing with soap and water. We also provide a special detergent in the water, which acts not only as a sanitizer but deodorizer as well to keep the unit smelling great while reducing exposure to germs.


Septic Tank


What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is a large container usually buried near a home that receives all of the home’s waste water. Solids settle to the bottom and grease and lighter solids float on the top. Healthy bacteria continually break down these materials and allow effluent water to leave the tank to be dispersed through a leach field.


Do septic tanks last forever?

No. Private septic systems are temporary systems; they will not last forever and do require maintenance. The lifespan of a septic system depends a lot on how well it was installed and maintained, how much it is used, and how good the soil and surrounding drainage are. Pumping your septic tank is one of the best and least expensive means by which to maintain your septic system.


How can I tell if my septic tank is working properly?

Two very obvious signs that your septic system is not functioning properly are strange odors and standing waste water in your yard where the leach field should be. However, not all malfunctioning septic systems show these clear signs. To find out if your septic system is functioning properly, it will need inspected every 1-3 years. You can hire a professional to do the inspection for you and then follow his recommendations for pumping out the sludge and scum (pumping will usually be recommended every 3-5 years).


How often should my septic tank be pumped?

Private septic systems are temporary systems; they will not last forever and do require maintenance. The lifespan of a septic system depends a lot on how well it was installed and maintained, how much it is used and how good the soil and surrounding drainage are. Pumping your septic tank is one of the best and least expensive means in which to maintain your septic system. Most septic tanks should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. Cleaning frequency depends on household size and water use. Additionally, if you use a garbage disposal, cleanings may need to be done more often.


Do they need to dig up my lawn to pump?

Not necessarily. If you already have access to the lid of your septic tank, digging up your lawn may not be necessary. If there is no access to the lid of the septic tank, some digging may be necessary to expose the ports so that the hose can be inserted to remove the septic material. At this time it would be wise to install risers so that digging would not be necessary the next time pumping is required. Pumping cannot and should not be done through the pipe outlet in your basement.


Can a septic system be repaired?

Yes. Depending upon the problem, many times a repair is possible. Some examples of a repair would be: to fix a crushed or collapsed pipe, to replace a broken baffle that has allowed solids into the leach field, or to replace a cracked or collapsed septic tank lid.


Can I drive or park over my leach field?

No. It is not recommended, but limited driving of light vehicles should not harm a properly installed leach field. Under wet conditions, however, any heavy packing of the earth over the distribution lines will have a negative impact on effectiveness. Avoid having very heavy vehicles, like those used for oil deliveries, pool water filling, and cement delivery drive directly over the field.


What can I do if my leach field is always wet?

Usually this indicates that the leach field has failed and needs immediate attention. Septic bacteria are unsafe for people or pets. The cause for the failure needs to be determined and the problem corrected. Plugged leach field lines, groundwater flooding, leaking house water, a failed septic tank, or damage done to the field by excavation or settling can all contribute to a failure.

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