Septic systems cost thousands of dollars to install or replace, which means you need to take good care of your system to avoid premature failure. This care begins by understanding some of the factors that affect a septic system's life; here are some of those factors.
The Material of the Tank
Septic tanks can be made from different materials such as concrete, steel, and fiberglass, among others. All these materials have different durability, which means they will last different periods even if given the same care. For example, steel tanks are designed to last between 20-25 years. Therefore, know that your septic tank is due for a replacement if it has lasted about twenty years or so.
Presence or Absence Of Nearby Trees
Tree roots pose a serious threat to your septic system's life. The roots may not have the strength to penetrate the septic tank, but they can damage the drainage pipes and the leach field. For example, the pipes used in typical leach fields are usually full of small holes. These holes can be invaded by small tree roots that eventually grow into bigger roots and damage the pipes. Therefore, the longer you have had trees growing near your septic tank, the more likely it is to fail due to root damage.
Load or Usage Experienced By the System
A septic system is usually designed to handle a specific load. The load is usually determined by the number of people in the household, which is proportional to the number of bedrooms. That is why a two-bedroom house is likely to have a smaller septic tank than a five-bedroom house. However, sometimes a septic system ends up handling more load than it was designed to. This may happen, for example, if you extend your house or regularly host large parties in the home. The increased load inevitably leads to premature damage to the system.
Frequency of Pumping
Any plumbing system that is poorly maintained is likely to fail faster than a comparable one that is well maintained. The most important maintenance practice for a septic system is to pump it regularly. Therefore, any system that has not been undergoing regular pumping will fail faster than it should.
If your septic system fits any of the descriptions above, then it's a clear sign that its health isn't as good as it should be. Consult a plumber or a septic expert to analyze the system and advise you on what to do to avoid premature failure. In some cases, you may have no option but to replace the tank or any of the system's damaged components.