Septic Tanks and Cistern Tanks – What’s the Difference?

Septic tanks and cistern tanks are both types of wastewater storage systems, but they serve different functions and are used in different contexts.

Septic tanks are commonly used in residential and commercial properties for the treatment and disposal of wastewater, while cistern tanks are primarily used for collecting and storing rainwater. There are many key differences between septic tanks and cistern tanks, including their functions, importance, and servicing requirements.

To know which tank will work best for your situation, it’s important to understand what makes them different and how they can benefit you.

How do Septic Tanks Function?

Septic tanks are an integral part of wastewater management systems in areas without access to municipal sewer lines. They are typically buried underground and receive wastewater from toilets, sinks, showers, and any other sources.

The septic tank’s primary function is to separate solids, such as sludge and scum, from the liquid portion of the wastewater. The liquid portion, known as effluent, is then discharged into the drain field or leach field, where it undergoes further treatment through natural processes in the soil before returning to the groundwater.

Importance of Septic Tanks Every Day

Septic tanks are crucial for properties that are not connected to a public sewer system, such as rural homes and businesses. They provide an on-site means of treating and disposing of wastewater, ensuring that it does not contaminate the environment or pose a health risk.

Properly functioning septic tanks prevent the release of harmful bacteria, viruses, and pollutants into the soil, water bodies, and groundwater, thus protecting public health and the environment.

Septic tanks also help in conserving water by recycling treated effluent back into the groundwater, reducing the strain on water resources.

Professional Servicing of Septic Tanks

Septic tanks require regular maintenance and servicing to ensure efficient and effective operation.

The frequency of servicing depends on various factors, including tank size, water usage, and the number of occupants on the property. Generally, septic tanks should be inspected by a professional every one to three years and pumped out every three to five years, although this may vary based on local regulations and conditions. It’s important to keep track of when your septic tank has been serviced to avoid the chance of dangerous build-ups and blockages.

During servicing, the septic tank is inspected for signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks, and the sludge and scum layers are measured. If these layers exceed recommended levels, the tank needs to be pumped out to remove the accumulated solids.

It is important to note that only licensed professionals should perform septic tank servicing, as mishandling or improper maintenance can lead to system failure, environmental pollution, and costly repairs.

The function of Cistern Tanks

On the other hand, cistern tanks are designed to collect and store rainwater for non-potable uses, such as irrigation, toilet flushing, and laundry. Cistern tanks can be installed above ground or underground, depending on the property’s requirements and available space.

Rainwater collected from rooftops is directed to the cistern tank through gutters and downspouts, where it is stored until needed for various purposes.

Why is Cistern Tanks Important?

Cistern tanks play a vital role in sustainable water management by capturing and storing natural rainwater for reuse, thus reducing your reliance on freshwater sources for non-potable applications. This helps to conserve water, especially in areas with limited water availability or during drought conditions.

By directing and storing rainwater, cistern tanks can help reduce stormwater runoff, which can cause erosion, flooding, and pollution of water bodies by reducing the volume of water flowing off the property.

Servicing of Cistern Tanks

Cistern tanks require periodic maintenance to ensure the proper functioning and to prevent water quality issues. While the water they store is not for human consumption, it can cause environmental damage if not properly contained and treated.

As with septic tanks, the frequency of servicing depends on factors such as tank size, water usage, and local climate conditions. Generally, cistern tanks should be inspected and serviced at least once a year, although more frequent inspections may be required in areas with heavy rainfall or high levels of debris.

During servicing, cistern tanks are inspected for signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or corrosion. Inlet screens and filters, if present, are checked for clogs and are cleaned, as needed.

The tank is also checked for adequate water levels and proper functioning of any pumps, valves, or controls associated with the system. If any issues are detected, they are addressed promptly to ensure the continued functionality of the cistern tank.

One critical aspect of cistern tank servicing is water quality testing. The stored rainwater should be periodically tested for parameters such as pH, turbidity, bacteria, and other contaminants to ensure that the water is safe for its intended uses. If any water quality issues are identified, appropriate measures such as filtration, disinfection, or treatment may be required to maintain water quality standards.

It is essential to note that proper maintenance of cistern tanks is crucial to prevent contamination of stored rainwater. Regular inspections and servicing help to identify and address any issues that may affect water quality, ensuring that the collected rainwater remains safe for its intended uses.

While septic tanks and cistern tanks may share some similarities, as they are both water storage systems, they serve distinct functions and require different servicing protocols. Septic tanks are designed for the treatment and disposal of wastewater, while cistern tanks are used for collecting and storing rainwater for non-potable uses.

Septic tanks are critical for properties without access to municipal sewer lines, while cistern tanks play a crucial role in sustainable water management by conserving freshwater resources.

Proper servicing, performed by licensed professionals (, is essential for both types of tanks to ensure their efficient and effective operation. Regular service also prevents any potential environmental or health hazards.

Regular inspections, maintenance, and water quality testing are vital for septic tanks and cistern tanks to function optimally and fulfill their respective roles in wastewater management and water conservation. With proper servicing and use, both types of tanks can protect the environment and support the lives of the people around them.

