Septic tanks are an essential component of any household that is not connected to a public sewer system. However, many homeowners are unaware of how long do septic tanks last before needing to be replaced or repaired.
Septic tanks are designed to last for a certain period of time, but this can vary depending on several factors such as the quality of the tank, the frequency of maintenance, and the size of the household.
As a homeowner, it is crucial to understand the lifespan of your septic tank to plan for its maintenance and replacement.
If you own a septic tank, you may be wondering how long it will last before needing to be replaced. The lifespan of a septic tank can vary widely depending on several factors. In this article, we will explore these factors and provide you with information to help you determine how long your septic tank will last.
So, if you want to ensure that your septic system is functioning properly and avoid costly repairs, read on.
What is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is an underground container designed to store human waste and other solid wastes from a home or commercial building. The tank is usually made of concrete, steel, or plastic and is typically buried near the building it serves.
A septic tank functions by holding solid waste and allowing bacteria to break it down into liquid form, which is then safely discharged to a drainage or leach field. This process also results in the formation of a layer of “scum” made up of lighter solids, oil, and grease.
As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to empty a septic tank if the scum layer and scum level exceeds 3 inches in depth.
The average lifespan of a septic tank varies based on several factors including proper maintenance, regular pumping, soil conditions, water table levels, and the type of material used for construction.
To ensure the longevity of your septic system, it is recommended to refrain from flushing items such as toilet paper, baby wipes, sanitary products, cigarette butts, and other solid waste down the drain. Additionally, reducing water usage in both households and businesses can also aid in the maintenance of the system.
Having regular inspections and pumping services performed on your system can help minimize any potential problems that may arise over time due to the soil type or size of your tank.
If septic tanks fail, the wastewater inside them is no longer properly treated and is released into the environment creating a health hazard.
This wastewater can contain dangerous and potentially toxic materials which can lead to water contamination, air pollution, and even the spread of disease-causing bacteria. Failing septic tanks can also cause structural damage to pipes and other systems in your home or community.
Average Lifespan of a Septic Tank
The average lifespan of a septic tank is around 15-25 years with proper maintenance but there are a variety of factors which can impact its lifespan, such as the septic tank material, type of tank ground conditions and more.
If you look after your septic tank with regular maintenance, it means you don’t need to look for an entire septic tank replacement too often.
Steel and plastic tanks generally last longer than concrete tanks, but all types require regular maintenance and pumping to ensure the system continues to function properly.
The size of the tank is also important in determining its life expectancy; larger tanks typically last longer than smaller ones. If you have an excess amount of water usage in your domestic property or business, this can put extra strain on the system and reduce its lifespan.
It’s important not to flush items like:
- Coffee grounds,
- Flushable wipes,
- Feminine hygiene products,
- Paper towels,
- and other solid wastes.
As these can clog up your septic system and cause major damage over time which of course has a large impact on how long do septic tanks last.
Regularly scheduled inspections from a qualified septic tank service company are key to keeping your system functioning optimally.
With regular maintenance and care, a septic tank can provide reliable use for an extended period of time.
Concrete Septic Tanks
Concrete septic tanks are the most popular choice for many homeowners.
These tanks offer long-lasting durability, providing years of efficient use when properly maintained. Generally, a concrete septic tank can last up to 25 years with regular inspections and maintenance.
Factors such as
- The water table,
- soil conditions,
- type of soil in which the tank is installed,
Can all affect its longevity.
To ensure your concrete septic tank remains in good working order, avoid flushing items like cigarette butts, toilet paper and baby wipes, as well as excess amounts of water from toilets and washing machines.
Regular pumping is essential to prevent any build-up of solid waste that can put a strain on your system and reduce its life expectancy.
If you’re considering a septic tank installation, look no further than a concrete tank for the most reliable option with minimal upkeep requirements.
Advantages of Concrete Tanks
Concrete septic tanks offer several advantages that make them a popular choice for many homeowners.
They are extremely durable and reliable, providing many years of use when properly maintained. Additionally, they are easy to install and require minimal maintenance over time.
In comparison to tanks made of other materials, concrete tanks have the added benefit of being able to withstand high water tables and soil conditions without succumbing to structural damage or corrosion.
It is worth noting that since concrete is a non-combustible material, it provides a safer option than steel tanks which can be susceptible to fires.
