Are you wondering if septic tank additives are actually worth the hype? Many homeowners use extra additives in an attempt to improve their septic system’s efficiency, but there is little evidence to prove they deliver on all the promises their advocates make.
What Are Septic Tank Additives?
The purpose of septic tank additives is to “aid” your septic tank’s process of breaking down waste using natural bacteria. The problem is, some additives are too strong and they actually kill the good bacteria your septic tank produces. Other septic additives simply “boost” the amount of good bacteria in your septic tank. Septic tank additives come in 2 primary forms.
Biological additives are comprised of natural bacteria that are marketed to help “break down” sludge in your septic tank. Supposedly, by breaking down the sludge faster, you will not have to pump your tank as often. The truth is, nature knows best, and it usually doesn’t need help from biological additives. The waste in your septic tank contains all the anaerobic bacteria necessary to break down the solids. Adding more biological additives does not necessarily do any harm, but it doesn’t really help either. It certainly won’t keep you from needing to pump your tank.
On the other side of the coin, we find chemical additives. Drain cleaners, chemical degreasers, and even products for your toilet or sink can all have a nasty effect on your septic tank. Harsh chemicals tend to kill good bacteria as well as bad, disrupting the natural breakdown occurring in your septic tank. They can also spread bacteria from your tank to your soil, compromising the safety of your drain field.
How Do Additives Affect Your Septic Tank?
Research says that most septic tank additives do very little (if anything at all) to improve the performance of your overall system. Some additives can even harm the functionality of your septic tank. How does that work? Well, keep in mind that septic tanks treat wastewater naturally using good bacteria. Since most additives exist as “bacterial cleansers,” they enter the tank and destroy the good bacteria that help break down solids naturally.
That said, not all additives are entirely pointless. For example, some septic tank additives help boost the natural bacterial treatment of your wastewater. In that case, the additive complements the natural function of the tank. As long as it’s the right kind of additive, this can aid an overworked septic system during times of high use, such as big parties.
At best, septic additives can slightly increase your system’s performance, and at worst, they can significantly lower it. For this reason, it is incredibly important to do your research. Before investing in additives, it is a good idea for you to consult a professional and figure out exactly how the additives will help you.
How to Improve the Efficiency of Your Septic System
While septic additives aren’t a cure-all in the first place, they’re entirely pointless if you don’t do the following things for your septic system. Even if you don’t plan on using septic tank additives, employ the following tips to prevent major septic system problems from occurring.
Watch what you flush.
The only things you should be flushing down your toilet are wastewater and toilet paper. Do not flush baby wipes, paper towels, diapers, tissues, feminine products, or anything else down your toilet. These items can clog your pipes and result in costly repairs. Septic additives won’t do much to help you if you aren’t treating the system with care.
Check your system regularly.
While there’s no need to perform a daily, in-depth study of your septic system, you should periodically check up on it to ensure everything is running smoothly. Don’t just assume it’s doing its job without giving it a glance every once in awhile.
Schedule routine maintenance.
Finally, the most important thing you can do for your septic system is to schedule annual tune-ups by a licensed professional. Routine maintenance simply ensures that potential problems are caught early, before they have time to do more damage and rack up expenses. Take the time to find a company who cares about your home comfort.
Looking for a Septic Professional?
Norway Septic Inc. is a service-oriented company dedicated to providing excellent septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area. We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. If you have further questions or if you would like to schedule a system inspection by one of our professionals, call us today.