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Upgrading Your Septic System: When and How to Do It

While septic systems are designed to last for decades, they do require regular maintenance and occasional upgrades to keep them functioning properly.

When to Upgrade Your Septic System

According to the University of Florida, a septic system can be expected to last for up to 30 years, but there are a few signs that may indicate that it is time for an upgrade. Here are some of the most common indicators that your septic system needs an upgrade:


The age of your septic system is a key factor in determining whether an upgrade is necessary. A well-maintained septic system can last for decades, but older systems may begin to deteriorate and become less efficient over time.

Drainage problems

If you are experiencing frequent backups, slow drains, or standing water in your yard, it could be a sign that your septic system is failing. These issues may indicate that your septic system is no longer able to handle the volume of wastewater that your household generates.


Foul odors around your property or in your home could indicate that your septic system is not functioning properly. These smells may be caused by a buildup of gases in the tank or by wastewater leaking into the soil.

Increased Water Usage

If you have recently added a new bathroom or increased the number of occupants in your home, your septic system may be struggling to keep up with the increased volume of wastewater. This may require an upgrade to your septic tank or drain field to accommodate the additional demand.

What Might Need to Be Upgraded?

Several components of a septic system can potentially require upgrading or replacement, depending on the age and condition of the system.

These components include:

Septic Tank

Over time, a septic tank can deteriorate due to corrosion or other factors. In some cases, an older or undersized tank may need to be replaced to accommodate the needs of a larger household.

Drain Field

The drain field is responsible for dispersing and filtering effluent from the septic tank. If the soil becomes saturated or the field becomes clogged, it may be necessary to either expand the drain field or install a new one.

Distribution Box

This component distributes effluent evenly across the drain field. If the distribution box is damaged or malfunctioning, it may need to be replaced.


In some septic systems, a pump is used to move effluent from the septic tank to the drain field. If the pump fails, it may need to be replaced.

Inlet/Outlet Baffles

These components help to regulate the flow of effluent in and out of the septic tank. If the baffles become damaged or corroded, they may need to be replaced.

Upgrading or replacing these components may be necessary to maintain the proper functioning of a septic system and prevent potentially costly and hazardous backups or system failures.

How to Upgrade Your Septic System

If you have determined that an upgrade to your septic system is necessary, there are several steps that you will need to take to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Here is a step-by-step guide to upgrading your septic system:

Step 1: Hire a Professional

Upgrading a septic system is not a DIY project. It is essential that you hire a licensed and experienced septic professional to handle the upgrade. They will be able to assess your existing system, design the new system, obtain any necessary permits, and install the new system according to local regulations and industry best practices.

Step 2: Determine the Type of Upgrade Needed

There are several types of upgrades that may be needed, depending on the condition of your existing septic system and the demands of your household. The most common upgrades include:

  • Septic tank replacement: If your septic tank is damaged, leaking, or too small to accommodate the volume of wastewater that your household generates, it may need to be replaced.
  • Drain field replacement: If your septic drain field is no longer able to absorb wastewater efficiently, it may need to be replaced.
  • Adding a pump: If your septic system is struggling to move wastewater uphill to the drain field, adding a pump may be necessary.
  • Adding a second drain field: If your household has a high water usage, adding a second drain field may be necessary to provide additional capacity.

Your septic contractor will be able to determine the most appropriate upgrade for your specific situation.

Step 3: Obtain Permits

Most municipalities require permits for septic system upgrades. Your septic company will be able to obtain the necessary permits on your behalf, but you may be required to provide certain documentation, such as a site plan and soil analysis.

Step 4: Install the New System

Once the permits have been obtained, your septic contractor will begin the installation process. This may involve excavation and removal of the existing septic system components, installation of new components, and testing of the new system to ensure that it is functioning properly. The installation process may take several days, depending on the complexity of the upgrade.

Step 5: Maintain the New System

After the new septic system has been installed, it is essential that you follow a regular maintenance schedule to ensure that it continues to function properly. This may involve having your system inspected and pumped regularly, avoiding flushing non-biodegradable items down the drain, and conserving water whenever possible.

Benefits of Upgrading Your Septic System

Upgrading your septic system can provide several benefits, including:

  • Improved system efficiency, which can reduce the risk of backups and drainage problems.
  • Increase the value of your property and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Reducing the risk of groundwater contamination and other environmental hazards.
  • Cost savings in the long run by reducing the risk of costly repairs and replacements.

Septic Company In and Near Lakeland

If you think it may be time for an upgrade of your septic system – or for any septic service in and near Lakeland – contact Septic and Drainfield Depot. We serve homes and businesses throughout central Florida.

Our experienced septic technicians can do a septic inspection and provide recommendations for whether your septic system needs repairs or replacing. Get a free estimate today.

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