Does Your Septic Tank Need A Filter?

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Does Your Septic Tank Need A Filter? The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Septic tanks are the most common type of wastewater disposal system in North America. Septic tanks collect and treat sewage waste from homes and businesses, before releasing it into the ground. As aerobic bacteria break down septic waste, solids remains either as floating scum or settle at the bottom of the tank (sludge layer) while effluent flows to the drain field. Smaller, solid particles can remain in the effluent and flow to the drain field where they cause clogging.

A septic filter also known as an effluent filter, plays a crucial role in the septic system by removing solids from the effluent. This cylindrical device is attached to the outlet baffle of the septic tank and prevents solids from clogging the septic pump and drain field. Effluent filters may not be present in older septic systems. A septic filter can be easily installed onto existing septic tanks. Regulations in most towns and counties require that septic tanks must have an effluent filter installed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Effluent Filters

Some of the advantages of septic tank filters include:

  • Effluent filters are a cost-effective and efficient way of removing solids from septic effluent. This prevents clogging of the drain field, which can cause backups into your home and is costly to repair.
  • Easy to install and require low maintenance.

Some of the drawbacks of septic tank filters include:

  • Septic filters require regular cleaning.
  • Damage to the septic filter can cause your septic system to fail because of clogs.
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Tell-Tale Signs of a bad Septic Tank Filter 

Septic tank filters are one of the most important parts of your septic system. If you notice any of these tell-tale signs, you may need a new filter installed:

  • Clogged Drainage Pipes. A tell-tale sign of clogged drainage pipes is slow moving wastewater.
  • When you hear gurgling noises coming from your toilet, sink or tub, this could be a sign that your septic filter is not functioning properly. You should not ignore the sound and you should call a professional plumber to get it fixed.
  • The effluent level of the septic tank should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that it is not too high. If it is, it means effluent is not being properly discharged into the drain field because of a clogged septic filter. You can easily check the septic tank’s effluent level by opening its access lid.
  • Abnormally Dry Drain field. Septic effluent will not properly flow into the drain filed if the septic filter is severely clogged. This results in an abnormally dry drain field.

Septic Filter Maintenance tips

Septic filter maintenance is important because it helps to prevent clogging and back-ups that can lead to environmental damage or health hazards. A well-functioning septic filter helps prolong the lifespan of your septic tank. Some septic filter maintenance tips are:

  • One of the most common places people dispose non-biodegradable materials is the toilet. These items can clog the toilet and create an expensive mess. Many people are unaware of the harmful effects of cigarette butts, sanitary pads, condoms, baby wipes and cotton swabs. If you want to dispose these materials properly, you should throw them into the trash. You should never flush them down the toilet or down the drain because they can cause a lot of damage to your septic plumbing system.
  • In order to boost the septic-friendly bacteria in your tank, you can add biological additives into your septic tank. A healthy septic bacterial population will help to keep your septic functioning optimally.
  • Septic tanks require regular pumping to keep them functioning properly. The frequency with which you need to pump your septic tank depends on how much solid waste it contains. The more solid waste there is in your tank, the more often you will need to pump it out.
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How to Clean Your Septic System Filter?

The filter in your septic tank is designed to trap solid particles before they can enter the drain field, so it needs to be cleaned regularly. They require minimal maintenance and are very easy to clean. Septic tank filters need to be cleaned every 1-3 years.

The steps for cleaning a septic system filter are:

  • In order to protect yourself, you must be equipped with proper PPEs such as gloves, safety googles, safety clothing and boots.
  • Open the septic tank’s access lid and remove the filter cartridge. Organic waste is digested by anaerobic bacteria in the first manhole, so it is important to hold or place the filter over that manhole. This ensures that any untreated raw sewage waste from the filter does not end up draining in the wrong manhole, where it will flow to the drain field.
  • Use a water hose to spray the filter in order to remove any debris or solids that are stuck to it.
  • Some effluent filters have an alarm that is triggered when the filter is clogged. If you have that type of effluent filter, make sure the filter alarm is working by lifting the float switch to activate the alarm.
  • Use the water hose to spray away any debris or solids that are stuck in the filter`s vent holes and modulating orifices.
  • Reinstall your septic filter and close the septic tank`s access lid.


Which kind of filter is used in septic tank?

The gravity effluent filters are usually made of plastic, and they’re affordable and easy to install.

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Where is the filter located in a septic tank?

Effluent filters or septic filters are typically located at the outlet tee of the septic tank where effluent is discharged and flows to the drain field.

Septic tank filter cost

Septic tank filters are an essential part of your septic system. The cost of a septic tank filter is usually between $100 and $300.

What happens if you don’t clean septic filter?

If you don’t clean your septic filter, it will get clogged with debris and solids. This in-turn leads to slow drains, foul odors and sewage backups in the house.

Final Thoughts

Septic or effluent filters are worth the investment if you want to avoid having an overflowing septic tank, clogged drain field, foul odors and sewage backups in the house.