Should I Use Septic Tank Additives?

Screen Shot 2019-04-26 at 8.15.57 AMMany homeowners with septic systems are looking to extend the life of their septic systems. Septic systems can last decades, but each one has an expiration date. To extend the life of your system, you can keep up with proper maintenance and avoid doing damage to your tank. However, some people turn to septic tank additives, believing that they will improve the health of the system, which will extend its lifespan. Do these additives really work? We’ve broken it down for you in the post below.

Types of Additives

There are three main types of septic tank additives for your septic tank: biological additives, organic solvents, and inorganic compounds.

Biological Additives

These additives are the most natural of the options for septic tank additives. They use a combination of bacteria and enzymes and promise to improve and speed up the natural processes of waste breakdown in your septic tank.

Organic Solvents

This type of additive involves concentrated chemicals similar to the ones used on machine parts to break down oil and grease. Organic solvents are said to quickly break down the solids in your septic tank.

Inorganic Compounds

This type of additive uses strong alkalis or acids to break down the contents of your septic tank. The ingredients in these additives are similar to those found in chemical drain cleaners.

Do Additives Work?

The short answer here is no, these additives don’t work. Your septic system is designed to break down the solids in your tank with natural bacteria. However, these solids will still collect over time, making septic tank pumping necessary and inevitable. There are no products that can eliminate this need or change the normal processes of your septic system.

Multiple universities have performed research to test the effectiveness of septic tank additives. Purdue University concluded that there is simply a lack of common conclusions about septic tank additives, meaning that there is no clear evidence that they work. Additionally, the university notes the lack of unbiased testing, as much of the evidence for the effectiveness of septic tank additives is based on research funded by the companies that sell these additives. Although septic tank additives are marketed as a way to save money on regular septic tank pumpings, there is no clear evidence that they will improve your septic system.


Septic tank additives don’t really work. However, in addition to their ineffectiveness, many of these additives can actually harm your septic system. Some of the chemicals in additives can contaminate the groundwater. For this reason, certain septic tank additives are banned in certain states. Other chemicals can actually corrode the tank itself, leading to leaks and waste seepage.

When you add outside chemicals to your septic system, they will typically interfere with the natural processes in your septic tank. They can destroy these natural breakdown processes. When the solids in your septic tank are not properly broken down, waste can seep into your drain field, clogging it or leading to drain field failure. In some cases, this waste can even back up into your drains, leading to foul odors in your home.

Empty Promises

The idea of saving money on septic tank maintenance is attractive. For this reason, the promises made by septic tank additives tempt many homeowners to try them. However, these additives will not improve any processes of your septic system nor will they extend the lifespan of your septic system. Instead, they will be completely ineffective and often damaging to your septic system. When you perform proper maintenance on your septic system, you will ensure optimal functionality and avoid the need for any additional intervention.

ADB Septic | CT Septic System Services

A.D.B. Construction & Septic Corp. is a septic services business in Manchester, CT. We proudly serve residential and commercial customers all over Hartford County and beyond with a full slate of services. With over 20 years of experience, we have completed countless projects of all scopes and sizes. Needless to say, there is nothing we can’t do when it comes to septic tanks, sewer systems, basement waterproofing, drains, and more.

Our business is committed to meeting your needs and completing your job with the utmost professionalism and precision. We put your satisfaction, safety, and comfort at the forefront of our priority list. When you hire us, you can achieve complete peace of mind.

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