Installing An Aerator In Your Septic Tank Helps Protect The Health Of Your Drainfield

19 March 2020
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Aerating septic tanks process solid waste more efficiently than conventional tanks. Unfortunately, they can be quite expensive to purchase and install. Thankfully, you can add aerating capabilities to an existing septic tank and improve its efficiency by purchasing an aftermarket aerator at a store that sells septic system supplies.

Although septic aerators can be a bit expensive, they do a great job of protecting the health of your drainfield. To learn more about how septic aerators work and how they can benefit your septic system, read on.

How Does a Septic Aerator Work?

A septic aerator works by introducing oxygen into your septic tank, which allows aerobic bacteria to grow.

Normal septic tanks are closed as much as possible from the outside air. This prevents you from smelling the septic sludge inside the septic tank. However, the lack of oxygen means that only anaerobic bacteria are able to grow inside the septic tank. The bacteria inside your tank are very important because they break down the solid waste.

Unfortunately, anaerobic bacteria aren't very efficient. They also produce sulfur-containing gases as a byproduct of their digestion process, which is one of the reasons why your septic tank smells so foul when you have it pumped out.

When you install an aerator on your septic tank, it pumps air from the outside directly into the sludge level, where it's mixed into the septic contents by a motorized blade. This introduces large amounts of oxygen directly at the sludge level, which allows aerobic bacteria to grow and take over the septic tank. Aerobic bacteria break down waste products much faster due to their more efficient digestive process, and they also produce much cleaner effluent — the end byproducts of the aerobic digestive process are simply carbon dioxide and water.

How Does a Septic Aerator Benefit Your Septic System?

The fact that the effluent coming from your tank is much cleaner means that you have much less chance of clogging your drainfield. When your tank is full of anaerobic bacteria, your effluent tends to have a high solids content. They simply can't work quickly enough to process all of the solid waste. Over time, this can lead to those solids clogging up the small pipes inside of your drainfield.

In addition, there's less risk of a biomat forming in your drainfield pipes. A biomat is a large film of bacteria that forms in a pipe to eat the solid waste that's there. With cleaner effluent and less solid waste, there's a significantly lower chance of a biomat forming. Thick biomats can also clog your drainfield, so this is another way that an aerator keeps your drainfield healthy.

Can Installing a Septic Aerator Cause Any Problems With Your System?

One potential downside of installing an aerator on your existing septic tank is that it can dredge up solids from the bottom, which allows them to flow through the outlet pipe into your drainfield. Septic tanks that are designed for aeration use multiple chambers to prevent this problem.

You can minimize the chance of this happening when you install an aerator by placing it close to the outlet side of your septic tank. Most solids collect towards the inlet side, so installing your aerator near the outlet reduces the risk that it will dredge up any solid waste.

A minor downside of installing an aerator is that your property will smell fairly foul for about a day after you install it. You've opened up your septic tank to the air, so you'll be able to smell its contents. Once the aerobic bacteria have the chance to take hold, however, the smell will quickly go away.

When properly installed, an aerator is a great way to boost the efficiency of your septic tank by allowing aerobic bacteria to grow in it. You can purchase one at a store that sells septic system supplies — make sure you buy one that's designed to be used on conventional septic tanks in order to upgrade them to an aeration model.

For more information about aerators and other septic supplies, contact a company like American Pumping Service.