One of the biggest disadvantages of septic systems are the hassles that comes with sewage backup, which is generally a sign of clogging in the tank or drain field pipes. When backups occur, the problem is more serious than a simple household drain clog because the obstruction won’t be found just inches down the drain.
- Septic tanks can be potentially dangerous as they contain various toxic sewer gases which pose health risks when inhaled. Sewage gases are composed mainly of highly toxic methane, especially in high concentrations.
What are the disadvantages of a septic tank?
- Maintenance costs $300-$600 every few years (which can still be cheaper than municipal sewer).
- It can cause groundwater contamination if the system leaks.
- If not maintained, you can have a costly mess on your hands.
- Septic tanks will eventually need to be replaced.
Is septic tank better than sewer?
Although septic systems require a bit more maintenance and attention, they have a number of advantages over sewer lines. Since they don’t pump wastewater long distances to be processed at a water treatment facility, they use less energy overall and have a smaller environmental impact.
Are septic tanks hard to maintain?
Septic system maintenance is not complicated, and it does not need to be expensive. Upkeep comes down to four key elements: Inspect and Pump Frequently. Use Water Efficiently.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
Do septic tanks smell?
A properly-maintained septic tank should be odor-free, so if you notice a bad smell inside your home or outside near the leach field, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. Septic odors are caused by gases in the system, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.
What are the pros and cons of a septic system?
The Pros and Cons of Septic Systems
- Pro: Environmentally friendly.
- Con: Be More mindful of what you flush.
- Pro: Cost effective.
- Con: Routine maintenance.
- Pro: Durability.
- Con: Pipe ruptures.
Can I sell my house with a septic tank?
If you currently have a septic tank that discharges to surface water then the sale will trigger the requirement to replace or upgrade the system. Buyers should satisfy themselves that any system is in good working order and does not cause pollution.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
How many loads of laundry a day are safe to do with a septic tank?
Spread Out Laundry Loads These use less water which puts less stress on your septic system. Regardless of the type of appliance you have, you should still spread out your loads. Instead of doing several loads in one day, consider doing 1 load per day or space out 2 loads if you must do more in a single day.
Does shower water go into septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
How do you know if your septic field is failing?
The first signs of a failing septic system may include slow draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises within the plumbing, sewage odors inside, continuing drainage backups, or bacteria in the well water. The area of the strongest odor will point to the location of the failure in the septic system.
How do septic tanks look?
Septic tanks are typically rectangular in shape and measure approximately 5 feet by 8 feet. In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter.
Should You Avoid a House With a Septic System?
Real estate has traditionally been the preferred investment for people seeking to accumulate long-term wealth for their families and future generations. By subscribing to our complete real estate investment guide, you will receive assistance in navigating this asset class. Whenever you have solid waste in your house, the solution is straightforward: throw it in the trash or compost it. But what about garbage that is liquid in nature? Everyone’s house generates a certain amount of wastewater, and when it comes to disposing of it, there are typically two options: a public sewage line or an on-site septic system.
Even if you’re buying a property with well water, you should consider installing a septic system to keep the water clean.
Or is it a decision you’re more likely than not going to come to regret, whether you’re buying a home for yourself or as an investment in the future?
What is a septic system?
Sewage systems remove wastewater from your house and channel it via a sewer line to be treated at a treatment center. The water is then treated at that facility to remove impurities and make it safe to drink, after which it is returned to the local water system that serves your house and neighborhood. According to the design of a traditional septic system, all of the wastewater that must be removed from your home is routed down a drainage pipe and into an underground septic tank. Septic tanks may be composed of several materials including concrete, fiberglass, and other composite materials.
Solids are allowed to settle to the bottom and form a scum layer.
From there, wastewater is dumped through pipelines into the surrounding soil, where it might filter through.
When you have a sewage system, you will often have a large number of residences that all feed into the same system.
Types of septic systems
In the event that you are unfamiliar with septic tank installation, you can select from a number of various options:
- An example of a conventional septic system is the one described above, which is comprised of a septic tank and drain field. A chamber system is a good choice for an area with poor drainage. With a chamber system, a network of pipes and chambers are enclosed by soil. Microbes in that soil treat wastewater before it is discharged into the environment. Chamber systems may require greater maintenance compared to typical septic systems
- An aerobic system infuses oxygen into the septic tank, which helps add nutrients to the water, and that’s helpful once it starts draining. Again, the upkeep here may be more extensive than with a standard system
- A drip distribution system includes putting pipes in shallow ground soil to transfer treated water away instead of having a drain field. This removes the need for substantial digging – a need when a drain field is involved. However, drip distribution systems can be costlier to install and may require added maintenance
- A sand filter system is essentially a large box filled with sand that water gets filtered through. Like chamber systems, sand systems are appropriate in areas where the water level is naturally high and drainage is poor, and the maintenance involved can also be more extensive
Benefits of a septic system
When you own a septic system, you are responsible for keeping it in good working order. Aside from the financial implications, this might be a positive development because it implies you can avoid difficulties by keeping up with your maintenance. With a municipal sewer system, a sewer pipe can leak or back up, and if the problem is not fixed immediately, you might find yourself with a severe problem on your hands, even if you were not the one who caused the problem. Furthermore, there is usually a price associated with utilizing a public sewer system; often, you will be charged a monthly or quarterly fee.
Moreover, when building a new home from the ground up, it is generally less expensive to install a septic system than it is to pay to have sewer lines installed – this is especially true when your home is located in an area where setting up a sewer connection would necessitate a significant amount of infrastructure investment.
