You’ve seen the ads for Septic Tank Additives promising to save money and avoid septic company service calls, but do they really work?
Millions of properties utilize a septic tank system for treating organic wastewater. Since the tank is underground, it’s easy to neglect or forget about the system until a problem arises. By the time that happens, things are to the point they are going to require professional help to repair.
Many are wisely taking proactive measures to extend the life of their septic system. Things, like monitoring the drain-field and following the Do Not Flush rules, can go a long way. But is that enough?
Savvy homeowners know the best way to avoid sewage back-ups is to schedule a septic tank pumping and cleaning on a regular basis. But, is there a way to further protect your system that won’t break the bank? Or even help a system in distress?
Persuasive infomercial personalities are good at generating hype by promising the simple use of septic tank additives is the answer. The claim is that this inexpensive alternative will help maintain the system, remove all the potential problems, and allow you to live carefree as long as you dump those septic tank additives into the toilet once a month.
Which is true, if used along with practicing Do Not Flush Rules and septic tank maintenance rules. Like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But, that doesn’t mean septic tank additives don’t help.
There are a number products being made that claim to revive the septic system and allow you to go longer between septic tank cleanings. Basically, you are gambling that the $25 box of additives will save you the cost of septic pumping every 3-5 years.
While it’s worth the extra security for efficient and healthy septic tanks, it’s not a complete substitute.
What is the Truth About Septic Tank Additives?
Septic tank additives can be a great addition to a septic owner’s routine. But, they aren’t a cure-all. Let’s take a closer look at how septic tank additives can help your Florida septic system.
1. Types of Septic Tank Additives
Septic tank additives usually fall into one of three types: biological additives, organic solvents, and inorganic compounds.
Biological Additives use a combination of bacteria and enzymes that act as boosters for the natural process happening in your septic tank.
However, the number of bacteria contained in these additives do not match the number of bacteria in a healthy septic tank, in fact they pale in comparison. As we said, it’s a boost. If you know your septic system is about to do a ton of extra work (like during the holidays or before a big party), giving a boost never hurts.
Organic Solvents are concentrated chemicals similar to those used on machine parts to break down oil and grease.
While good for getting rid of tough greases and oils, these types of additives can kill the good bacteria if used in excess or too frequently. In addition, they can also contaminate groundwater and are banned by some States. To know if you can use them in your state, visit your state’s Health Department website.
Inorganic Compounds use strong alkalis or acids to help break down pesky and stubborn waste material.
Like organic solvents, improper use leads to the degeneration of the naturally occurring bacteria in your system. If used too frequently it can also cause corrosion within the pipes and the concrete tank.
All these additives are meant as boosters, not a one-stop-shop use. When coupled with a healthy septic tank, they work great to protect the efficiency of your septic system further.
2. Making False Claims
Many of the promises being made by the manufactures of the septic tank additives sound extremely promising. However, claims that septic pumping will no longer be necessary are false, nothing can replace having to get the tank pumped when full.
The research indicates that additives do not eliminate the need for pumping and ignoring septic maintenance can be harmful. Here are just a few reliable resources that back that statement:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Homeowner Guide – “Commercial septic tank additives do not eliminate the need for periodic pumping…”
- Purdue University – “Given the lack of common conclusions or recent unbiased testing about the effects of septic system additives, our best advice remains to have septic tanks pumped every 3 to 5 years.”
3. Additives Are Boosters
The reality is a well-maintained tank has the process of breaking down waste down to a science (literally).
But, what happens when you need your system to kick into overdrive? Or maybe the kids weren’t so strict about the Do Not Flush rules when you went out of a town.
Giving your system a boost with septic tank additives can help prevent premature septic tank pumping and repairs. While not a fix-all, they can help your system get back on track and healthy again.
So, what’s a septic tank homeowner to do? The answer is simple: maintain your septic system. Follow Do Not Flush Rules, schedule a septic tank pumping when needs, follow regular maintenance routines and when necessary, give your system a little help with septic tank additives.
Have questions? Contact the experts at Advanced Septic Services at 352-242-6100.