Proper inspections and maintenance allow you to count on your concrete septic tank to last up to 25 years!
Disadvantages of Concrete Tanks
Unfortunately, concrete septic tanks are not without their drawbacks. While they are generally quite durable and require minimal maintenance, there is one main drawback that can be a concern for many homeowners: weight.
Concrete tanks can be very heavy, making installation and repair more difficult than with lighter materials such as plastic or steel. The weight of the tank can also put additional stress on a home’s foundation and surrounding soil.
In order to avoid potential problems, it is important to make sure your soil type and drainage field can support the weight of a concrete septic tank before you install one.
If you install a conventional steel or plastic septic tank instead of a concrete one, it may have a shorter life expectancy due to corrosion caused by excess water or other contaminants in the system.
This means that you may need to replace your septic tank sooner than you would with a concrete one; however, metal and plastic tanks typically cost less than their concrete counterparts so this could be beneficial from an economic standpoint.
To ensure your septic tank lasts as long as possible—regardless of its material—it’s important to practice regular maintenance and inspections.
Maintenance Tips for Concrete Tanks
Concrete septic tanks are known for their durability, but that doesn’t mean they can be neglected and will last forever.
Regular maintenance is essential to ensuring your concrete tank has a long and successful life.
Here are some tips on how to keep your concrete tank in top shape:
• Have it inspected regularly. It’s important to have your tank inspected at least once every three years by a septic tank service company so any potential issues can be caught and addressed quickly.
• Pump out the tank when necessary. It would help if you pumped out your tank every 3-5 years or as needed depending on the size of your family and water usage. This will help prevent solids from accumulating and clogging up the system.
• Avoid flushing items that aren’t biodegradable down the toilet (i.e., baby wipes, flushable wipes, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, etc.). These items can cause blockages in the system and reduce its life expectancy significantly.
• Limit water usage in showers, dishwashing, laundry, etc., to no more than 50 gallons per day per person in your household. Too much water puts additional stress on the system and can lead to damage over time.
By following these simple maintenance tips, you can help ensure your concrete septic tank lasts for many years to come!
Steel Septic Tanks
Steel septic tanks are an increasingly popular choice when it comes to wastewater management.
Made of galvanized steel, these tanks are extremely strong and durable, making them a great long-term investment for homeowners.
Steel tanks can also be buried up to six feet underground and come in varying sizes ranging from 500 to 1,500 gallons – so you can find one that fits your home’s needs.
Additionally, steel tanks are highly resistant to corrosion and typically last much longer than other materials such as plastic or concrete.
When it comes to properly maintaining your steel septic tank, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
First, it’s important to regularly inspect the tank for any signs of damage or leaking.
Second, depending on the size of your family and water usage level, you should have your tank pumped out every 3-5 years – more often if necessary – to ensure solids don’t accumulate and clog up the system.
Finally, as we have already mentioned, make sure not to flush anything down the toilet that isn’t biodegradable (e.g., baby wipes, and cigarette butts).
Following these simple maintenance tips will help ensure your steel septic tank lasts for many years!
Advantages of Steel Tanks
Steel tanks are the perfect choice for anyone looking for a long-term wastewater management solution.
Not only are steel tanks incredibly strong and durable, but they can also be buried up to six feet underground, come in various sizes ranging from 500 to 1,500 gallons, and are highly resistant to corrosion. In other words, they’re built to last!
Steel tanks require less maintenance than other materials such as plastic or concrete. All you need to do is inspect your tank regularly for signs of damage or leakage, have it pumped out every 3-5 years (or more often if necessary), and avoid flushing anything down the toilet that isn’t biodegradable.
By following these simple steps you can make sure your steel septic tank lasts for many years with minimal effort on your part.
Disadvantages of Steel Tanks
When it comes to septic tanks, steel tanks do have a few disadvantages. For one, they’re more expensive than plastic or concrete tanks, so if you’re on a tight budget you may want to look for a different option. Steel tanks are also heavier which can create a problem if they need to be relocated in the future.
Another potential problem with steel tanks is the risk of rusting over time due to exposure to moisture. If your tank isn’t properly sealed and maintained then it could start corroding and leaking potentially hazardous waste into the surrounding soil.
This is why it’s important to inspect your tank regularly and ensure that any holes or cracks are repaired immediately.