The way septic tanks discharge water into the surrounding soil can encourage plant development, which is beneficial to the environment.
Finally, septic systems have the potential to survive for a very long time if they are designed properly and maintained regularly throughout time. Septic systems have an average life expectancy of 25 to 30 years provided they are properly maintained and serviced.
Drawbacks of a septic system
A septic system, on the other hand, has various drawbacks and costs that you may have to bear in mind while installing one. Aside from the fact that septic systems need to be maintained, You’ll need to pump out your septic tank every three years (or more frequently if necessary) to keep sludge accumulation from becoming too large. The exact timing will be determined on the size of your tank. In addition, you should have your septic system inspected once or twice a year to verify that it is in proper operating condition.
For the most part, this implies that you’re restricted to flushing just human waste and toilet paper into the toilet.
- Items such as paper towels that are thick and absorbent, feminine products, cooking oil or grease, baby wipes, and household chemicals
A septic system also means that you won’t be able to install a garbage disposal under your kitchen sink, because even though that disposal will grind up items to prevent clogged pipes, you don’t want to take the chance that those items will make their way into your septic system and cause an unhealthy buildup. Additionally, when you have a septic system, there are additional landscaping issues to take into mind. In particular, you must avoid planting trees exactly next to your septic system’s drain field; otherwise, the roots of the trees might grow into the drain field and cause the system to cease functioning correctly.
The bottom line on septic systems
A septic system often provides you with the ability to purchase property that has greater acreage and to reap the benefits that come along with that decision. If you’re looking to buy a home as an investment, the presence of additional land might be a significant selling feature. Be careful you understand the type and frequency of maintenance that will be required to keep your septic system up and running. The last thing you want is to find yourself with a pricey situation on your hands that is difficult to resolve.
Buying A House With A Septic Tank: Pros And Cons
Do you want to buy a house, but it has a septic tank, and you’re not sure what to check for when you go looking? Several considerations should be made while looking at a house that has an underground septic system. Here’s what you should do to make sure your septic system is in working order before purchasing a home. Learn about the laws in your area. Septic systems are custom-designed to compliment your property and meet local building codes. These local ordinances may include requirements for septic tank inspection, maintenance, and replacement, among other things.
- If you decide to expand your home and add plumbing, they may also need you to install a larger septic tank to accommodate the additional waste.
- Septic systems must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid complications.
- Their job will be to search for leaks and blockages, identifying possible problems before they become major ones.
- It is recommended that you ask to examine the tank’s inspection history before purchasing a house with a septic tank.
- You must have a general understanding of the septic tank’s technical parameters.
- Additionally, you must be aware of the date it was installed, because septic tanks may need to be updated every 20-40 years.
- Make Preparations for Routine Maintenance A septic tank must be examined, maintained, and emptied on a regular basis in order to avoid problems.
Depending on the size of the tank, this can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 on average.
The distinction is that if you flush something down the toilet that shouldn’t be there, it becomes your responsibility on a septic system.
Pipes that are clogged can leak and sewage can back up into your home as a result of these obstructions.
Understand what may go wrong.
It is possible to create a large amount of mess when there are leaks, broken and clogged pipes, and flooding in a drain field.
Due to an excessive amount of liquid present either within the tank or within the drain field, a tank may fail to drain properly – or at all.
Spot Potential Problems As Soon As They Appear You must be able to recognize a possible problem before it manifests itself as a genuine one. Peculiar scents, unusual plumbing indicators, poor drainage, and backflow into your drains are all indications that your septic tank needs to be inspected.
Buying a Home With a Septic Tank? What You Need to Know
Published in February of this year A septic tank is one of those property features that might make prospective purchasers feel uneasy. A septic tank is a component of a home’s wastewater system that is often found in homes that are not served by municipal sewers. Instead, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, these stand-alone systems are meant to dispose of and treat the wastewater generated by a residence on their own (EPA). For anyone contemplating purchasing a property with a septic system, here are some often asked questions and answers to consider:
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How Does a Septic System Work?
A pipe gathers all of the wastewater from the residence and transports it to an underground septic tank that is completely waterproof. As explained by the Environmental Protection Agency, solids settle to the bottom of the pond while floatable items (known as “scum”) float to the top. Both are confined within the tank, which is emptied on a regular basis by a professional pumper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the middle layer includes liquid wastewater (also known as “effluent”) that exits the tank into a buried drainfield in the yard, where the wastewater disperses into the soil.
Is the Septic System Related to the Drinking Water System?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well to provide water. The septic system, on the other hand, is completely separate from the well. Rather of treating wastewater so that it may be consumed, its objective is to safely distribute it in a manner that prevents pollution.
What Differentiates One Septic System from Another?
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the size of the drainfield and the quality of the soil are the primary factors that distinguish one septic system from another. In addition, the drainfield must be large enough to accommodate the volume of liquid generated by a family. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, do not use a home’s toilet, sink, or disposal as a wastebasket for dental floss, coffee grinds, kitty litter, paint, or chemicals to avoid the chance of blocking the system.
How Often Should You Get Your Septic Tank Emptied?
To remove the sludge and scum from the septic tank, it is necessary to hire a professional to pump it. The frequency is decided by the size of the tank and the degree of activity in the home (how much wastewater is generated). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most septic tanks should be emptied every three to five years. However, certain systems may require more frequent pumping – perhaps once a year if necessary.
What Are the Signs of a Failing Septic Tank?
Aside from routine pumping, the tank should be examined for leaks or obstructions on a regular basis.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, signs of a clogged system include foul odors that appear from time to time and fixtures that drain slowly or gurgle.
What About Maintenance Costs?
