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Should I Use Additives in My Septic System?

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Should I use additives in my septic tank?

There is a long-standing debate about using septic system additives — everything from marketed products like Rid-X to bizarre items like dog food. We’ve yet to come across any hard evidence that suggests that adding anything to a septic system does any good. In our opinion, using additives is just throwing money down your toilet – literally!

Septic system additives do not replace septic system maintenance

There are many products on supermarket shelves that claim to help prevent septic system backups. Many people are under the common misconception that if they put something into their septic system, they won’t need to have their tank pumped out. However, this could not be further from the truth.

There is no product that can make the sludge in a septic tank magically disappear. The whole purpose of any septic tank is to separate the solids from the liquids, and for those solids to stay in the tank. The only way to remove the solids from your septic tank is by pumping them out with a vacuum truck.

Waste, not septic additives, provides bacteria

One way many companies promote the sale of septic system additives is by saying that they help keep a good balance of bacteria in the tank. The truth is, bacteria is added to the tank every time the toilet is flushed; there is no need for additives unless the system is being overloaded or residents are putting items down toilets and drains that they should not.

Even when there is abuse on the septic system, using additives does not guarantee a good balance of bacteria if the abuse continues.

The best septic additive is maintenance

The best maintenance practice for septic system is watching what goes down the drains and toilets, and having a septic tank pumping regularly. Using additives is not a substitute for septic tank pumping. Learn why you should have your septic tank cleaned.

Even the FAQ page of Rid-X’s website acknowledges the limitations of its septic system additive:

“Q: If I use RID-X®, will I still have to have my septic tank pumped?

A: Yes, the average recommended time between septic tank pumpings is 2-3 years, depending on the rate of sediment build-up, family size, and other factors.”

If you must use a septic additive…

Occasionally we have customers who really want to add something to their system — either because they’ve always been told to do so, or because it just makes them feel good about their septic system’s health.

In these cases, the only thing we recommend is baker’s yeast. Yeast is something our body consumes, so we know it won’t harm the bacteria in the tank. However, it is not necessary.

There are many do’s and don’ts of septic system maintenance. Have questions or need some help? Contact us online or give us a call at 210-698-2000 today!


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