- What Does a Septic Tank Look Like? From the outside, an underground septic tank usually looks like a large metal or plastic box. You can usually distinguish these septic systems by the distinct inspection pipes on top of the box, often covered by green caps.
How does a septic system look like?
People with sepsis often develop a hemorrhagic rash—a cluster of tiny blood spots that look like pinpricks in the skin. If untreated, these gradually get bigger and begin to look like fresh bruises. These bruises then join together to form larger areas of purple skin damage and discoloration.
Where is a septic system usually located?
Your septic tank will most certainly be installed along the main sewer line that runs out of your home. Look for the 4-inch sewer that exits the crawl space or basement, and locate the same spot outside the home. Septic tanks are usually located between ten to 25 feet away from the home.
What are the 3 types of septic systems?
Types of Septic Systems
- Septic Tank.
- Conventional System.
- Chamber System.
- Drip Distribution System.
- Aerobic Treatment Unit.
- Mound Systems.
- Recirculating Sand Filter System.
- Evapotranspiration System.
Do septic tanks drain into the ground?
Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.
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?
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.
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 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.
How big of a septic tank do I need?
The larger your home, the larger the septic tank you’re going to need. For instance, a house smaller than 1,500 square feet usually requires a 750 to 1,000-gallon tank. On the other hand, a bigger home of approximately 2,500 square feet will need a bigger tank, more than the 1,000-gallon range.
How often should a septic tank be pumped?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?
The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.
What to do after septic is pumped?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
Do you need to pump both sides of a septic tank?
Septic tanks installed after the late 1980s have two compartments, and it is important to pump out both compartments each time. Most homeowners are unaware when their septic tank has two compartments; some companies use that to their advantage, charging to pump both sides of the tank but only actually pumping out one.
Types of Septic Systems
Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.
- Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.
This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.
Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.
Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.
Gravelless drainfields have been regularly utilized in various states for more than 30 years and have evolved into a standard technology that has mostly replaced gravel systems. Various configurations are possible, including open-bottom chambers, pipe that has been clothed, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. Gravelless systems can be constructed entirely of recycled materials, resulting in considerable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during their lifetime. The chamber system is a type of gravelless system that can be used as an example.
The key advantage of the chamber system is the enhanced simplicity with which it can be delivered and built.
This sort of system is made up of a number of chambers that are connected to one another.
Wastewater is transported from the septic tank to the chambers through pipes. The wastewater comes into touch with the earth when it is contained within the chambers. The wastewater is treated by microbes that live on or near the soil.
Drip Distribution System
An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.
Aerobic Treatment Unit
Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.
ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.
Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.
Recirculating Sand Filter System
Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.
However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.
Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.
Constructed Wetland System
Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. Typically, a wetland cell is constructed with an impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the necessary wetland plants, all of which must be capable of withstanding the constant saturation of the surrounding environment.
As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.
Cluster / Community System
In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.
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:
- Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are typically found in rural locations that lack access to centralized sewage systems. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-proven technology. One of the most common types of wastewater treatment systems is comprised of two parts: the septic tank and the drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic materials and extract floatable substances (such as oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater. These systems discharge the liquid (referred to as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in the soil or into chambers or other specific devices designed to gently release the effluent into the soil over time. 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, and phosphorus, among other contaminants. Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the waste.
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
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.
It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.
Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we?
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
When gravel is used to surround pipes, water can run into the soil and oxygen can reach germs. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt. 9. Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Garbage that decomposes slowly (or not at all) is flushed down the toilet. Troublesome substances such as cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are frequently seen. Solid waste disposal systems, when utilized often, have the potential to overflow their capacity. In the washing machine, lint made of synthetic fibers floats. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank or drain septic field. Disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps are examples of household chemicals that destroy bacteria.
- It is impossible to fill the tank with enough wastewater in a short amount of time without overflowing the tank.
- Sludge that has accumulated in the drain field might overflow as well.
- Branches and bushes’ roots can obstruct and cause harm to a drainage field.
- Most of the time, this is caused by automobiles driving or parking in the drain field.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Drains are used to flush waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all common sources of irritation. Garbage disposers, when utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. During the washing process, synthetic fiber lint is released. Bacteria in the tank and drain septic field are unable to degrade it; Bacteria are killed by household chemicals such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, however the less you use them, the better; A large amount of wastewater discharged in a short period of time causes the tank to empty too quickly.
Sludge that has accumulated in the drain field can also overflow into the drain field.
