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Determining the Lifespan of Your Septic Tank

A well-functioning septic tank is essential for homeowners, but how long can you expect your septic tank to last? The answer is based on a number of factors, including the construction material, environmental factors, usage, and of course, proper maintenance. Read on to determine the potential lifespan of your septic tank, as well as how you may be able to extend its lifespan well into the future.

How Long Does a Septic Tank Last?

Many different factors go into determining the lifespan of a septic tank, from the tank’s material to the soil and water level. However, most septic specialists say that the average lifespan for a well-maintained system is anywhere from 20 to 40 years.

Factors that Determine a Septic Tank’s Lifespan

Tank Material

One of the major factors in determining how long your septic tank will last is the material it’s made from. The majority of septic tanks today are made of concrete, which typically lasts the longest, but some tanks are made of steel or fiberglass. The average lifespan of each material is:

  • Concrete

It’s not uncommon for a concrete septic tank to last 40 years or more. While you’ll typically pay more for a concrete tank, the investment is well worth it. Though concrete tanks are the most durable, however, it’s still important to have your septic tank inspected periodically to check for cracking or settling.

  • Fiberglass

This lightweight option is almost as durable as concrete, lasting around 30 years when properly maintained. That said, you will probably pay more to install this type of septic tank.

  • Steel

You can expect a steel septic tank to only last from 15 to 20 years at most. That’s because the metal can rust or corrode over time. Steel tanks are rarely installed today, but you may have an existing steel tank on your property. If so, it’s best to have it inspected regularly to avoid costly issues.

Soil Type

The acidity of the soil where your septic tank is installed will play a major part in how long the tank will last. Acidic soil, for example, can cause steel tanks to rust at a faster rate. It can also break down concrete over time. If you are unsure about the acidity of your soil, you may want to have it tested. Septic tanks in acidic soil should be inspected for corrosion regularly.

Water Table

The water table refers to the groundwater levels on your property. When the water table is higher, it slows down the process of wastewater, or effluent, from absorbing into the surrounding soil through the leach field. This could result in more frequent backups and eventually take a toll on the functionality of the septic tank itself.

Usage

Consider both how often the septic tank is used, as well as how it’s used. You can expect a septic tank that is only used by one or two people to last a bit longer than one that supports a family of five or six. In addition, how the tank is used will determine its lifespan. If your family uses septic safe toilet paper and avoids flushing wipes, feminine products, or other objects, the tank’s lifespan may be extended.

 

Extending the Life of Your Septic Tank

Unfortunately, you cannot change the acidity of your soil or the level of your groundwater, and if your septic tank has already been installed, you cannot change its material either. On the other hand, there are several things you can control that could greatly affect the lifespan of your septic tank and entire septic system.

  • Use a Bacteria-Based Product

Consider adding a bacteria-based product to your maintenance routine. Once bacteria is introduced to the tank itself, it goes right to work digesting waste, including fats, oils, and greases (or FOG). This helps to maintain the proper levels of wastewater inside the tank and will reduce the likelihood of clogs or backups in the drain pipe and leach field.

  • Follow Best Practices

Septic systems do not function in the same way as city wastewater systems, and certain guidelines should be followed to keep the system working properly. Flush only wastewater and septic-safe toilet paper, and avoid dumping food scraps, grease, or chemicals down your drains. This will drastically reduce the strain on your septic system and could extend its lifespan well into the future.

  • Perform Regular Inspections

If you want to extend the life of your septic tank, you need to prioritize regular inspections and pumpings. While it’s never enjoyable to learn of cracks or rust in your tank, it’s best to catch these issues early, while it’s still possible to repair the tank, rather than replace it. In addition to regularly scheduled visits from your septic technician, watch for signs like foul odors, pooling water in your yard, or slow drains. If you notice any of these, reach out to your technician.

How Long Will Your Septic Tank Last?

A concrete septic tank could last up to 40 years, but the answer truly rests on several factors. Some, like soil type and groundwater level, may not be in your control. Others, however, are based on how you and your family use the system. To extend the lifespan of your septic tank, be mindful of what you are flushing down your toilets and dumping down your drains. Be sure to schedule regular maintenance, including inspections and pumpings, and consider adding a bacteria-based product to your routine. The bacteria will fully digest waste in the tank and help it function properly for years to come.

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BioOne vs. Green Gobbler Drain & Septic Cleaner

Water Running Down Drain

If you have a septic system, you understand the importance of maintaining it. Though regular pumpings and inspections are an essential part of maintaining your system, they aren’t the only solutions available. Two popular products, BioOne and Green Gobbler Septic Saver, can be used regularly to maintain the natural balance inside your tank. While both contain bacteria, their processes differ. We’ll breakdown the differences of these 2 popular products.