Typical Signs of a Clogged Drain

As a homeowner, it’s important to keep your home’s plumbing system in good condition. One of the most common plumbing problems that homeowners face is a clogged drain. A clogged drain not only causes inconvenience but can also lead to costly repairs if not taken care of properly. In this blog post, we will be discussing the typical signs of a clogged drain and what to do when you encounter them.

Slow Draining Sinks

One of the most common signs of a clogged drain is a slow-draining sink. When water takes longer than usual to drain, it may be a sign of a clog in the drainpipe. To fix this issue, you can try using a sink plunger or a drain snake to remove the obstruction.

Bad Odors

Foul smells emanating from your sink or drain may indicate a clogged drain. This is because food particles or other debris that have been trapped in the drain can produce odors over time. To get rid of the smell, consider using a natural cleaner like baking soda and vinegar, or a chemical drain cleaner.

Water on the Floor Around the Appliances

If you spot water on the floor around your appliances, such as your washing machine or dishwasher, it could be due to a clogged drain. When water can’t flow through the drainpipes, it may overflow and spill onto the floor. Try cleaning the drain trap or using a plumbing snake to unclog the drain.

Backed Up Drains or Toilets

A blocked drain can cause water to back up, leading to an overflow. If you notice water backing up into your sink or toilet, it’s likely that you have a clogged drain. In this case, try plunging the sink or toilet to remove the blockage.

High Water Bills

A clogged drain can often cause your water bills to skyrocket. If you notice a sudden increase in your water bill but have not drastically increased your usage, it could be due to a clogged drain. A clog can slow the draining process, which means your water will be running longer than usual.

Pests and Rodents

You may see an increase in pest or rodent activity around clogged sink drains. This is because a clogged drain can attract insects and rodents looking for food or water. If you spot this issue, try sealing off any cracks in the pipes and cleaning the drain. Before calling pest control, call a professional plumber to check out the problem.

Need a Solution for Blocked Drains?

A clogged drain is an inconvenience that many homeowners must deal with. However, if you know the signs and symptoms of a clogged drain, you can avoid costly repairs and keep your plumbing system running like new. You can always try DIY options first but don’t hesitate to call Drane Ranger if the problem persists or if you’re unsure what to do. We specialize in maintaining and clearing drains. Remember, preventive maintenance is key to keeping your plumbing system in good condition, so call Drane Ranger to take care of the problem today!

What’s the Best Solution to Blocked Drains Caused by the Build Up of Fat, Oil, and Grease?

Blocked drains are a common problem in many households, and they can be frustrating to deal with. Clogs caused by fat, oil, and grease can build up over time, leading to slow drainage and even complete blockages. These substances are common in many household items, such as cooking oil, butter, gravy, and meat juices. Most homeowners aren’t aware of the damage caused by these substances when they are washed down the drain.

Causes of Blocked Drains

Many people don’t realize that fat, oil, and grease can lead to blocked drains. When these liquids are poured down the drain, they can stick to the inside of the pipes and build up over time, causing blockages. This not only creates an unpleasant smell but also affects the efficiency of the entire drainage system.

To avoid experiencing blocked drains in the future, there are a few things that you can do to mitigate the problem. Firstly, always use a strainer in your sink to catch any food particles, grease, or hair that may fall into it. Secondly, avoid pouring cooking oil or grease down the sink or throwing it in the toilet. Instead, store it in a separate container until it solidifies, and then throw it away in the trash can. Lastly, consider using soap products made with minimal fat, oil, and grease components.

Solutions for Blocked Drains

Now, let’s look at the best solutions for blocked drains. There are a variety of things you can try before calling a professional, outlined below!

  • Hot Water: When you first experience a blocked drain, consider pouring boiling water down the drain. This can help to break up any build-up inside the pipe, even if it has begun to solidify.
  • Caustic Drain Cleaners: Caustic drain cleaners can be another solution (especially for more difficult clogs) as they are designed to dissolve fat, oil, and grease.
  • 1:1 Vinegar and Hot Water: Mix equal parts of hot water and vinegar and pour it down your drain. The vinegar is an acid and can be corrosive, which helps to break down any buildup along the way.
  • Compressed Air: When used inside the sink and waste pipe, compressed air can help to clear blockages. More importantly, it’s much less harmful to the environment than many other solutions.
  • Chemical Cleaners: Lastly, if other solutions have failed, consider using a chemical drain cleaner. However, be cautious when using these solutions, as they can be extremely toxic and hazardous.

When all else fails, consider calling a professional to deal with your blocked drain issue. Unclogging blockages caused by fat, oil, and grease can be especially difficult for homeowners. Fortunately, a professional drain cleaning service like Drane Ranger can help you unclog the drain with powerful tools and experience while ensuring minimal or even no damage to your pipes.

Hire a Professional

Drain blockages can be a hassle for homeowners, but it’s essential to recognize the root cause. Avoid pouring fat, oil, and grease substances down drains! Use a strainer to catch debris and consider using soap products that have minimal fat, oil, or grease components to avoid future blockages. However, suppose a blockage has already occurred. In that case, try the above-mentioned tips. If nothing works, call a professional ( to get the job done for you. At Drane Ranger, we specialize in clearing blocked drains and getting everything running smoothly again. Call us today for more information!