The size of the tank and drainfield, the accessibility of the tank, and the distance that waste must be taken for disposal all influence the cost of septic system upkeep. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pumping a tank might cost between $250 and $500.
What Should I Do Before Buying a Home With a Septic System?
Learn about the laws in your state. Some states demand a septic system examination prior to transferring ownership. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one anyhow. As a rule, conventional house inspections do not involve an examination of the septic system. Zillow reports that an inspection may provide a detailed assessment of the system’s integrity, identify whether it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (to minimize contamination), and check the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which could cause damage to the system.
If you do need to replace your system, the cost might vary significantly.
Owning a property with a septic tank does not have to be a frightening experience.
A septic tank is one of those property features that might make prospective purchasers feel uneasy. A septic tank is a component of a home’s wastewater system that is often found in homes that are not served by municipal sewers. Instead, these stand-alone systems are intended to dispose of and treat the wastewater generated by a home on their own time schedule. In the event that you’re thinking about purchasing a property that has a septic system, here are some things you should know:
How common are septic systems?
Actually, septic systems are rather widespread in residential areas. In the United States, such systems (whether shared among numerous families or set up as individual systems) are used by around 25 percent of the population, according to Craig Mains, technical assistant at the National Environmental Services Center at West Virginia University. While most people believe that septic systems are only found in rural areas, they may really be found in urban and suburban settings as well.
So, how does a septic system work?
A pipe gathers all of the wastewater from the residence and transports it to an underground septic tank that is completely waterproof. There, solids (known as “sludge”) settle to the bottom of the tank, and floatable items (known as “scum”) float to the top; both of these materials are trapped by the tank and are pumped out by a professional on a regular basis. The middle layer holds liquid wastewater (also known as “effluent”) that drains from the tank into a buried drainfield in the yard, where the wastewater dissipates into the soil and becomes a part of the environment.
Is the septic system related to the drinking water system?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well to provide water. Although completely separate from the water supply, the septic system serves the same function as the well: it is not intended to process wastewater so that it becomes potable, but rather to distribute it safely in a manner that prevents contamination, according to Mains.
Wells at Lake Tippecanoe must be located at least 50 feet away from septic systems in order to be permitted.
What differentiates one septic system from another?
According to Eric Casey, executive director of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, the size of the drainfield and the soil are important considerations (NOWRA). He explains that liquids, for example, have a more difficult time entering clay soil than sandy soil. In certain instances, the system may be configured in a different way. In addition, the drainfield must be large enough to accommodate the volume of liquid generated by a family. According to Mains, it is best not to utilize a home’s toilet, sink, or disposal as a wastebasket for dental floss, coffee grinds, kitty litter, paint, or chemicals in order to reduce the danger of the system being clogged.
What type of maintenance is involved?
Professional septic tank pumping is necessary to remove the sludge and soap scum, and the frequency of pumping is governed by the tank’s capacity as well as how much activity takes place at the residence (how much wastewater is generated). According to Mains of the National Environmental Services Center, the majority of three-bedroom households should have their 1,500-gallon septic tanks emptied every three to five years. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, certain systems may require more frequent pumping – perhaps once a year in extreme situations.
He notes that signs of a clogged system include foul odors that appear from time to time, as well as fixtures that drain slowly or gurgling when turned on.
He claims that these products can cause harm to the system.
What about maintenance costs?
This is dependent on the size of the tank and drainfield, the accessibility of the tank, and how far away the waste must be taken for disposal. According to Mains, the expense of pumping a 1,500-gallon tank might be $300. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests conducting a search on SepticPages, a directory of more than 30,000 septic specialists administered by an industry magazine, to locate a service professional.
What should I do before buying a home with a septic system?
Learn about the laws in your state. Some states need an examination before a title transfer may be completed. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one anyhow. As a rule, conventional house inspections do not involve an examination of the septic system. An inspection can provide specifics about the system’s status, as well as whether or not it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (to minimize contamination), and whether or not there are any invasive tree roots in the drainfield that could cause harm to the system.
Even though a well-designed and well maintained septic system may last 25 to 30 years, Casey says that if you do need to replace your system, the cost of doing so can be quite expensive.
According to Mains, a traditional (gravity-flow) system may be purchased for as little as $4,000, but an alternative system including electrical or mechanical components can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000.
Where do I go for details?
The Environmental Protection Agency’s SepticSmarts sites are an excellent place to begin. The original source of this story may be found here.
r/homeowners – Is a septic tank really that bad?
In rural areas, your options for waste water management are quite restricted, if at all. The problem comes with older houses that have systems that were built on their own and do not match contemporary engineering standards. Many locations need a septic inspection pass as a condition of sale, meaning that the owner cannot transfer ownership of the property unless the septic system meets local requirements. Where this is not the case, you must protect yourself by making your offer conditional on the completion of a septic inspection, requiring the owner to have the tank emptied out, and having the inspection completed by your expert rather than theirs.
- Make an appointment with the inspector ahead of time since they will frequently want to visit the tank BEFORE and AFTER the pump out to check its performance and condition.
- “The buyer’s acceptance of the offer is contingent to receipt of the septic inspection report, which is at his exclusive and unfettered discretion.
- That’s all.
- 2, Do not fill it up with too much water.
- If you have a modern system that is appropriately sized for your home, this is not an issue; however, if you have an older system, this means doing one load of laundry at night instead of five loads on Saturday.
- – Grass or groundcover is the best option.
- In addition, if your tank contains an outflow filter to prevent sludge from entering the d-box/leach field, you must clean it on a regular basis to avoid any problems.