Because compacted soil and gravel prevent effluent seepage and deprive microorganisms of oxygen, they are considered to be environmentally harmful.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata. The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank.
(It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.
Solution for a clogged septic system
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drainage field pipes. Inquire with your contractor about installing an effluent filter on the outflow line from your storage tank. In addition to labor, it will likely cost $50 to $100. In order to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, this device must be cleaned out by a contractor on an as-needed basis.
Get an inspection
Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.
A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.
Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.
As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
Alternatives to a new drain field
If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
Protect your drain septic field from lint
When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.
Don’t overload the septic system
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field.
Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
What Does a Septic Tank Look Like?
A common mistake made by homeowners is to ignore the septic system that serves their property. After all, because this portion of the home is buried underneath, it is difficult to view it from the outside. However, you should not underestimate the importance of a septic system since, without one, your home would be continually flooded from the inside. You’re interested in learning more about the septic system and how a septic tank functions. What Is the Appearance of a Septic Tank? It is the septic tank that is at the core of every system.
It is also the biggest component of the septic system, and it is responsible for storing all of the wastewater that is generated by your home.
The fact that it is buried beneath the ground means that you have very little opportunity to see it.
What Does it Look Like?
A septic tank is a huge underground container that is used to hold the waste water generated by your home’s plumbing system. As explained by the professionals at septictank.com, there are above-ground and subterranean septic tanks, however some properties have underground septic tanks that are covered with cement. Despite the fact that traditional underground tanks require more maintenance, they take up less room in the yard. Above-ground septic tanks, on the other hand, are less difficult to clean, but they are more noticeable and take up more area in your yard.
- The aerobic septic system is the first of them.
- This type of septic tank breaks down solid waste in your water significantly more quickly, resulting in sludge.
- These are located above ground and are in charge of supplying oxygen to the tank by pumping it from the atmosphere.
- When opposed to a traditional septic system, an aerobic septic system has more chambers and moving components since it uses aerobic bacteria.
- The basic septic tank is nothing more than a large chamber storing wastewater, with no above-ground infrastructure.
- Scum is the accumulation of grease and oil at the top of the wastewater, which is referred to as scum.
This makes it possible for specialists to simply clean and pump your septic system without having to dig them up from beneath the ground surface. Pumps are placed in the access risers at the top of the access risers, which have detachable covers.
How to Find the Septic Tank in Your Home?
A septic tank is a huge underground container that is used to store the water waste generated by your home. It is located beneath your home. With accordance with the specialists at septictank.com, there are above-ground and subterranean septic tanks, although some properties have underground septic tanks that are coated in cement rather than concrete. Despite the fact that typical underground tanks are more difficult to maintain, they require less room in the yard. Aside from the fact that they are visible and take up valuable space in your yard, above-ground septic tanks are also simple to maintain.
- The aerobic septic system is the first of these systems to be discussed in more detail.
- Sludge is formed considerably more quickly in this type of septic tank since it is designed to break down solid waste in your water.
- It is their responsibility to pump oxygen into the tank, and they are situated above ground.
- When compared to a traditional septic system, an aerobic septic system has more chambers and moving components since it is more efficient.
- The ordinary septic tank is nothing more than a massive chamber storing wastewater, with no above-ground infrastructure.
- Scum is formed at the top of the wastewater due to the accumulation of grease and oil.
- This makes it possible for specialists to effortlessly clean and pump your septic system without having to dig them out from beneath the earth first.
- A septic tank is a big underground container that is used to hold the wastewater generated by your home. According to specialists at septictank.com, there are above-ground septic tanks as well as underground septic tanks that are coated with cement. Despite the fact that traditional underground tanks require more maintenance, they occupy less space in the yard. Above-ground septic tanks, on the other hand, can be cleaned quickly and easily, but they are conspicuous and take up valuable space in your yard. There are two sorts of septic tanks, and the appearance of each is dependent on the type of tank you currently have. The aerobic septic system is the earliest of these systems. Extra air is introduced into the water in this form of septic tank, which speeds up the filtration process. This type of septic tank is substantially more efficient at turning solid waste in your water into sludge. Aside from the septic tank, aerobic septic systems are equipped with a mechanism that allows oxygen to be pumped down into the soil. These are situated above ground and are in charge of supplying oxygen to the tank using a pump. The pipes from the above-ground installation go straight below the wastewater, allowing the oxygen to be drawn up from beneath the effluent. When compared to a standard septic system, an aerobic septic system has more chambers and moving components since it is more complex. It is a more complex system that is more effective at removing waste. The normal septic tank is merely a large compartment for wastewater, and there are no above-ground installations. The bacteria colonies in the tank will be the sole ones responsible for dissolving the solid waste present in the wastewater. Scum is the accumulation of grease and oil on the surface of the effluent. Both types of septic tanks are equipped with access risers for easy access. This makes it possible for specialists to simply clean and pump your septic system without having to dig them out from beneath the earth. Pumps are placed in the access risers at the top of the risers, which have detachable lids.
