Dispelling Septic Tank Myths: Proper Care and Maintenance

Septic systems provide vital waste holding and disposal solutions for homes that are too far away from municipal sewage systems to be feasibly connected. They’re actually pretty widespread in the US, but for all that commonality, there are some surprising myths about them, as well as their proper care and maintenance. It’s vital that any homeowner with a septic system realize the truth and be able to see these myths for what they are.

Tanks Don’t Need to Be Emptied Until They Back Up

The origin of this myth is easy to understand. It falls under the heading of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. The problem is that once the septic system starts to back up, serious problems (including health concerns) can happen. Has your tank been pumped regularly?

You Need to Add Bacteria to the Tank

First, there is some truth to this, but not much. The only time you might need to add extra bacteria to your septic tank is if you’re in a one-person household and don’t use the toilet very often. Otherwise, your waste contains the bacteria needed, without any extra being necessary.

Additives Prevent the Need for Pumping

This one is flat out false. Additives actually don’t do much of anything, much less eliminate the need to pump your tank. In fact, relying on additives rather than a professional service can lead to real problems.

The Tank Is the Most Important Part of the System

The tank might be the largest expense, but the leach field is actually just as important, if not more so. If the leach field is damaged or degraded, it can cause a backup in the tank, and then into the house.

You Can Flush Anything into the Septic Tank without Worrying about It

This is very, very false, and potentially dangerous. Anything you flush down the toilet will eventually make it into the ground around your home. That includes chemicals, toxic substances and much more.

My Septic Tank Should Never Need to Be Replaced

This one seems true, but it’s actually false. While many homeowners will never have to replace their tanks, it’s not because they’re indestructible, but because the owners don’t live in the home long enough. A tank might last about 30 years with the right maintenance, but they don’t last forever.

Pumping Is the Only Maintenance Necessary

This one is also false. While pumping is the most obvious type of maintenance, it can’t do anything for other problems, such as gunk buildup within the sewer pipes of your home. This can cause slow draining, frequent clogging and more. Your sewer pipes need to be professionally maintained as well.

These are just a few of the most common myths regarding septic tanks and the amount of care and maintenance needed. A well maintained tank can last for a long time, but they’re not impervious to either damage or the effects of wear and tear over time.

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