How Long Do Septic Systems Last?

August 12, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

Even a well-designed septic system will eventually reach the end of its usable life. The question, then, is how long do septic systems typically last?

There’s no easy answer to this—there are a number of factors that influence septic lifespan. Here are just a few examples of some of those factors:

  • Type of tank: There are septic tanks that come in several different varieties, primarily divided by the kinds of materials used to build them. A steel tank might last about 15 to 20 years, but when you’re using a plastic or concrete tank, you could get 40 years or more out of it.
  • Maintenance: Of course, you will only be able to maximize the usable lifespan of your septic system if you keep it in good condition. This means prioritizing preventative maintenance. You should make it a point to have your system inspected on a regular basis. You should also make pumping appointments at regular intervals. The frequency with which you pump your tank depends on the level of water usage in your household, how much waste you create and the size of the tank. Older tanks might also need to be pumped more frequently than newer tanks.
  • Soil conditions: The conditions of the soil could influence the longevity of your septic system. Soil that is dense and doesn’t drain well could result in a shorter lifespan, as it will make it harder for the drain field to function. Soil that drains well will result in a longer-lasting drain field.
  • Vegetation: Do you have any trees or plants growing in the area around your septic system? The roots for larger plants could potentially interfere with your drainage, or with some of the plumbing infrastructure used for the system. It’s important to not grow anything with deep roots over the top of your septic system.
  • Ground disturbance: You should avoid driving vehicles on top of your septic system (tank or drain field), parking vehicles or equipment on top of it or placing anything else that’s extremely heavy in those areas.
  • Waste: There are certain items that should not be sent into your septic system. In the bathroom, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. In the kitchen, avoid sending oils, fats, grease, egg shells, coffee grounds, fibrous fruits or skins or other such items down the garbage disposal. Remember also that the garbage disposal is not a substitute for a garbage can.
  • Filters: This also falls under maintenance, but the lifespan of a system can be influenced by the performance and life of the filters used in the system, such as pump filters and sand filters. If these parts start performing poorly or break down, it could have a detrimental effect on the lifespan of the system.

For more information about the factors that affect your septic life and the steps you should take to keep your system in good condition for as long as possible, get in touch with the team at Cleveland Septic to arrange a consultation.

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