Septic tanks are an amazing innovation in modern residential construction. They solve the wastewater problem in homes so that groundwater supplies are not polluted, and effluent is not left in the streets, as in centuries gone by.
Every septic system is essentially a custom design. They vary by size and configuration based on many factors. Selecting the right septic tank size for your home is the key to ensuring that the waste management system works properly and avoids costly repairs or water contamination, which can be harmful to everyone’s health.
Septic Tank Requirements for New Homes
The size of your septic tank depends largely on how large your home is and how many people reside there. Most residential septic tanks usually range between 750 and 1,250 gallons. For example, an average three-bedroom home with less than 2,500 square feet will likely need a 1,000-gallon tank.
Factors That Influence Septic Tank Size
A septic system is designed to handle a specific quantity of household wastewater, both gray water and black water. The individual factors that are part of the equation include known facts and assumed possibilities.
Square Footage of Your Home
The square footage of the home is often considered the main factor in determining the size of the tank, but this is only partially true. It is more accurate to say that the number of bedrooms and occupants helps to determine the amount of wastewater that will be produced.
Size of Your Family
How many people occupy your home at the time you install the septic system? Will your family grow, or will more people live with you in the future? There should be an allowance for growth factored in.
Planning the Drain Field
The size of your septic tank drain field is determined by various factors:
- The type and size of your septic tank
- How much water you use
- Soil type and absorption rate
- How much waste is produced
The size of your drain field will be determined by the amount of water you use and the soil’s absorption rate. The average home uses about 300 gallons of water per day, but it can vary depending on the number of occupants and the types of activities that take place in the home.
To determine the soil’s absorption rate, a percolation test must be performed. This test will determine how quickly water drains through the soil. The results of the test will help determine the correct size of the drain field for your septic system.
Installing a Drain Field
Usually, your septic tank needs to be situated 5 to 10 feet away from your residence while the drain field must be positioned 20+ feet away from any structures, and 100+ feet from wells and natural water sources:
- Most of the time, you’ll need a permit from your local county office and an inspection from the health department to install a septic field line.
- Be sure to call a utility locating company before starting any excavation work. This ensures you won’t accidentally damage or cut underground lines, which can be costly if repaired. The company will then mark the ground where these lines are located, with paint or flags as reference.
- The depth of the trench will be based on the percolation rate determined for your soil. For every 1,000 gallons your septic tank can hold, you’ll need 100 feet of a drain field. This can either be four 25-foot trenches or two 50-foot trenches. The trench should slope downward no more than ¼-inch per 8 feet of pipe. Too steep of a slope could lead to waste pooling at the end of the trench and cause serious drainage issues down the road.
- Along the entire trench, place a deep layer of gravel that is at least one foot thick. It would be better if the gravel is 1.5 feet thick. On top of the gravel within the trench, lay the perforated pipe and attach it to the septic tank drain using a clamp.
- Place a perforated pipe in the trench and cover it with half an inch of gravel. Lay a septic fabric over the gravel to keep dirt from getting into the rocks. After you’ve placed all the removed dirt back into the trench, wait one week for it to settle before adding more soil on top of the trench. This will raise your soil’s level until it’s equal to ground level and prevent rainwater from pooling in low areas.
How Deep is the Septic Tank Installed?
Septic tanks can function properly at any depth below the ground. Even in freezing climates, septic tanks are designed to resist freezing over due to various heat sources, including latent heat from the earth and bacterial activity within the tank itself. Most septic tanks are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. As a minimum, they need to be deep enough to allow a positive flow of fluid from the house to the tank.
Maintaining Your Septic System
1. Have It Pumped on a Regular Basis
To keep your septic system running smoothly, have it pumped every three to five years.
2. Vary Clothes Washing Day
Laundry can be a real pain, especially if you have to do it all in one day. However, it puts a lot of strain on your septic system and can eventually lead to flooding if you’re not careful. Instead, try doing a full load a few times per week to save water. This will give your septic system time to properly treat the wastewater and prevent any issues down the road.
3. Don’t Use Your Toilet for Trash
Be wary of what you flush — toilet paper is the only thing designed to safely break down in your septic tank. All other items will clog and damage your system, so be mindful of what goes down the drain. Look for brands of toilet paper that indicate they are safe for septic systems. Some luxurious options with extra ply or added fragrances could easily do more harm than good.
4. Things to Do to Protect Your Drain Field
It’s essential to properly maintain your septic system’s drain field, and that starts with monitoring both water usage and what goes into your septic tank. Additionally, never let vehicles drive or park over the drain field, as this will damage it. Always ensure gutters and sump pumps empty any excess water far away from the drain field area too. To keep root interference at bay, avoid planting trees or shrubs close to where the pipes are located.
Tank Depot is the Source for the Best Quality and Lowest Prices on all Tanks and Accessories
Looking for a standard-size septic tank for your home? Maybe you need a small portable tank or even a larger tank. Look no further than Tank Depot!
We have a wide variety of tanks to choose from, and our experts can help you find the perfect one for your needs. Plus, we offer the lowest prices on all tanks and accessories — so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best value for your money.