Septic tank systems can be made out of a wide range of different materials, each of which carries a different set of advantages and disadvantages. However, they can also be more broadly grouped into two main categories, aerobic and anaerobic systems. Aerobic septic tank systems make use of air to aid in the decomposition process, whereas anaerobic systems do not. Understanding the differences between these two types of septic tanks can help you choose the one that best fits your needs.
Anaerobic Septic Tank Systems
Anaerobic septic tanks are the more common of the two types of septic tanks, partly because they are fairly affordable. They tend to cost significantly less than aerobic systems, though this will also depend on the size and type of material that your septic tank is made out of. Additionally, because they are more common, it is easier to find a contractor to install your system, which means that your installation costs will be lower as well, due to increased competition. Additionally, anaerobic systems do not require much maintenance to continue working properly.
However, anaerobic septic tank systems tend to be much larger than aerobic systems, which means the installation process will be more disruptive and will also require more space, which can be an issue for small properties. Additionally, anaerobic septic tanks tend to break down more quickly than aerobic systems do, because the gases they create are more corrosive, one of which is methane. Methane smells like rotten eggs, which means that if there's a leak in your system, you will have to deal with an extremely strong smell.
Aerobic Septic Tank Systems
Aerobic septic tank systems work faster and produce less gas than anaerobic systems. This is because they draw air into the system to speed up the decomposition process of the waste, a process that also produces fewer emissions, eliminating the rotten egg smell commonly associated with septic tanks. Furthermore, because of their increased efficiency, aerobic septic tanks tend to be smaller, making them ideal for smaller properties.
However, aerobic septic tanks are more expensive than anaerobic systems and require electricity to continue working. This means that they are more complex systems, which means they can fail more often and will require more maintenance than their anaerobic counterparts. Furthermore, in the event of a power outage, your septic tank will not work, which can be a serious problem, especially in areas that have less-than-reliable power in the first place.