What is BioOne?

BioOne is a bacteria-based product used for maintaining septic systems, grease traps, drains and RV holding tanks. When added to your tank, the bacteria in BioOne begin to completely digest waste, including fats, oils, and greases, or FOG. It can be used in emergency applications and is also recommended for regular use to avoid emergencies before they occur. The product comes in both liquid and powder forms.

BioOne contains no added enzymes and instead relies on live, vegetative microbes to degrade FOG in septic tanks and grease traps. It’s environmentally friendly and safe to use around pets and children. Though it isn’t a food product, it’s been manufactured to food standards to ensure its safety.

What is Green Gobbler?

Green Gobbler is a company that sells a wide range of cleaners, openers, weed killers, and more. They carry a line of drain cleaners that provide similar solutions to BioOne, including the Green Gobbler Septic Saver. This product is designed to help break down organic material that builds up in a septic tank over time. Septic Saver comes in both liquid and pods, and it’s designed for regular use.

While it’s a bacteria-based product, as well, Green Gobbler Septic Saver relies on the enzymes produced by the bacteria to break down waste. The product is environmentally safe, though the packaging recommends storing it away from children and pets.

Differences Between BioOne and Green Gobbler

Ingredients

BioOne contains all natural ingredients that are safe to use on a regular basis in drains, septic tanks, grease traps, and RV holding tanks. It’s made of 100 percent vegetative microbes. The product, both liquid and powder, is free of hazardous and toxic chemicals, as defined by OSHA. While the active ingredient is vegetative microbes, the inactive ingredient in the liquid product is water. There are no added perfumes, and BioOne has a natural, earthy scent.

The ingredients in Green Gobbler Septic Saver Pacs is a wheat-bran based powder containing dye and naturally occurring viable bacterial cultures. The liquid ingredients are stated as 100% natural bacteria & enzymes. OSHA states that the product can be corrosive to metals, and may cause skin irritation and eye damage.

Effectiveness

Both BioOne and Green Gobbler Septic Saver are bacteria-based products. Once bacteria are introduced to a septic tank, they get to work immediately breaking down organic material. The enzymes utilized in Green Gobbler will quickly liquify fats, oils, and greases, while BioOne is designed to fully digest FOG.

Liquifying FOG is an effective, short term fix, as liquid grease and fats will likely solidify again. This could happen inside the tank, which would require more product to be added or a septic tank pumping. It could also occur within the leach field, resulting in potential septic backups and possible damage.

A product that relies on bacteria alone may be a more effective solution in the long term. That’s because the bacteria completely digests FOG, rather than liquifies it. When FOG is digested fully, the concern for clogs is reduced. It also helps maintain the natural balance of the tank, and could result in longer time periods between each pumping.

Choosing an Effective Product to Maintain your Septic System

When it comes to septic maintenance, you have many options to choose from. Both BioOne and Green Gobbler Septic Saver will work fast to break down organic matter in your tank. The enzymes in Green Gobbler’s product will liquify FOG, while BioOne utilizes bacteria that fully digest it. Read product labels to learn the ingredients, and follow safety guidelines while using any cleaning product. Prioritizing septic maintenance and choosing the right product will help your tank work effectively well into the future.

Enzyme vs. Bacterial Drain Cleaners: The Difference Explained

Bacteria Floating Around

     An effective drain cleaner is a necessary part of any drain or septic maintenance routine. If you’ve been using a chemical cleaner, you may be wondering if there’s a more environmentally friendly product, and more importantly, if it’s as effective as your current brand. Fortunately, a variety of biological drain cleaners are now widely available, but which one is right for your home or business?

Using Biological Cleaners

     There’s no shortage of chemical drain cleaners on the market today, but biological cleaners are gaining popularity and with good reason. Once thought to be less powerful than their caustic counterparts, biological cleaners have been shown to clear drains—and keep them clear—just as effectively. Some even cost less than brands made with harsh chemicals.

     Chemical cleaners, on the other hand, have been known to cause cracks in pipes that eventually lead to large leaks. Because they are made of natural products, biological drain cleaners won’t damage your pipes, even after repeated use. In restaurants and other settings where fats, oils, and greases (or FOG) is present in drain pipes, these all-natural cleaners are safe to use as often as needed to maintain a clear drain line. Biological drain cleaners are also safe to use around humans and pets, even in sinks! They won’t leach chemicals back into the water supply, either. However, not all biological drain cleaners are created equal.

