How Long Can a Septic Tank Last?

If you use a septic system, it helps to anticipate any maintenance and repair costs associated with its use. Although a septic tank is built for durability and can last decades depending the type, installing a new one can be costly. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your system functioning properly and set up for a long life. Here are a few things to know about septic tank use and life span:

Types of Septic Tanks

Most people use a septic tank made of either steel or concrete, and these materials affect how long the tank lasts. While steel tanks are vulnerable to rust (depending on quality and the acidity in the soil), they usually last approximately 15 to 20 years. This timeline applies to steel tank covers, also. On the up side, rust can easily be seen by technicians, so you can predict a steel tank’s failure in time for appropriate replacement. As for a concrete tank, if quality and care go into its construction and placement, it can last up to 40 years.

Note: The life expectancy of a septic system also depends on the drain field, and this component’s function corresponds mostly with installation. While large drain fields with high-quality soil can last several decades, errors like poorly-installed piping can prompt failure within days or weeks of placement.

Making Your Septic Tank Last

  • Consistent Maintenance -Having an experienced service company routinely inspect and pump the tank (at least every three years) will help stave off clogs and build-up, keeping it performing at optimal levels for many years.
  • High-Quality Material – While steel tanks tend to rust and malfunction sooner, opting for a concrete, plastic or fiberglass tank can make a big difference.
  • Effective Design – How a tank is installed (including its location) and quality of surrounding soil can affect its life span, since overly damp conditions can flood and clog the leach field.
  • All-Natural Products -Certain cleaning agents and non-biodegradable materials can build up and clog pipes. To prevent this, make sure only water and waste go into the tank.
  • Moderate Usage – An overly-used septic tank will burn out faster, so finding ways to decrease its workload can help it last.

Although conscientious homeowners might use these guidelines to determine a septic tank’s life expectancy, it helps to budget for failure earlier. With that in mind, experts recommend having funds for replacement on or before a tank’s 20th birthday. If it lasts longer, great. If not, at least you planned ahead.

If you live in the Greenville or Anderson areas and need help with septic system installation, maintenance, or repair, remember to call Palmetto Pumpers at 864-385-3933 and schedule an appointment today.

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