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Blogs from May, 2024


Septic systems can often be overlooked, especially when they are functioning properly. However, as a homeowner, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of septic tanks. Owning a property with a septic system entails a set of responsibilities centered around its maintenance and understanding its lifespan.

In this article, we will provide valuable insights into the longevity of septic systems, the various factors that can affect them, signs of potential failure, and essential tips for selecting a new system. Keep reading to learn more and make informed decisions about your septic system!

Septic System Life Expectancy

Generally, a well-maintained and properly installed septic system can last anywhere from 15 to 40 years. However, the exact lifespan may vary depending on various factors, such as its construction material.

The life expectancy of septic tanks varies based on the material used:

  • Steel: Steel septic tanks have the shortest lifespan, typically around 15 years, due to their susceptibility to rust.
  • Concrete: Concrete septic tanks, on the other hand, boast the longest lifespan. With their robust material, they can last around 40 years or even longer. While the initial costs may be higher, their longevity justifies the investment.
  • Fiberglass and plastic: With proper care, fiberglass and plastic septic tanks can last approximately 30 years. Similar to concrete tanks, they may come with slightly higher upfront costs.

What Affects Septic System Lifespan?

Outside of septic tank material, there are many other key factors that affect the lifespan of a septic system.

Additional factors that affect your septic system's lifespan include:

  • Usage: The size of your household and how much wastewater you're generating play a crucial role. Overall, the more people in your home, the more your septic tank will be used as the number of people using the toilet, washer, etc., will increase.
  • Maintenance: Regular inspections and pumping can prevent the buildup of solids which can otherwise lead to system failure.
  • Soil conditions: The matter around your septic tank impacts its lifespan. Acidic soil can cause steel tanks to rust and concrete tanks to break down.
  • Groundwater: Water found just below the soil surface, known as the water table, can cause sewer back-ups and reduce the lifespan of your septic tank. When there's a high water table, the ground is already saturated, leaving no place for the water from your septic tank to drain.

Signs Your Septic System is Failing

Aside from getting regular maintenance, it's crucial to be vigilant for these warning signs that suggest your septic system might be in trouble.

Signs of a malfunctioning septic tank include:

  • Slow drains or backups in your home
  • Slow toilet flushing
  • Gurgling noises from pipes
  • Damp ground surrounding your septic tank
  • Foul odor detected in the vicinity of your septic tank
  • Sewage backups from septic pipes

If you notice any of these symptoms, it's essential to contact a professional immediately to assess your septic system. Neglecting to do so can result in further complications and increased expenses in the future.

How to Choose a New Septic System

Whether you're building a new home or know the time is coming for a new septic system, there are numerous factors to take into account.

Consider the following:

  • Size: It is crucial to ensure that the septic system is appropriately sized for your household, taking into account the number of people who will be using it.
  • Property size: The size of your property can have an impact on the dimensions of the septic system.
  • Soil conditions: If your soil has acidic properties, it can potentially damage steel and concrete septic tanks. In such cases, a plastic or coated concrete tank would be more suitable.
  • Budget: It is important to consider both the upfront installation cost and the long-term maintenance expenses when evaluating the budget for the septic system.
  • Type of system: There are different types of septic tanks available, and some may be better suited for the conditions in your home than others. Collaborating with a plumber can provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

When it's time for a new septic system, there are several factors to consider. While the initial thought can be stress-inducing, it's important to remember that you don't have to make these decisions on your own. An experienced plumber can provide valuable assistance and offer recommendations to guide you through the process.

Contact Our Plumbers

A septic system is an investment in your property. With the right care and attention, it can provide reliable service for many years, ensuring the health and comfort of your home.

If you suspect your septic system might be near the end of its life, or if you need advice on selecting and installing a new one, don't hesitate to reach out for professional assistance from our team at Smith's Plumbing Services. With years of expertise under our belts, we are well-equipped to assist you with septic tank installations, maintenance, and repairs.

Contact us today at (901) 290-1110 or send us a message online to get started.

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