Septic systems are an important component of many homes and businesses, but they can also be prone to failure if not properly maintained. In this blog post, we will discuss the top reasons why septic systems fail, and provide tips on how to avoid these issues.
1. Insufficient Maintenance
One of the most common reasons for septic system failure is insufficient maintenance. Septic systems require regular pumping of the septic tank and inspection of the system to function properly. Neglecting this maintenance can cause the system to become clogged or malfunction, leading to failure. To avoid this issue, it is important to schedule regular maintenance for your septic system and to be proactive about addressing any problems that arise.
Another common cause of septic system failure is overuse. Septic systems are designed to handle a certain amount of waste, and exceeding this amount can cause the system to fail. This can happen if the septic system is being used by more people or for more purposes than it was designed for. To avoid this issue, it is important to monitor your septic system’s usage and to limit water usage when possible.
3. Tree Roots
Tree roots can also cause a septic system failure. Tree roots can grow into and damage septic tanks and pipes, causing leaks and other issues that can lead to failure. To avoid this problem, it is important to keep trees and other vegetation away from your septic system.
If there are trees near your septic system, you may want to consult your septic professional about the safe removal of those trees or the application of root suppressants.
Flooding can also cause septic systems to fail. Flooding can overwhelm the system with water, wash away the soil that supports the system, or damage the system’s components. To avoid this issue, it is important to protect your septic system from flooding by keeping it elevated and installing proper drainage.
Age is another factor that can lead to septic system failure. Septic systems have a limited lifespan, and older systems are more likely to fail. As a septic system ages, its components can become worn or corroded, leading to leaks and other issues. To avoid this problem, it is important to have your septic system inspected regularly and to replace it when necessary.
6. Improper installation
Improper installation is another common cause of septic system failure. Septic systems must be installed properly to function correctly. If a septic system is not installed correctly, it can fail prematurely or not function at all. To avoid this issue, it is important to hire a licensed and experienced professional to install your septic system.
7. Poor Soil Conditions
Septic systems can malfunction due to poor soil conditions because the soil may not be able to properly filter the wastewater produced by the septic system. As a result, the soil may get contaminated and the septic system may eventually malfunction or fail. In addition, soil that is too sandy or too clay-like could not be able to drain wastewater properly, overloading the septic system and leading to failure.
8. Improper Usage
Improper usage of a septic system can cause it to fail in a number of ways. Some examples of improper usage include:
- Overloading the septic system by putting too much wastewater into it. This can happen if you have too many people using the system, or if you use high-water-usage appliances like washing machines and dishwashers too frequently.
- Flushing inappropriate materials down the toilet or drains. This can include things like sanitary products, disposable wipes, paper towels, and other items that are not biodegradable and can clog or damage the septic system.
- Not properly maintaining the septic system. This can include not pumping the septic tank regularly, not repairing damaged or broken parts of the system, and not keeping the area around the septic tank free of debris and vegetation.
All of these behaviors can lead to a variety of problems with the septic system, such as clogs, backups, and overflowing wastewater. These problems can ultimately cause the septic system to fail and require costly repairs or replacement.
9. Poorly Designed Septic System
A poorly designed septic system can lead to failure in a number of ways. Some common problems with poorly designed septic systems include:
- Insufficient size. If the septic system is too small, it may not be able to handle the volume of wastewater that is produced by the household or business. This can cause the system to become overloaded and fail.
- Poor soil conditions. As mentioned earlier, the soil around the septic system plays a crucial role in filtering and treating wastewater. If the soil is not suitable for this purpose, the septic system may not function properly.
- Improper placement of the septic tank and leach field. The septic tank and leach field should be located in an area that has good drainage and is away from buildings, wells, and other sources of drinking water. If the septic tank or leach field is placed too close to these sources, it can contaminate the water and lead to the failure of the septic system.
- Lack of proper maintenance. Even a well-designed septic system will eventually fail if it is not properly maintained. Regular pumping and inspections are essential to keep the system functioning properly.
10. Heavy Vehicles and Felling of Large Trees
Heavy vehicles and the felling of large trees on a septic system’s drain field can lead to a failure of the septic system in several ways. Some of the potential problems include:
- Compacting the soil. The weight of heavy vehicles or the impact of falling trees can compact the soil around the drain field, which can reduce its ability to absorb and filter wastewater. This can cause the drain field to become oversaturated and eventually fail.
- Damaging the septic tank or other components. Heavy vehicles can also cause direct damage to the septic tank or other components of the septic system, such as the inlet and outlet pipes. This can cause leaks or other problems that can lead to the failure of the system.
- Disrupting the flow of wastewater. If large trees are felled on the drain field, their roots may be disturbed or removed, which can disrupt the flow of wastewater through the septic system. This can cause the system to become overloaded or fail.
Overall, it is important to avoid driving heavy vehicles or felling large trees on the drain field, as these activities can cause serious damage to the septic system and ultimately lead to its failure.
In conclusion, regular maintenance, proper use and installation, and avoiding damage are all important factors in keeping a septic system functioning properly. By understanding the common causes of septic system failure and taking steps to prevent them, you can avoid costly repairs and ensure that your septic system continues to function properly.