The 5 Biggest Questions Home Buyers Have About Septic Systems
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com The word “septic system” in a home ad is well-known for scaring away potential purchasers from the property. Some homebuyers may consider the system to be obsolete, expensive to fix, or difficult to keep up to date. Septic systems, on the other hand, do not have to be frightening. A septic tank and its accompanying parts may easily endure for decades if they have a good maintenance record and are properly inspected on a regular basis. Don’t instantly rule out an attractive property because it has this sort of system buried out back if you’re contemplating booking a viewing appointment.
Continue reading to learn more about septic systems, including how they function, common misunderstandings about them, how to maintain them, how to locate a septic system inspector, and indicators that a septic system is in danger of collapsing.
1. How do septic systems work?
Water that has been filtered by a septic system is called effluent. There are several components, including a big septic tank, distribution box, baffles, and a drainfield, all of which are buried below ground. Septic fields and leach fields are other names for the drainfield, which is a network of perforated pipes that extends out from the septic tank and allows filtered wastewater to be released back into the environment through the soil. The wastewater from your home, including that from toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances, is channeled out of the house and into the tank through the pipes.
The accumulation of particles over time offers a luxury home for helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the materials and release the grease, oil, and fats that have accumulated on the surface (the scum).
The residual wastewater (also known as effluent) runs via outlet pipes into a disposal bed or drainfield, where it is slowly and securely filtered by the earth, allowing it to be recycled.
2. What are common misconceptions about septic systems?
A lot of people have misconceptions (and even falsehoods) regarding septic systems, and this may make it difficult to decide whether or not to purchase a property that has one. Take a moment to put some popular myths and misconceptions in their proper perspective.
- A septic system is no longer used by most people. Actually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 20% of homes are equipped with a septic system, or one in every five dwellings. Septic systems fail on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a septic system may survive up to 40 years—and possibly even longer—with proper maintenance. Septic systems have a foul odor. It is unlikely that an improperly managed septic system will release any unpleasant smells. An odor emanating from drains or the septic system itself indicates that there is a problem. A septic system has the potential to pollute a well. Installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis, a system will not cause contamination of a well on the property. To guarantee proper separation of drinking water and wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the system be installed at least 50 feet away from a well. The septic system will be examined during a house inspection. A house inspection is often focused on the systems within the home, and as a result, it seldom includes more than a cursory examination of the septic system. Look for a professional that understands the workings of a septic system and how to do a comprehensive inspection in order to obtain a complete picture.
3. How do you maintain a septic system?
Septic systems require regular care and maintenance in order to function properly. The good news is that keeping a septic system in excellent working order is rather straightforward. Here’s how to keep it in proper functioning order.
- Take cautious with the information you submit over the system. Pouring anything down the toilet should be avoided at all costs. This includes things like paint and chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grinds, disposable wipes, diapers, and feminine products. These are all potential clog-makers in the septic system. It is best not to use any additives in the system. Additives may be classified into two categories, according to the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, which are chemical and biological. Despite the fact that these solutions are touted to accomplish anything from speed solids breakdown to enhance the condition of the drainfield, they typically cause havoc on the bacteria that are intended to keep the system running smoothly. Keep vehicles away from drainfields and never park or drive over them, since this might cause damage to the pipes. When planting shrubs or trees near a drainfield, use caution to avoid damaging the plants. The roots of some water-loving plants, such as weeping willows, can find their way into the drainfield, outlet pipes, or even the septic tank system itself. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, a fair rule of thumb is: if a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
- If a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
- Get your septic tank pumped out by a professional septic provider on average every two or three years. An further visual inspection of the component is often performed at the same time by a qualified specialist
- Call a specialist as soon as you see any signs of impending failure (as indicated below)! The sooner you contact, the less expensive a repair may be
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
4. How do you find the best septic system inspector?
Once an offer on a home is made, the deal is nearly always subject on the outcome of a thorough inspection of the property, which includes an examination of the septic system. Important to remember is that what is stated on a seller’s disclosure form is not a substitute for a thorough inspection of the property being offered for sale. The average homeowner does not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to conduct a thorough inspection of the system. If there are concealed issues, it is possible that the homeowner will not be aware of them.
- One of the most common types of house inspection is a general home inspection, which evaluates the structure of the home, systems within it (such as plumbing and electricity), roof condition, and maybe some of the external features.
- As a result, always seek the services of a septic system specialist for an inspection.
- Your neighbors and real estate agent may be able to provide you with a few decent leads.
- To begin, contact each possible inspector and ask them about their approach to the task; for example, some may use cameras to evaluate the distribution box and drainfield, while others may dig to complete their inspection.
- Once the inspection has begun, the expert will search for pumping and maintenance records, examine for signs of leakage or backup, measure the levels of sludge and scum, and determine the age of the tank, among other things.
- Depending on whether or not the property includes extensions that were built after the septic tank was originally installed, an inspector may give recommendations to make the residence more sanitary.
For example, a two-bedroom home will require a tank of a different capacity than a three-bedroom home will. Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
5. What are the signs that a septic system needs to be replaced?
It is critical to notice the warning symptoms of impending failure before they manifest themselves. For the most part, failure of a septic system goes unnoticed at first. Keeping an eye out for warning indicators will help you arrange a replacement before something goes wrong.
- Gurgling noises coming from outside sewers
- Interior drains in bathtubs and sinks that are slow to drain
- Odors emanate from the sewage treatment plant, drainfield or inside drains of the house. There are wet places visible over the drainfield. Water is backing up into the home from the sewer line. Toilets are flushing more slowly
- This is a problem. A sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of lush and full vegetation over the drainfield might indicate a probable obstruction or break in the exit pipes outside.
