Over the years, studies have shown that about one-fifth of American homes rely on septic systems to eliminate waste and wastewater. That works out to be more than 20 million U.S. households.
However, it’s worth noting that not all of these septic systems are created equal. There are a handful of different types of septic systems that can be used to get rid of the waste and wastewater created by homes.
There are also a bunch of different types of septic tanks that these septic systems use to do their jobs. If your home has a septic system, you should be aware of how it works and know what kind of septic tank it utilizes.
What Are Septic Tanks?
There are a variety of different parts that make up a septic system. From the pipe that carries waste and wastewater out of your home to the drainfield that helps carry treated wastewater away from your home, each of these parts plays a key role in the different types of septic systems.
You could make the argument that septic tanks are the most important parts in septic systems. All of the different types of septic tanks will make it possible for septic systems to remove waste and wastewater from a home effectively.
A septic tank is a watertight container that is buried right outside of a home that relies on a septic system. The average septic tank is right around 4.5 feet wide, 8.0 feet long, and 6.0 feet tall, though some septic tanks can be bigger or smaller than that based on the specific needs of homes.
Regardless of how large it might be, a septic tank is designed to filter oil, grease, and solids out of wastewater so that it can work its way through to the drainfield and eventually the soil that surrounds it.
To avoid backups in a home, homeowners need to be careful about what they flush down their toilets since septic tanks won’t be able to handle things like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and more. Homeowners also need to make it a point to have their septic tanks cleaned on a regular basis to remove oil, grease, and solids.
How Do Septic Tanks Work?
Now that you have a better idea of what septic tanks are, let’s get into discussing how they actually work. It’ll help to illustrate just how important they are in the grand scheme of things when it comes to a septic system’s ability to remove waste and wastewater from your home.
How A Septic Tank Works:
- You flush a toilet in your home and the waste/wastewater from it makes its way into your main drainage pipe and then into your septic tank
- Your septic tank holds onto the waste/wastewater until the solids in it sink to the bottom and the oil and grease in it float to the top
- The wastewater from your septic tank, also known as effluent, leaves the tank and enters the drainfield
- The wastewater arrives in the drainfield and begins to trickle down through the soil beneath it
- The soil disperses the wastewater and treats it in the process, removing everything from viruses to coliform bacteria from it
As long as everything goes according to plan, your septic tank and your septic system as a whole should help do away with both waste and wastewater. The only time this might become an issue is if too much wastewater makes it to your drainfield at once.
If this happens, it can cause wastewater to move in the wrong direction and flood your yard. It can also cause your home’s toilets and sinks to get backed up since wastewater won’t be able to move through your septic tank fast enough.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Septic Tanks
Septic tanks have been around for more than 150 years now. This proves just how effective they can be when it comes to removing waste and wastewater from a home.
But Septic tanks aren’t perfect, either. There are advantages and disadvantages that will come along with counting on a septic tank to get rid of your home’s waste and wastewater.
Septic Tank Pros:
- Septic tanks make homes more eco-friendly than they would be if they were hooked up to sewer systems
- Septic tanks last for a long time if they’re cleaned and maintained in other ways
- Septic tanks save money since they won’t come with regular bills like sewer systems will
Septic Tank Cons:
- Septic tanks require routine maintenance to keep them in great shape
- Septic tanks force people to be extra careful about what they flush down their toilets
- Septic tanks cost a decent amount of money to replace when they begin to fall apart
You should carefully consider the pros and cons of septic tanks and septic systems in general before purchasing one for your home. It should help you decide if installing a septic system would be the right move for you to make.
Different Types of Septic Tanks
If you would like to set up a septic system for a new home or if it’s time to replace the old septic system in your current home, there will be many different types of septic tanks that you can invest in. Each one will bring something different to the table when you begin using it.
You should familiarize yourself with the different types of septic tanks so that you know how they’ll work and what you’ll have to do to maintain them. We’ve highlighted the five best types of septic tanks below.
Concrete Septic tanks
Concrete septic tanks are some of the most durable septic tanks on the market today. When maintained properly, you should be able to get at least several decades out of them.
The only thing you’ll need to be careful about when you have a concrete septic tank is the tank cracking and letting groundwater get inside of it. This groundwater can flood your septic system and make it impossible for you to flush your toilets or use your sinks until you have it fixed or replaced.
You’ll need to be mindful of this and have a concrete septic tank inspected regularly. It will alert you to any potential problems with it and allow you to address them ASAP.
Steel Septic tanks
Generally speaking, steel is usually regarded as being a lot stronger and more durable than concrete. But this isn’t always the case when it comes to septic tanks.
You should be able to get about 25 years out of a steel septic tank. But once it reaches that point, it will often begin to rust. It might even rust so badly that it could cause the ground that sits above it to collapse.
If this ever happens, you will have no choice but to replace your septic tank right away. This is a big part of the reason why many homeowners have moved away from using steel septic tanks.
Fiberglass Septic tanks
Fiberglass septic tanks have started to become more popular over time because they aren’t prone to cracking like concrete septic tanks. They’re also not prone to rusting like steel septic tanks.
Additionally, fiberglass septic tanks are very lightweight and easy to move around. It makes installing these types of septic tanks a breeze.
The only real downside to using fiberglass septic tanks is that they’re so lightweight that they can start to shift around in the ground. This could result in complications if too much shifting takes place.
Plastic Septic tanks
Of all the different types of septic tanks on this list, plastic septic tanks are typically the most affordable. They’re also very durable and lightweight, which will make them easy to install and simple to maintain.
You will need to be extra careful when installing a plastic septic tank. They can break if they’re not handled correctly. They can also float all the way up to the surface if they aren’t put into place in the right way.
Aerobic Septic tanks
An aerobic septic system is going to cost you more than most of the other different types of septic systems. They’re also going to call for you to do more maintenance on them than other septic systems.
An aerobic septic tank can be installed on a property quickly when another septic system fails. They’re powered by electricity and are often more effective at filtering wastewater than other septic tanks.
You will also find that aerobic septic systems as a whole should last for a longer time than most other systems. It’s why they’ve become a staple within the septic industry over the last few years.
How to Choose the Best Option for You
Each of the different types of septic tanks is going to offer you something a little bit different. You will need to spend some time thinking about which options will provide you with the most benefits.
Prior to purchasing a septic tank, you should also consider things like:
- How fast you need to have a septic tank installed
- How long you plan to live in your home and use a septic tank
- How much you would like to spend on a septic tank
By considering these factors, you should be able to decide which of the different types of septic tanks would be your best option in the end.
Call Us for Help With Different Types of Septic Tanks
No matter which of the different types of septic tanks you have on your property, maintaining it will be of the utmost importance. If you don’t make it your mission to keep a septic tank clean, it’s going to come back to bite you.
We can set you up with the septic tank pumping and cleaning services that you need to maintain your septic system. Contact us today for more information on these services.