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Common Myths And Misconceptions About Septic Systems

Common Myths and Misconceptions About Septic Systems

What do buried treasure, Egyptian ruins, and septic systems all have in common? It may sound like a cheap joke, but the answer’s pretty obvious: they’re all underground.

It’s easy to conjure rumors and invent myths about things we neither see nor fully understand. Septic systems are no exception, and over the years plenty of misconceptions have cropped up ranging from silly to flat out absurd. 

Septic systems are vital to homebuilding and provide a necessary service to families across the country. But urban legends can be tough to disprove. Even septic owners get it wrong from time to time.

When there are two explanations, the simplest answer is more likely to be correct. The same is true of these common misconceptions and myths about septic systems.

Myth #1 – Septic systems are maintenance free

On the face of it, could this really be true of anything? Even bookshelves need dusting, afterall. 

Septic systems are remarkably durable and generally manage 3-5 years of exceptional service without requiring any attention at all. Even so, they will need inspections roughly every 3 years and pumping anywhere from 3-5 years to ensure the best performance. 

Septic systems are remarkable but not miraculous as this myth would have us believe.

Myth #2 – Septic systems can handle it all

Unlike municipal sewers, septic tanks are thought of as black holes–throw in whatever you like and forget about it entirely.

From antifreeze to prescription pills, soiled diapers to kitty litter, many owners assume their septic system can handle it all. Again, this is false on its face. Septic tanks can’t make harmful chemicals or clogging agents vanish without a trace.

Some substances can harm the bacteria in the septic tank responsible for the decomposition of natural waste, and man made objects frequently contribute to clogs. Toilets are for human waste and nothing more. Drains are for water and little else. 

Myth #3 – Flushing X, Y, or Z eliminates pumping

In a bid to eliminate the need for pumping, some septic system owners take it upon themselves to invest in a miracle cure. Hoping to help the bacteria in their tank, owners will flush anything from yeast to specialized “additives” marketed as “septic assistants.” 

Septic systems do not require help to function properly. At best, these additives are a placebo, and your system will still require pumping at the usual time. At worst, some so-called “miracle cures” can actually harm the system and accelerate the need for pumping or repair.

Myth #4 – Septic tanks need replacement after a decade or two

It’s natural to think that a septic system will ultimately require replacement. Some inevitably do. But the lifespan of a septic system isn’t a matter of round numbers or general years of service. 

By understanding your septic system and refraining from flushing or draining harmful chemicals and objects, you can extend your system’s life by a decade or more. If properly maintained, some systems may even outlast the house itself.

Ultimately, it’s on you as the owner to apply best practices and ensure regular maintenance. Take care of your septic system and it’ll take care of you and your family for years to come.

The Truth is Out There

Like buried treasure and Egyptian ruins, septic systems can be kindling for rumor and misunderstanding. But unlike other buried oddities, septic systems aren’t nearly as mysterious. 

Your septic system is a trusted part of your family’s homelife. Taking care of it is the surest way to get the most of your home.


To demystify septic system maintenance or installation, or for any questions at all, call Economy Septic today!

From A to Z, Economy Septic Tank Service knows it all and has heard every misconception out there. Septic systems are reliable, time tested, and mostly simple to understand. They can ensure the comfort and utility of your home for decades or longer. For more practical advice and information about how your septic system works for you, call us at (256) 435-1086 today!