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These are the Common Reasons Septic Tanks Fail


Updated 7/15/22

There are a few things you should be doing for your household septic tank to avoid failure. Managing your septic system correctly throughout the year will ensure that you do not have to deal with it failing when you least expect it to.

Most homeowners have a lot of unanswered questions about their septic system. “How much is a septic holding tank?” is a common question that septic professionals have to answer. The answer is it depends on how large the tank is, if it is one of the newer ecological septic tanks, and where you are located. There are a lot of things to learn about your septic system as it is an important system in your home that needs attention.

Septic tank pumping services and learning all about septic systems, including what you should and should not do, is an easy way to ensure that your septic system stays reliable. The right professional can help keep your system running smoothly and give you the answers that you need. Do your part and learn everything you can do to protect your septic system.

Is there a foul stench rising from your backyard? Is there a swampy patch forming? Is water slow to drain from your tub, shower, or sink? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, chances are good that you’re having problems with your septic system. This is often dread news to the quarter of homes in the United States who use septic systems. However, a call to a septic tank repair company can have things back in working order in no time. That being said though, it’s important to understand what went wrong the first time, so you can take steps to avoiding it in the future. Perhaps you have an old septic tank that’s outdated and you need a newer, bigger tank. Perhaps you have some habits in your lifestyle that yo need to change. We’ll discuss common reasons for septic tank failure and how to avoid them going forward.

What Does My Septic Tank Do?
Your septic tank is part of a septic system. Septic systems are a type of wastewater treatment system and treat and get rid of household wastewater onsite. A septic tank can hold anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 gallons. It’s generally recommended that a four person two bedroom home should have a minimum of a 1,000 gallon tank.

Waste generally settles to the bottom and bacteria help reduce other solid matter. Treated liquid runs off into a septic drain field that further treats the waste.

It’s called a septic tank because of the anaerobic bacteria that’s in the tank, which helps decompose the waste in the tank. Sludge does build up in these tanks though, usually faster than things decompose, so every now and then the sludge has to be removed by professional septic pumping services.

What Causes Septic Tanks to Fail?
One common cause can be chalked up to damage caused by tree roots. Roots are rather persistent in their growth and will burrow through almost anything to continue their expansion. Clay sewer lines and septic tanks can be infiltrated by tree roots, which is a huge hassle.

If your septic tank is too old or hasn’t been properly maintained, it can also stop working. And, overuse of water, flushing non-bio-degradable objects, and using tough chemicals or too much detergent can also cause disaster in your tank.

How Can I Keep My Septic Tank Happy?
If you add any additional plantings to your yard, make sure they’re a safe distance away from your sewer lines or septic tank. If you have an inspection done and a plumber mentions that there might be possible danger to your lines or tank from a tree, think about relocating it — or cutting it down, for the sake of your septic systems.

A too old septic tank should simply be replaced. As far as maintenance goes, getting your tank pumped every three to five years and having your septic systems inspected a minimum of every three years will go a long way to stalling problems.

Be responsible about your water use! Efficient toilets, shower heads, and faucets can help save on water bills and avoid overloading your water tank. Given that on average, a single family home uses 70 gallons of water per person per day, reducing that amount by even a little will keep your septic tank happier.

You should also keep in mind what you’re putting down the drain or flushing. If you have a garbage disposal, use it wisely — it can bump up the amount of solids in your septic tank by as much as 50%, which can overwhelm an older or smaller tank. Never flush hair, sanitary products, coffee grounds, grease, floss, or other material that decomposes at a slower rate. It might clog your pipes and will have a bad effect on your septic system overall.

Chemicals like paint, antifreeze, pesticides, and drain cleaners, among others are huge no-no’s for putting down your drain. They can kill of some of the bacteria that are hard at work breaking down solids in your tank and upset the balance.

Do right by your septic system by keeping these things in mind and practicing regular maintenance.

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