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
Septic systems, which are used in around 20% of homes in the United States, are designed to remove effluent from a residence. While septic systems may need a bit more maintenance than utilizing a public sewage system, they are not nearly as difficult to maintain as their reputation would have you believe. A well-maintained septic system may survive up to 40 years if it is inspected on a regular basis and kept on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. It is critical for homebuyers contemplating a property with a septic system to have the system inspected by a professional before making an offer.
FAQs About Septic Tanks and Septic Systems
When it comes to septic systems, there is a lot to understand. Even after reviewing the information provided above, you may still have concerns regarding how septic systems operate and how to properly manage them. Answers to some frequently asked questions concerning septic systems are provided here.
Q: How does a septic tank work?
When sewage is discharged into a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it is colonized by helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the solids and liberate the lipids contained within them. The byproducts rise to the surface of the tank and are separated by a series of baffles.
Q: What are the three types of septic systems?
Traditional septic systems are classified into three types: chamber septic systems, drip distribution systems, and septic systems with chambers. In most cases, conventional systems are employed in residential buildings. Typically, a chamber system is used in high water table settings due to the fact that it is comprised of a succession of closed compartments. Drip systems are often less difficult to install, but they require more upkeep.
Q: How many years does a septic system last on average?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well managed septic system may survive for 40 years. It is essential that you get the septic system evaluated before to purchasing a property so that you can get an estimate of how long the septic system is projected to operate.
Q: What is the alternative to a septic tank?
An aerobic treatment system, composting waste, and a drip system are all options for replacing a septic tank in a residential setting.
Q: What chemicals are bad for a septic tank?
The use of chemicals such as oil-based paint, paint thinners, lubricants, gasoline, weed killers, foaming cleansers, and chlorine-based cleaners can cause damage to your septic tank. They have the potential to pollute the surrounding environment as well as destroy the bacteria that are necessary for waste breakdown inside the septic tank, making it difficult or impossible for matter to degrade. Septic systems are well-understood by professionals. Link up with reputable professionals in your region and obtain free, no-obligation quotations for your project.+
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the effluent.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Signs of Septic System Failure
- Water and sewage from toilets, drains, and sinks are backing up into the home
- Bathtubs, showers, and sinks drain very slowly
- Gurgling sounds in the plumbing system
- Standing water or damp spots near the septic tank or drainfield
- Bad odors around the septic tank or drainfield
- Bright green, spongy lush grass over the septic tank or drainfield, even during dry weather
- Algal blooms in nearby ponds or lakes
- High levels of nitrates or coliform bacteria in water wells
Septic systems, like the majority of other components of your house, require regular maintenance. As long as it is properly maintained, the septic system should give years of dependable service. If the septic system is not properly maintained, owners face the risk of having a dangerous and expensive failure on their hands. Septic systems, on the other hand, have a limited operating lifespan and will ultimately need to be replaced. Septic systems that have failed or are not working properly pose a threat to human and animal health and can damage the environment.
It is possible that a prompt response will save the property owner money in repair costs, as well as disease and bad influence on the environment in the future.
What happens when a septic system fails?
When a septic system fails, untreated sewage is dumped into the environment and carried to places where it shouldn’t be. This may cause sewage to rise to the surface of the ground around the tank or drainfield, or it may cause sewage to back up in the pipes of the structure. It is also possible that sewage will make its way into groundwater, surface water, or marine water without our knowledge. Pathogens and other potentially harmful substances are carried by the sewage. People and animals can become ill as a result of exposure to certain diseases and pollutants.
What are some common reasons a septic system doesn’t work properly?
The pipe between the home to the tank is obstructed. When this occurs, drains drain very slowly (perhaps much more slowly on lower floors of the structure) or cease draining entirely, depending on the situation. This is frequently a straightforward issue to resolve. The majority of the time, a service provider can “snake the line” and unclog the problem. Keeping your drains clear by flushing only human waste and toilet paper down the drain and having your system examined on an annual basis will help prevent clogs.
- Plant roots might occasionally obstruct the pipe (particularly on older systems).
- The inlet baffle to the tank is obstructed.
- In case you have access to your intake baffle aperture, you may see if there is a blockage by inspecting it.
- It is essential that you avoid damaging any of the septic system’s components.
- Avoid clogging your inlet baffle by just flushing human waste and toilet paper, and get your system examined once a year to ensure that it is in good working order.
- This may result in sewage backing up into the residence or surfacing near the septic tank as a result of the situation.
- If there is an effluent filter, it has to be cleaned or changed as necessary.
Preventing this sort of problem from occurring is as simple as cleaning your effluent filter (if you have one) and getting your system examined once per year.
It is possible for sewage to back up into the residence when the drainfield collapses or becomes saturated with water.
Additionally, smells may be present around the tank or drainfield.
It is possible that the system was run incorrectly, resulting in an excessive amount of solid material making its way to the drainfield and causing it to fail prematurely.
While it is conceivable that a drainfield will get saturated due to excessive quantities of water (either from enormous volumes of water flowing down the drain or flooding the drainfield), it is not always viable to dry out and restore a drainfield.
A connection to the public sewer system should be explored if the drainfield has failed and it is possible to make the connection.
It will be necessary to replace the existing drainfield if this does not take place. It is possible for a septic system to fail or malfunction for various reasons. Septic professionals should be contacted if your system isn’t functioning correctly.
How can I prevent a failure?