One of the most important things you can do to take care of your septic tank is to avoid flushing any chemicals down the toilet. These have the potential to destroy the bacteria colonies in the tank. Furthermore, it has the potential to result in the accumulation of flammable vapors within the tank. Non-biodegradable products should also be avoided when filling the tank, if at all possible. These are unable to be dissolved and can block drains. Finally, minimize the quantity of grease and oil that you flush down the toilet because they will eventually block your pipes as well as your drain.
In an ideal situation, you would not want to clean your septic tank yourself because it takes specialized equipment to completely pump your septic tank.
If your septic tank experiences severe problems, the amount you spend will be far higher than if you just seek expert assistance, so make an informed decision.
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.
The sound of gurgling drains on the outside. Tub and sink drains that are too slow to clear the water from the tub or sink. Odors emanate from the sewage treatment plant, drainfield or plumbing fixtures in the house. There are wet patches visible over the drainfield; Water is backing up into the home from the sewer line; For toilets to flush, it is taking longer. A sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of lush and full vegetation over the drainfield may indicate a probable obstruction or break in the exit pipes on the outside.
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 learn. 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?
When wastewater enters a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it forms a bed of helpful anaerobic bacteria that work to break down the particles and liberate the lipids contained within them. After rising to the top of the tank and being separated by a set of baffles, the waste products are discharged.
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.+
Holding Tanks vs Septic Systems
In addition to holding tanks, you may have heard of them if you’re new to septic tank systems or if you’re just eager to learn more. So, what exactly are them, and what is the distinction between them? Taking a deeper look at holding tanks and septic systems will allow you to evaluate which is most appropriate for your home’s situation. What is a holding tank, and how does it work? A holding tank accomplishes exactly what its name suggests: it holds liquids. It is used to store wastewater from your house.
- The frequency of pumping will vary, but on average, a holding tank that is used on a regular basis will require pumping once a month on average.
- However, while holding tanks are often used in residences, they are better suited for tiny homes, trailers, recreational vehicles such as RVs, boats, and other watercraft.
- Septic tank solutions are used to solve this problem.
- A septic tank is similar to a holding tank in that it is meant to retain wastewater from your home.
- Despite the fact that a septic tank will need to be drained around once a year, it is intended for long-term operation.
- In conjunction with regular maintenance, such as inspections, pumping, and repairs as soon as a problem arises, septic systems are an excellent choice for homeowners looking for an alternative to municipal sewage treatment.
- Affordable Pumping Services will get you on a schedule for regular pumping services right now.
How Does A Septic Tank Work? Learn How Septic Systems Treat Wastewater
In addition to holding tanks, you may have heard of them if you’re new to septic tank systems or if you’re simply eager to learn more. How do they vary and what is the significance of this? Let’s take a deeper look at holding tanks and septic systems to see which one would be the greatest fit for your property and your family. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Exactly what it sounds like, a holding tank does is hold things. Wastewater from your residence is collected in this container. Given the fact that it is merely a holding tank and does not have a mechanism in place to deal with the waste once it reaches the tank, it must be emptied as soon as it reaches the capacity limit.
- Tanks that are used often, such as those that are smaller, could require emptying once a week.
- Tanks are not intended for usage by big families or for extended periods of time.
- The Septic Tank System is defined as follows: A septic tank is similar to a holding tank in that it is intended to retain wastewater from your house.
- While it is necessary to pump a septic tank approximately once a year, it is intended for long-term usage and maintenance.
- Septic systems are an excellent solution for homeowners seeking an alternative to municipal sewage if they are maintained properly, which includes regular inspections, pumping, and repairs as soon as a problem emerges.
Septic tank system is something you may be familiar with. To establish a regular pumping plan, contact Affordable Pumping Services now.
What is a Septic Tank?
Septic systems are considered unusual and out of date by many people. As many as one in every five American houses, particularly in rural regions, is equipped with an aseptic tank. A septic tank is a large underground tank that is used to store and treat sewage. It enables homes to securely dispose of wastewater from bathrooms, showers, dishwashing, and other sources by transporting it outside of the home. Septic tanks, as well as the machinery that supports them, are placed underground. For safety reasons, they are usually put at least 10 feet away from the home when possible.
