Reviews & Guide

7 Common Septic System Myths You Need to Know

Are Septic Tank Bad?

Have you ever been tempted to flush a whole pound of yeast down your toilet mostly because your friend said it will save you a lot of money on your septic system maintenance bills?  There’s so much misinformation out there these days and the last thing you do is for your bathroom toilet to flood, ruining the whole ground-level floor of your home. You don’t want your septic plumbing to become an issue. Some myths about septic systems and septic pumping  include the following:

1.  You’ll Never Have to Replace Your Septic System If It’s Well Maintained

Your septic tank’s longevity isn’t something that will last forever. A lot of people will tell you that your septic system needs to be changed at least every 20 years, while other people say that it can last a lifetime if you properly maintain them. The truth is mostly in the middle of both of those answers.

Clean green septic tank

No matter how well you maintain your septic system, the tank will have to be replaced at some point in time. But if you neglect maintenance of your septic tank the chances are it will last all little over 5 years. However, if you have regular tank pump outs, and efficient water use, while utilizing appropriate waste disposal and making sure you maintain drain maintenance, you can expect your septic system to work for over 20 to 30 years.

2.  Utilizing Additives Means Pump-Outs Aren’t Necessary

You need to pump out your septic tank ideally every 2-3 years for the normal functioning of your septic system. These usually occur when there is a solid waste in the tank that reaches between 30% and 50% of the total storage capacity.

Professionals will have to empty the tank and ensure it’s absolutely clear of all solid waste that can accumulate at the very bottom of the tank and the lightweight sludge that floats at the top of the surface of the tank.

Without regular pump-outs, you will eventually have to deal with expensive repair bills, unwanted clogs, and a significant reduction in your system’s lifespan. Many people think additives will eliminate the need for this process. The whole idea is that the microbes and enzymes can be added to your septic system to enable the overall breakdown of sewage waste.

a man pumping or cleaning septic tank

However, they can interfere with the solids settling and end up corroding the tank walls and leaching harmful chemicals into the drain field. Unless you want wastewater backing up into your house, just stick to regular pump-outs and do not try to do them yourself. There are strict regulations in place on how to handle the disposal of solid waste. You need to hire a septic tank cleaner to eradicate the problem.

3.  A Full Tank Needs Pumping

Even though your septic tank is full doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to have it pumped. Even after having your septic tank pumped an average-sized family will fill up a septic tank up to around 12 inches within 1 week.

4.  Repairing A Tank Is Preferable to Pumping Out the Tank

If you are tight on money, you may think that it’s okay to put off getting a scheduled pump-out on your septic system. However, you fail to realize just how expensive the mess would be if it overflowed.

To pump out a septic system usually only costs a few hundred dollars, however, a backed-up system can cause not only unsanitary hazards but can cost up to $1700. Once you start smelling odors from your drains or you’re having trouble flushing your toilet this can signal that there has been damage done already. This can also cause you to have to call in a septic tank installation company to completely replace your entire septic system.

5.  You Can’t Repair a Clogged System

If your septic system gets clogged, you may think that the only option you have is to replace it or the entire system. However, it all depends on where and why the clogging has occurred, there is a pressure washing technique called jetting that can often clear out the system so it continues to function correctly.

Jetting involves a high-pressure water pump through your septic pipelines to unclog the debris. However, it won’t be able to take care of massic clogs or if there are problems in the system pipelines using this technique. And this technique isn’t right for pipes that are made of fragile clay rather than rigid PVC.

You should contact a local septic tank repair specialist to get advice on what to do to unclog your system. They have specialized equipment they can use to help dislodge the clog if you don’t have the right kind of pipes. If this specific technique isn’t done the right way it can cause extensive damage to the pipeline and cause groundwater quality problems.

6.  Seeding Your Tank Is Beneficial

Seeding involves getting good bacteria growth started in a newly pumped system to essentially break down the waste. In order to do this some people will suggest that you dump a pound of yeast or some manure or even dead pests down your toilets.

This method is useless and entirely unnecessary. Once you flush the regular waste down the toilet it’s just enough to introduce the beneficial bacteria that are needed to kick-start the system.

7.  You Can Flush Most Things Down The Drain

Most septic systems are relatively robust, but that doesn’t mean you can flush just about anything down your toilets. They are specifically designed to handle only two things: wastewater and sewage.

Anything beyond toilet paper and standard wastewater should never enter your septic system. Even flushing bleach and stronger disinfectant cleaners down your toilets and drains can upset the balance of the beneficial microbes that are needed to break down the sewage. Anything from coffee grounds, feminine hygiene products, cat litter, grease, or oil are problematic items that should never be flushed down toilets or drains.

All of these items can lead to blockages, irreparable tank malfunctions, and pipe damage, and can release toxins or dangerous bacteria into the environment of the septic tank.

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