The proper operation of your septic system, together with routine maintenance, can help it last a long and trouble-free life. Assuming that your septic system has been correctly planned, located, and installed, the rest is up to you to take care of. Inspect your system once a year and pump as necessary (usually every 3-5 years). Avoid overusing water, and be mindful of what you flush down the toilet and what you flush down the drain. Learn more about how to properly maintain your septic system.
Can my failing septic system contaminate the water?
Yes, a failed septic system has the potential to pollute well water as well as adjacent water sources. Untreated wastewater is a health problem that has the potential to cause a variety of human ailments. Once this untreated wastewater enters the groundwater, it has the potential to poison your well and the wells of your neighbors. It is possible that oyster beds and recreational swimming sites will be affected if the sewage reaches local streams or water bodies.
Is there financial help for failing systems or repairs?
Yes, there are instances where this is true. Here are a few such alternatives.
- In addition, Craft3 is a local nonprofit financial organization that provides loans in many counties. Municipal Health Departments- Some local health departments provide low-interest loan and grant programs to qualified applicants. A federal home repair program for people who qualify is offered by the USDA.
- Septic System 101: The Fundamentals of Septic Systems
- Taking Good Care of Your Septic System
- A video on how to inspect your septic system yourself
- Using the Services of a Septic System Professional
- Safety of the Septic Tank Lid
8 Signs of Septic System Failure
Septic tanks are an important resource for both homeowners and the surrounding community. Its goal is to store domestic wastewater in an underground chamber where it may be treated at a basic level. They are generally composed of plastic, fiberglass, and concrete and serve as a sewage disposal system for the home or business owner. Sewage can leak underground and move upward in the earth if a septic unit fails, which can cause flooding. Not only may this result in serious plumbing issues, but it can also pose a health threat over time.
If that’s the case, these are the eight indicators of a failing septic system.
1. Septic System Backup
Everything that has to do with plumbing in your home is tied to your septic system. Sewage and wastewater will no longer be able to enter the tank if your septic system malfunctions or becomes overburdened. Instead, it will remain in the pipes until it begins to rise to the surface again. Sewage and wastewater back up into sinks, drains, and even into your toilet as a result of this condition. A clogged septic tank is the most obvious indicator of a failing system. You should contact a qualified plumber as soon as you discover this symptom to get it repaired.
2. Slow Drains
Slow drainage might also be caused by a clogged septic tank. For example, if a septic tank is completely filled, it will no longer actively collect wastewater from the ground. This implies that your pipes will become blocked with sewage and will be unable to drain your plumbing appliances properly. Your drains will become naturally sluggish in draining water or other liquids, as a result of this phenomenon. Even if you utilize the best gear available to unclog your drain, you will not be successful since the fundamental problem is located in the septic tank.
Having slow drains is the first sign of an imminent septic system backup, which occurs when your drains cease to function at all and wastewater backs up into your home.
3. Gurgling Sounds
When using plumbing appliances, you should also be on the lookout for any unusual sounds that may occur. For example, if you flush your toilet and hear strange gurgling sounds, you should call a plumber right once to assess the situation. Toilets generally emit water-related sounds that subside once the flushing cycle is completed. If, on the other hand, you hear sounds that sound like an upset stomach, you may have a serious problem. If you are hearing gurgling noises coming from your drains, the same logic applies.
4. Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield
It is no longer possible to absorb wastewater in a septic tank when it is damaged or fails. This indicates that wastewater will naturally seep out of the earth as a result of the groundwater table. It has the potential to create a significant pool of wastewater near the drain field, as well as cause dampness in the same area. These are the most obvious indications of a failing septic system, and they should not be ignored. A pool of water near the drainfield will often appear as if it has been raining on your lawn for an extended period of time.
If you have reason to believe that your septic tank is full or broken, make a point of actively looking for these signs.
5. Nasty Odors
One such tell-tale indicator of a failing septic system is the development of foul odors near the drainfield and plumbing equipment. If you notice strong and nasty scents when you walk outdoors and tread onto your grass, it is possible that your septic tank has failed. If the bad aromas emanating from your house are the same as those emanating from the office, you can reach a similar conclusion. It is likely that sewage has entered your home through the drainfield and into your main drain line, resulting in these foul odors.
6. Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield
Have you ever seen people applying mulch, fertilizers, and manure to their lawns in order to encourage it to grow more quickly? It is possible that sewage has the same features as manure, namely that it contains nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients that plants can use to thrive. When you see exceptionally green grass near your drainfield, it is likely that wastewater is leaking into your lawn from the drainfield itself. Due to the fact that grass is naturally green, identifying this symptom might be difficult.
Pay close attention to your drainfield in order to identify this problem before it becomes too serious.
7. Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water
If you live near a body of water, such as a lake or pond, keep an eye out for unexpected algal blooms that appear out of nowhere. Due to the fact that most individuals regard the appearance of algae to be a regular occurrence, diagnosing this symptom can also be difficult.
Algal blooms, on the other hand, occur when a huge concentration of algae forms in a body of water. They appear to be artificial and to be the result of excessive algal contamination in the water. When wastewater is present, it might lead to the growth of algae that is aberrant.
8. High Levels of Coliform in Water Well
A neighboring water well may also be able to identify abnormal amounts of coliform bacteria as well as high quantities of nitrogen dioxide (nitrogen dioxide). However, if your septic system fails, the water in your well will get contaminated with bacteria and harsh chemicals by effluent from the surrounding area. Give Us a Call Right Now! Any problems with your septic tank now occupy your thoughts? If this is the case, please contact us at (941) 721-4645 to talk with a member of our staff. You may also learn more about our septic services by visiting this page.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have any other queries concerning septic systems? Please let us know. If this is the case, you may find a comprehensive list of FAQs farther down on this page.
