Septic System Maintenance Via Additives: Pros and Cons

12 February 2019
 Categories: , Blog

If the idea of having to hire a septic system technician tends to make you cringe, you might be more inclined to use a septic tank additive that claims to clean the tank and make the tank's environment "healthier." Just how effective are these additives, though? Are they really worth it? Can you use them in place of traditional septic system maintenance? Here are some of the pros and cons of septic system additives to allow you to decide for yourself.


Over a Hundred Types to Choose From

Patents on all kinds of septic system additives exist. You have additives that claim to enhance the anaerobic breakdown of organic waste. You have additives that claim to "eat" their way through the waste stuck to septic tank walls. You even have additives guaranteed to make the tank smell less sewer-like. In fact, there is probably an additive for anything you want to improve about your septic system and tank. In short, there is no shortage of additive options.

Most Additives Cannot "Hurt" Your System

A lot of chemicals in use can cause problems with the proper functioning of your septic system. For example, bleach should never end up in the tank because it kills the good bacteria that help break down the waste. On the other hand, additives for septic systems will do no such damage at all. They cannot "hurt" the system in ways other chemicals can (and might), making them safe and approved for use with your septic system.


There is No Proof That Additives Can Help Your System

A lot of research has been done on this subject, and it seems that all of the additives you can dump into your septic system will not help as much as the ads promise they will. In short, additives are not a replacement for the regularly scheduled maintenance services that your system needs. They may deliver a few benefits, but ultimately, they cannot prevent a tank from overflowing, nor can the additives prevent blockages from occurring. 

Some Additives Can Overwhelm the Natural Processes in the Tank

There are a few additives that claim to add more good bacteria and microbes to the tank. This is actually counterproductive because your tank already has most everything it needs to process your waste. Only when you use bleach and other not-good-for-your-septic-tank chemicals should you be trying to make up for that with an additive. Even then, you should consult with your septic tank expert on what to add and how much as the expert probably already has that additive on the truck and can do it for you as part of the maintenance needed.