The most common materials used to construct a septic tank are concrete and plastic.
Septic tanks are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate different sized residences.
What is a Septic Tank Used For?
The water that runs from your residence is frequently polluted, making it dangerous to drink or handle in any way. Bathing, cleaning dishes, and doing laundry all contribute to the production of polluted water. Septic tanks treat wastewater that goes through the system by the use of natural and mechanical processes, respectively. It doesn’t matter where it emanates from within the house, either. In order to restore water to the earth, it must first be cleaned of undesired particles and organic materials.
Septic systems are used to treat wastewater when there are no public sewer systems accessible.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
The water that runs from your home is frequently polluted, making it dangerous to consume or handle in any manner. Water pollution is also caused by activities such as bathing, dishwashing, and laundry. Sewage treatment in septic tanks is accomplished via the use of both natural and mechanical methods. The source of the odor within the house is not important. During the process of returning water to the earth, it eliminates undesirable particles and organic waste. In this case, the role of your septic system is critical.
Septic Tank Design
Tanks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the number of bedrooms, soil condition, lot size, and other considerations, a household will choose one over the other. A septic system may be classified into several categories, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The most prevalent of them are as follows:
- The term “standard septic tank” refers to a single or double-chamber tank that is located underground. a conventional septic system is a complete underground water treatment system in which the septic tank discharges onto a soil or gravel drainfield
- And Septic tank system that does not require excavation and instead makes use of linked subsurface chambers rather than an open drainfield. Drip Distribution System: A shallow septic system that uses drip tubing to disseminate sewage gently
- These devices operate similarly to a tiny sewage treatment plant, using oxygen to stimulate naturally occurring bacterial activity for the purpose of treatment. When it is impossible to bury a drainfield, such as in places with shallow soil or high groundwater, a mound septic system is used to properly route wastewater flow through elevated trenches. Pump-Chamber-Sand Filter System: This system circulates effluent from the tank to the pump chamber, where it percolates through the sand filter. Depending on the use, it can be put above or below ground. In the absence of a filter, all waste particles will be able to pass through easily and clog your pipes
- Method of Evapotranspiration: Rather than filtering wastewater through the soil, this system traps it in the drainfield using a watertight membrane, allowing it to evaporate. Constructed Wetland System: This environmentally friendly system mimics natural water treatment processes by directing wastewater to a wetland cell rather than a drainfield for screening and treatment. The use of a community septic system might occur when many home sites are near together and the septic tanks flow into a common drainfield.
Inside a Septic Tank
The most common configuration consists of a septic tank, a distribution box, a drain field, and a network of perforated pipes that connects the first and second tanks. There is a single main drainage pipe, also known as an input pipe, that connects the septic tank and the home. The water waste from your home passes through it and into the septic tank, where solid and liquid waste are separated from the liquid waste and disposed of separately. Nowadays, the majority of septic tanks are divided into two parts.
Both compartments are waterproof and are separated by a sturdy wall that prevents water from entering. A tiny baffle permits liquid waste water to flow in just one direction when it is discharged. A T-shaped baffle, similar to the inlet and exit pipes, is used to prevent particles from entering.
The Septic System Treatment Process
When wastewater enters a treatment plant through an intake pipe, grease and oil float to the top of the water column, while solid waste and silt sink to the bottom. This is done in order to keep them out of the wastewater once it reaches the drainfield. Solids can clog the perforated pipes in the area, and oils can cause harm to the leached soil as they pass through. There is a healthy population of anaerobic bacteria in the soil underneath the septic tank, and these bacteria feed on and digest the organic waste.
- Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the septic tank and entering the drainfield by an outlet baffle at the other end of the system.
- The drainfield is a shallow area of open ground near the home that filters untreated wastewater via rocks, mud, and sand in order to eliminate contaminants in a natural and environmentally friendly manner.
- A good septic system is one that is hidden underneath and not visible.
- These access points are normally protected by a plastic cap with a diameter of approximately 4″.
What Does a Septic Tank Look Like?
From the outside, an underground septic tank is typically characterized by the appearance of a large metal or plastic box. These septic systems can usually be distinguished by the distinct inspection pipes located on top of the box, which are often covered with green caps. The majority of tanks are equipped with one or two inspection pipes as well as bigger manhole covers for pumping. A vent pipe is used to expel the gases that have accumulated. Above-ground septic tanks have a distinctive appearance that distinguishes them from their underground counterparts.