How much do septic system repair services cost?
- A septic system repair service might cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 in labor and materials. The ultimate cost is determined by the extent of the task, the number of hours worked, and other factors.
Can a septic drainfield be repaired?
- Even though there is no quick remedy for drainfield repair, it is achievable if you employ an expert plumber or septic system specialist.
How often do septic systems need to be replaced?
- Septic systems may endure for more than 40 years if they are properly maintained. Every three years, the average septic tank should be examined and pumped out in order to avoid long-term problems and septic system failure.
Should You Buy a House with a Septic Tank? Septic Tank 101 (updated:February 2022)
Is it a problem that my house has a septic tank? If you grew up in a house that was connected to the city sewer system, a home with a septic tank and septic system will appear a little strange at first. However, as you get used to it, you’ll be able to tell the difference. However, it is not the end of the world if you understand a few basic concepts first. Especially in remote locations where there isn’t the infrastructure for a comprehensive water treatment system, this is a fairly prevalent situation.
What is a septic tank?
A septic tank is a type of wastewater treatment system that is installed in your home. Essentially, it is a tank composed of concrete, polyethylene (hard plastic), or fiberglass that is used to collect all of the liquids and garbage generated by a family. The water that flows from your sink, toilet, bathtub or washing machine will pass through your tank as it goes down the drain. The liquid is then periodically emptied from the concrete septic tank, either by a pump in the home (which only removes liquid) or through the use of a septic truck, which removes both liquid and trash.
How do I know if I have a septic tank?
Aseptic tanks and cesspools are the most likely options if you don’t have a sewage line hookup in your home or business. The capacity of this tank may range from 750 to 1315 gallons. The distinction between cesspools and septic tank systems is important to understand since cesspools are often older and will have more issues to address when purchasing a home with a cesspool.
What is the purpose of a septic tank?
Septic tanks, similar to acesspooldoes, are designed to collect all of the liquid waste and matter generated by a house when a sewer connection is not accessible to the home. The septic tank keeps the material until it is drained out by a septic truck or until the greywater is pumped out to a septic field or drain field, depending on how it was constructed. This is a region where the greywater from the home is returned to the water table for an extended length of time, usually many months.
How does a septic tank work?
The following is an explanation of how a septic tank works. The septic tank is the final destination of everything that goes down the drain in your home. In the same way that waste from a sewage system would end up in a septic tank, any liquids or solids that flow through your washing machine, dishwasher, toilet, bath, shower, or trash disposal end up in your septic tank. The water that flows down your drain pipes passes via your septic tank and drainage field. The difference between this and a septic tank system is that they all end up in the same tank ultimately and don’t go anyplace until much later in the system’s lifespan.
Seepage is the term used to describe the combination of the three factors mentioned above.
While the sludge settles and scum builds on the surface of the liquid, the liquid is transferred to a secondary compartment. The liquid wastewater from the second compartment is pumped to a drain field on a regular basis in the first compartment.
What are the contents of a septic tank?
Wastewater, sludge, and scum are the three types of materials that go into the tank. The sewage from the home is channeled into the tank, where the solids settle to the bottom and the scum rises to the surface; this scum seems just as you would expect it to. it appears to be scum. Septic tank effluent is the liquid wastewater contained within the middle compartment, which eventually drains into a second compartment and finally onto your leach field after passing through your leach field filter (drainage field, or septic field, depending on where you live).
More information about septic tank pumping may be found here.
Septic Tank Diagram
This diagram will provide you with a better understanding of how a normal septic system operates.
How much does a septic tank cost?
The cost of installing a typical septic tank will vary depending on the size of the tank. Tank and system prices normally vary between $4,000 and $10,000, although prices can climb significantly depending on the circumstances.
What about solid waste?
During their stay in the tank, the solids decompose, but over time, they accumulate and accumulate further. You will need to contact a septic truck to come and pump out your tank as soon as it fills up, which may be every week for some households that do not have a method of disposing of their wastewater into a drain field, or once a year or even three to four years depending on usage, circumstance, and the size of your tank.
Can you flush toilet paper in a septic tank?
If you have a flush toilet, you may flush toilet paper down into the tank. But that’s all there is to it. When you have a tank toilet, you cannot flush paper towels, dental floss, disposable diapers, cat litter, feminine products, or any other non-biodegradable items down the toilet since they will not decompose and will block the pipe, causing a clog.
Do you need to use special toilet paper for a septic tank?
It is preferable to use toilet paper that is safe for septic systems. Although it is intended to be flushed, the variety of other items that people flush down the toilet can cause the tank to get clogged as a result. Too much toilet paper flushed at once can cause a clog in any toilet, requiring you to unclog it.
What does a septic tank mean for my budget?
If you have a tank, you’ll need to budget for the cost of having it pumped out. Finding a septic service is a very simple process. It’s probable that your neighbors have one, and there may even be a sticker on the tank, or you may look for a septic tank cleaning service in your area on the internet. When your septic tank becomes overflowing, you will be required to pay for a pumping and cleaning service. Pumping costs will vary based on the size of your tank and the frequency with which it is pumped from a financial standpoint.
Every year, we have it pumped.
Make certain to inquire about this before submitting an offer on the property. Take a look at What you need to know about holding tanks versus septic tanks
What affects the cost of pumping a septic tank?
There are a variety of factors that might influence the pumping out of your septic tank.