Enzyme Drain Cleaners

     One common type of biological drain cleaner is enzyme-based. These non-living organic compounds are safe to use in homes, commercial kitchens, and other businesses regardless of pipe age or material. Enzyme drain cleaners are fast-acting and can get to work right away breaking down fats, oils, and greases. Rather than fully digesting FOG, however, enzymes simply liquefy it, allowing it to continue through your pipes and drainage system where it could possibly solidify again, causing additional problems or clogs. In fact, some municipal water treatment systems have prohibited the use of enzyme drain cleaners, and they may not be suitable for some septic systems.

     Because enzyme cleaners are non-living, they won’t reproduce, so more of the product is needed than bacterial cleaners, and more frequent treatments as well. Enzyme cleaners are also difficult to manufacture. These characteristics typically make enzyme cleaners more expensive than bacterial cleaners. In addition, different enzymes target different types of waste. Some, for example, attack FOG while others attack protein or starches. The cleaner can only be effective if it’s targeted toward the waste in your drainage system. Some research may be necessary to select the right type of enzyme drain cleaner for the unique needs of your home or business.

Bacterial Drain Cleaners

     Like enzyme drain cleaners, bacterial cleaners are all-natural and safe to use around humans and pets. They can also be used in pipes without concern for cracks or leaks over time. Bacterial cleaners can survive in a wide range of temperatures and pH levels as well, and they actually help to maintain a healthy, natural pH balance in drainage or septic systems.  Because bacteria reproduce at very high rates, less product is required to clear a drain, and treatments may be needed with less frequency.

     Bacteria actually release their own enzymes and can detect the type of waste present in order to release the correct enzymes to attack it. However, unlike enzyme drain cleaners that only liquefy FOG, bacterial drain cleaners will actually fully digest any fats, oils, and greases that may be in your drainage system, resulting in fewer clogs down the line. This makes bacterial drain cleaners a safe and effective option for septic systems as well.

Choosing the Right Drain Cleaner for your Home or Business

     Drain maintenance is an important part of any drainage or septic system. When safety and environment are a concern, the best choice is a biological drain cleaner. Both enzyme drain cleaners and bacterial drain cleaners provide safe, all-natural drain cleaning solutions for your home or business. However, one major drawback of enzyme cleaners is that they only liquefy the fats, oils, and greases found in your drains. While the liquified FOG can then freely move down the drain line, it may solidify again, causing additional clogs later on. Because bacterial cleaners fully digest FOG, they are not only safe but highly effective as well.

How BioOne Works in Septic Systems

drain field septic systemSeptic systems require live bacteria to consume, digest, and degrade grease, oil, and other organic matter so that proper functioning can be maintained. When a septic system is properly maintained, the connected drain field can also function according to design.

Subjected to bleaches, detergents, and other chemicals, naturally occurring bacteria struggle to survive and keep up with the influx of waste in residential and commercial septic systems.

Liquid BioOne is formulated to work in the harsh conditions of septic systems. BioOne requires no pH neutralizing and is performance ready. BioOne contains no added enzymes or other emulsifying agents which only liquefy solid waste. BioOne’s bacteria eat and digest the solid waste without the unbalanced action of enzymes or surfactants.

The most effective way to maintain a septic system is to inoculate the tank with BioOne immediately after pumping.

After your septic system has been pumped: Your technician will add BioOne directly into the clean tank.

To properly maintain your septic system: Between pumping, follow the instructions on the label of the 64 oz. BioOne that your technician has left with you.

For additional information on Aqua Pro, check out our RateItGreen profile located here.

Commercial Restaurant Problems from Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG)

fats and oils

Backed Up Drains

  • Expensive Slip and Falls
  • Potential Worker’s Compensation Claims
  • Emergency Pumping
  • Health Code Violations
  • Business Interruptions
  • Unsanitary Conditions

Offensive Odors

  • Unappetizing
  • Decreased Customer Traffic
  • Bad Advertising
  • Poor Work Environment

Drain Flies

  • Gives Impression of Poor Housekeeping and Lack of Hygiene
  • Annoying to Customers

Municipal Fines and Charges

 

Commercial Markets for the BioOne Auto-Dispensing System

restaurants

  • On-site Wastewater Systems
  • Quick-Service Restaurants
  • Hotels and Motels
  • Family Restaurants
  • Specialty Bakeries
  • Nursing Homes
  • Schools

 

hospitals

  • Hospitals
  • Jails and Prisons
  • MRI Facilities
  • Medical Labs
  • Photo Labs

 

theatres

  • Apartment and Condominium Complexes
  • Auto Garages
  • Cruise Ships
  • Life Stations
  • Supermarkets
  • Airports
  • Malls
  • Movie Theaters
  • Exhibition Halls
  • RV and Trailer Parks