Although steel tanks are highly resistant to corrosion they can still be susceptible to damage from impact or mechanical forces such as tree roots or shifting soil.
To prevent this from happening you should always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully and make sure that any nearby trees or shrubs are trimmed back regularly.
Maintenance Tips for Steel Tanks
One of the most important things you can do to ensure the longevity of your steel septic tank is to keep up with regular maintenance.
This includes making sure that any excess water is diverted away from the tank, as well as inspecting the tank and its components on a regular basis.
If you notice any signs of corrosion or damage, be sure to repair it right away. Additionally, you should have your septic system pumped out every two to three years by a professional in order to remove any solid wastes or human waste that may have built up over time.
It’s essential that you take into account factors like soil type and water table when installing your steel septic tank since these can affect its life expectancy. Regular inspections and maintenance are key to getting the most out of your tank.
Additional Factors That Can Impact the Longevity of a Septic Tank
Various factors can impact the longevity of a septic tank, including its material. Another important factor is tank size, with larger tanks generally having a longer lifespan due to their increased capacity for waste storage and fewer required pumpings.
If you live in an area with poor soil conditions such as rocky terrain, your tank may not last as long due to the difficulty of reaching it for repairs or pumping.
The amount of water used in your home has a direct impact on how long your septic tank will last. The more gallons of water used by showers, toilets, washing machines, and other fixtures, the faster waste will build up in your tank and require attention.
Water Table Levels
Water table levels are an important consideration when it comes to the lifespan of a septic tank.
The water table is the underground water level, and if it’s too high, it can cause flooding in a septic system. Flooding can lead to soil erosion and damage both the tank and drain field.
If the water table is too low, then there may not be enough pressure to prevent solids from entering the drain field and clogging it up.
To ensure that your septic system works properly for many years, it’s important to regularly inspect your water table levels and make sure they’re not too low or too high.
Regular pumping of your tank is also necessary to keep your system running smoothly, as this will help reduce any buildup of solid waste in the drain field.
With proper maintenance and regular inspections, you can ensure that your septic tank lasts for years!
Soil Conditions Proper Maintenance & Regular Pumping
Soil conditions, proper maintenance and regular pumping are key to ensuring your septic tank lasts for many years.
The soil should be checked for both acidity and alkalinity, as this can affect the life expectancy of your tank. Acidic soils may corrode the tank and cause leaks.
If it’s too alkaline, then it may break down the tank over time.
Plastic tanks are typically less expensive than metal or concrete tanks, but they don’t last as long and may need to be replaced sooner. Steel or concrete tanks offer a longer lifespan and are generally more durable than plastic ones.
Regular maintenance is also important in maximizing the life of your septic system.
This includes pumping out your septic tank every three to five years, depending on its size and shape as well as how much water you use per day/week/month.
Excess water usage can also shorten the lifetime of a septic tank, so try not to exceed recommended gallons per day/week/month if possible. With proper care and maintenance, you can help ensure a longer life for your septic system!
The Role of Leach Fields & Drainage Fields in Septic Systems
A leach field or drainage field is an integral part of a septic system. Its primary role is to distribute wastewater from the septic tank in a manner that allows it to be absorbed by the soil, thereby purifying the water before it enters the groundwater supply.
A leach field should be designed with several factors in mind, such as soil type, topography, water table depth and size of the area available for installation.
If these considerations are not taken into account, it can lead to blockages and other problems down the line. In addition, regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to ensure that your leach field continues working properly over time.
The right material should also be used when constructing a leach field or drainage field; concrete or steel tanks are usually best suited for this purpose due to their durability and ability to resist corrosion.
How Long Do Septic Tanks Last? The Key Takeaways
Here are the key takeaways in answer to the question how long do septic tanks last?
- Septic tanks are important for homes not connected to public sewer systems, but their lifespan varies based on factors such as maintenance and size.
- Proper maintenance, including avoiding flushing certain items and regular pumping, can extend the life of a septic tank.
- Concrete septic tanks are popular and can last up to 25 years with proper maintenance, but factors like soil conditions and water table levels can affect their longevity.
Septic Tanks North West are a professional company that provides all aspects of septic tanks and sewage treatment plant advice, full installation service, and essential maintenance to all customers.