- There are two factors to consider: the location of your home and whether or not the truck must travel a considerable distance to get there and dispose of the garbage
- And any additional fees that are levied as a result of these factors. The tank’s position on the property is also a source of contention. Do you know if it’s easily accessible, or if there are any barriers in the way that need to be cleared away, such as trees, dirt, or other large things
- Is it possible to remove the lid simply, and is there a riser in place? It is possible that you will be charged for the time it takes to remove the lid if you do not do so. If the tank’s lid does not protrude from the ground, or if the tank’s access point has been completely buried by the earth, it may be necessary to dig the tank and install a riser system. This will result in the payment of an excavation fee based on either a flat or an hourly cost determined by your chosen commercial septic firm and the resources required
- Is it simple to locate the tank? If you’ve lived in the area for a long time, you’re definitely familiar with the location of your tank. For new homeowners, it is possible that they will not be aware of the location of the tank on their acre of property and that the septic tank business will require a significant amount of time to identify it. By doing a little research, asking around, and checking municipal records, it is possible to avoid being charged.
What is a leaching field?
An underground leaching field, also known as a septic field or a drain field, is a field where the greywater from the tank is pumped out and eventually flows back into the water table. Leaching fields make things easier and less expensive since the tank disperses rather than contains effluent, enabling the tank to be used for longer periods of time between cleanings and reducing maintenance costs. Due to the presence of a leaching field in your system, you are able to efficiently eliminate grey water from your system, reducing the frequency with which you must call a septic specialist to come and pump your tank.
Because we had more than an acre of property, we were able to meet the demands of the surrounding community.
Aerobic Septic System
Aerobic septic systems are a type of system that refers to a system that treats waste using aerobic processes. Essentially, these water treatment systems function as a miniature sewage treatment plant, except that they employ an aerobic process to break down sewage rather than an anaerobic process, such as the sort that is used in typical septic systems.
How is an aerobic septic system different from a normal septic system?
Aeration systems make advantage of the aerobic treatment of sewage in the tank to break down the particles present in the wastewater, so providing further processing to the wastewater (effluent). Similar to a conventional tank, aerobic bacteria in the effluent break down biological waste, and the residual particles fall to the bottom of the tank, just as in a conventional tank. This is the sludge that has to be removed from the tank on a regular basis when it fills up. The cleaning or disinfection of the wastewater is the next stage of the aerobic process, in which chlorine is employed to disinfect the water and produce an output that is termed antiseptic.
- These chemicals are used to disinfect the effluent after it has been subjected to this treatment.
- There are a variety of local rules that may need to be adhered to, so be sure to check first.
- This means that, in some cases, the area of a drainage field might be reduced by a factor of two.
- Read our Nellie’s Laundry Soda Review (it’s septic safe!) for more information.
Septic System Maintenance Plan
Consult with a septic tank cleaning professional to devise a preventative maintenance plan for your system. All tanks and houses are unique in their own way. One of the most important things you can do is to consult with your cleaning specialist and establish a maintenance routine. This should be created in order to ensure that your tank continues to function effectively and that the lifespan of your septic leach field is extended. Failure of the leach field due to improper tank maintenance will result in greater expenditures in the future.
Having your tank pumped on a regular basis is also a smart method to keep your house from smelling like an aseptic tank. Another suggestion is to use toilet paper that is safe for septic systems. Here are the finest toilet paper brands that are suitable for septic systems.
Septic Tank Camouflage
In the grand scheme of things, having a gigantic circle perched atop your lawn is a little unsightly. You are constantly reminded of where your sewage is located, and it is an eyesore in your yard and yardscape. You’re trapped with it, just like you’re stuck with that rear projection TV in your basement. So, what are your options? If your septic tank cover is protruding from the ground and you want to conceal that bulky piece of plastic in your yard, a faux rock cover is the perfect solution.
In most cases, these types of rocks are very evident to be made of plastic, but the ones from Dekorra are truly remarkable.
Septic Tank Insurance
It’s usually a good idea to double-check that your house insurance policy includes coverage for your tank. Problems with the tank are most frequently seen when the pump breaks and the tank begins to overflow into the home. This generally occurs at the lowest drain, such as a shower or bathtub (here’s a guide on how to unclog a bathtub, read it before you need to know how to do it). The best course of action is to contact your insurance carrier and inquire as to whether or not your policy covers septic system failure and sewage backup.
It’s an additional expense, but pumps fail, and it’s better to have something than to take a chance.
However, it’s important to know how long your pump will last and to consult with your tank specialist about when it should be changed and whether or not you are currently ready for a replacement.
How long do septic tanks last?
The average lifespan of a septic tank is 20-30 years before it has to be replaced. If you are getting close to this stage, you may want to think about the additional expenditures that will be associated with rebuilding your septic system.
Tips for your Septic Systems
One of the most common septic tank issues is an excessive amount of water entering the tank. Using a trash disposal in your home will significantly reduce the amount of time between septic tank cleanings, as all of the waste is still solid and will fill up your tank more faster than with a manual disposal. According to some accounts, garbage disposals can cause a septic tank to fill up three times faster than if the disposal is not used. Planting trees around your tank is not recommended since the roots of the trees may intrude into the tank.
Another piece of advice is to be on the lookout for leaks.
To get such problems resolved as soon as possible is a good idea. Otherwise, you will be required to pay for further cleanings. Find a Septic System Professional in Your Area by Clicking Here.
Final Thoughts on Houses with Septic Tanks
It may seem like a lot to take in at once, but keeping a house with a septic tank in good working order is rather simple as long as you don’t flush anything that shouldn’t be flushed. An effective filter installed prior to your pump can help to prevent many of the problems.Click Here to Locate a Local Septic System Professional