How long does a septic tank last? That is a question that many homeowners ask themselves at some point. The answer, of course, depends on a variety of factors.
In this guide, we will discuss the different factors that can affect how long your septic tank lasts, and what you can do to prolong its life.
The Average Life Expectancy of a Septic Tank
The average septic tank has a life expectancy of 20-30 years. Of course, this number can be affected by a variety of things – some of which are within your control, and some of which are not.
For example, the material your septic tank is made out of can affect its lifespan. Septic tanks can be made out of different materials, including the concrete, plastic, steel, or fiberglass. The lifespan of each type of tank is different – plastic and fiberglass tanks usually don’t last as long as concrete septic tanks, for example.
Factors that Influence the Lifespan of a Septic Tank
There are a few different factors that can influence the lifespan of your septic tank. These include:
1. How it is installed
A poorly installed septic tank will not last as long as a well-installed tank. If you are unsure about how to install your septic tank, or if you need help with maintenance, be sure to consult a professional.
2. The type of material it is made out of
As we mentioned before, the type of material your septic tank is made out of can affect its lifespan. Concrete tanks, as stated earlier, usually last longer than plastic or fiberglass tanks. This is because concrete is a more durable material. The tradeoff is that plastic and fiberglass septic tanks are usually much easier to install.
3. How well it is maintained
A septic tank that is not properly maintained will not last long in general, let alone when compared to tanks that are regularly maintained. Be sure to have your septic tank pumped every few years, and fix any leaks or other issues as soon as possible.
4. The size of the tank
A larger septic tank will usually last longer than a smaller one. This is because a larger tank can hold more waste and will not need to be emptied as often. The size of your tank, however, will mostly depend on the size of your home and how many people live in it.
5. The surrounding environment
The type of soil and climate around your septic tank can also affect its lifespan. Soil that is wet or clay-like will not allow the waste to decompose as well, which can shorten the life of your tank.
6. The amount of use it gets
A septic tank that is used more frequently will not last as long as a septic tank that is used less frequently. This is because more waste will build up in the tank, and it will need to be emptied more often.
7. The contents of the soil it is buried in
The contents of the soil that your septic tank is buried in can also affect its lifespan. Soil that is acidic or has a lot of organic material will not be as good for your septic tank as soil that is neutral or alkaline.
8. The type of water you use
The type of water you use can also affect the lifespan of your septic tank. Hard water can damage the tank and shorten its lifespan. You can get a water softener to help with this issue.
9. The number of people in your household
The more people in your household, the more waste will be produced and the faster your septic tank will fill up. This is why it is important to have a tank that is the correct size for your home.
What You Can Do to Prolong the Life of Your Septic Tank
There are a few things that you can do to prolong the life of your septic tank. These include:
- Pumping your septic tank regularly
- Fixing any leaks or other issues as soon as possible
- Use a water softener if you have hard water
- Make sure that only biodegradable materials are put into your septic tank
- Not using a garbage disposal
- Using a septic-safe toilet paper
- Keeping your trees trimmed so they are not overhanging your tank
- Not running the water while you brush your teeth or wash dishes
If you follow these tips, you can help to prolong the life of your septic tank. Septic tanks are a big investment, so it is important to take care of them.
Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Solve Them
Even if you take good care of your septic tank, there are a few common problems that can occur. These include:
Problem: Your septic tank can become clogged with waste, paper products, grease, or other materials. This can cause your tank to back up and overflow.
Solution: You can use a plunger or a snake to try to clear the clog yourself. If this doesn’t work, you will need to call a professional to clear the clog for you.
Problem: A leak in your septic tank can cause it to fill up with water and overflow. This can also damage the surrounding soil and contaminate the groundwater.
Solution: You can try to fix the leak yourself, or call a professional to do it for you. Be sure to address any leak-related problems as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Problem: Your septic tank may not be working properly if it is not draining correctly or the waste is not decomposing properly. This can cause your tank to fill up with water and overflow.
Solution: You may need to have your tank pumped or repaired by a professional.
Problem: Hydraulic overload occurs when too much water enters the septic tank. This can cause the tank to float, which can damage the tank and the surrounding soil.
Solution: You will need to reduce the amount of water going into your septic tank. This can be done by fixing any leaks, using a low-flow showerhead, and installing a water-saving toilet.
Poor or no maintenance
Problem: Your septic tank will not last as long if it is not properly maintained. This includes pumping the tank every three to five years and having it inspected regularly.
Solution: You can have your septic tank pumped and inspected by a professional. This should be done every three to five years to keep your tank in good condition.
Poor design and installation
Problem: Poorly designed and installed septic tanks can cause a variety of problems. This includes leaks, clogs, and overflows.
Solution: You should have your septic tank designed and installed by a professional. This will help you avoid any problems in the future.
How Do I Clean My Septic Tank Naturally?
Cleaning your septic tank naturally is a great way to prolong its life. This can be done by adding enzymes and bacteria to the tank. These will break down the waste in the tank and help to prevent clogs.
You can also add things like coffee grounds, eggshells, and citrus peels to the tank. These will help to absorb the bad smells and keep your tank clean.
How to Perform a Septic Inspection
It is important to have your septic tank inspected every three to five years. This can help you identify any problems early on, and prevent them from becoming worse. During an inspection, a professional will:
- Examine the tank
- Check the inlet and outlet pipes
- Inspect the surrounding soil
- Test the water quality
If you think that there is a problem with your septic tank, you should have it inspected as soon as possible. Doing so can allow you to prevent any further damage or problems.
How Do I Add Good Bacteria to My Septic Tank?
There are a few different ways that you can add good bacteria to your septic tank. One way is to use septic-safe toilet paper. This will help add bacteria to the tank with each flush.
Another way is to add a bacterial additive to your wastewater. This can be done either through your sewer system, or by pouring it into the septic tank. Be sure to follow the instructions on the additive carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does septic system maintenance really matter?
Yes, entire septic system maintenance really does matter. If you don’t maintain your septic systems, it can lead to a variety of problems, including leaks, clogs, and overflows. These problems can be expensive to fix and can cause damage to your property.
Is a concrete tank better than a plastic one?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Some people prefer concrete tanks because they are durable and can last for many years. Others prefer plastic tanks because they are lighter and easier to install. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which type of tank best suits your needs.
How often do you empty a septic tank?
You should have your septic tank pumped every three to five years. This will help prevent any problems, such as clogs or overflows. You should also have your tank inspected regularly to ensure that it is in good condition.
Septic tanks last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, but proper maintenance will help them last even longer. There are a few common problems that can occur, but most of them can be fixed by either yourself, or by a professional.
It is important to have your septic tank inspected every three to five years to make sure that it is in good condition.