Aside from that, they are typically constructed of fiberglass, polymers, or some other weather-resistant material.
A network of tiny, perforated pipes connected to the outflow and reaching into the drainfield’s soil is also present.
This will be determined by your daily water use as well as the number of bedrooms in your home.
What Does a Septic Tank Do?
Designed to remove sediments and pollutants from water, septic tanks are often used in residential and commercial settings. Understanding what a septic tank accomplishes will help you better understand how to care for your septic system in the future. The majority of conventional septic tank systems consist of a septic tank, which is often a large, hidden rectangular or cylindrical vessel composed of cement, fiberglass, or polyethylene material. It is not uncommon for septic systems built before 1975 to have a single compartment and for those built after 1975 to have many compartments, according to industry standards.
Sewage from all plumbing connections is directed toward the septic tank, where heavy masses fall to the lowest point and bacterial activity produces digested slime and fumes as a result of the digestion process.
In an endeavor to form a scum film, the lightweight masses, such as grease, oils, and lipids, rise to the highest point possible in the water.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t Abuse the System
It is necessary to clean your septic system on a regular basis in order to keep it in good working order. If you don’t, your drains may become blocked, you may notice smells, and your drain field may become backed up with water. Septic tank pumping should only be required every two to three years in a well functioning system. When you have your tank pumped, it eliminates sediments, which enhances the flow and efficiency of the wastewater treatment process overall. If you don’t know what you’re doing when performing system maintenance, it’s easy to cause damage to the system.
This will assist you in ensuring that your septic tank is working at peak performance and will prevent toxins from accumulating in the system over time.
Don’t Use Additives
Keep your septic system in good working order by cleaning it on a regular basis. If you don’t, your drains may become blocked, you may notice smells, and your drain field may become backed up with debris. Every two to three years, your septic tank should be pumped out if it is in excellent condition. When you have your tank pumped, sediments are removed, which enhances the flow and efficiency of the wastewater treatment process. Inexperienced system technicians might easily cause harm to the system while doing routine maintenance.
This will assist you in ensuring that your septic tank is working at peak performance and will prevent toxins from accumulating in the system.
Don’t Flush the System
When septic systems are flushed out too quickly, it can have an adverse effect on the bacteria that live there. It can also cause scum and sediments to be disturbed, increasing the likelihood that they will clog up system components.
Take Care of the Drainfield
During normal septic tank maintenance, it’s not only the tank that has to be taken into consideration; the drainfield is just as vital. It is not recommended that you construct a structure or plant anything with deep roots in the region. Avoid driving on the drainfield as much as possible since this might compress the soil and cause the effluent flow to become obstructed.
Don’t Overload the Septic System
When using a septic system, there are several things that should not be flushed down the drain. Organic waste and septic-safe tissue are the two types of waste that septic tanks can manage. The following are examples of things that might overflow your septic system:
- Toilet paper
- Diapers and sanitary goods
- Disposable wipes
- Paint and chemicals
- Cat litter
- Coffee grinds
- Fabric and apparel.
It’s always a good idea to double-check that anything is septic-safe before flushing it down the toilet. Though most toilet paper is septic safe, biodegradable toilet paper is preferred in order to avoid disturbing the important microorganisms. A clogged toilet or sewage forcing its way up through the leach field are all possible consequences of overburdening your system.
Hire the Best Plumbing Service and Get Your Waste Water TreatmentSystemInspection Done Today!
Septic tank inspections should be performed every two to three years, at the absolute least. This will be done by a professional during normal pumping. If, on the other hand, you detect indicators that your septic system is malfunctioning, you should schedule an inspection as soon as possible. A faulty system might result in untreated garbage being transported to locations where it does not belong. While it’s vital to understand how a septic tank works, homeowners should always seek expert assistance if they have any problems with their system.
A basic home inspection will often only give the septic tank a cursory scan, so it’s advisable to contact a professional to examine the system thoroughly before making a decision on whether or not to purchase a home.
When you’re looking for a home plumbing professional that will give you straight talk and honest pricing, call The Original Plumber for any septic system services, such as the following:
- Septic tank inspection, Septic tank maintenance, Septic tank installation, Septic tank repair, Septic tank pumping are all services that are available.
From our offices to your home, we always put you front and foremost in all we do. Call now to schedule a free septic check with one of our septic contractors.