Septic Tank Baffle: Functions, Types & Problems

Here, all our discussions will focus on the septic tank baffle.

Septic tanks are carefully constructed to serve the purpose of waste treatment. This holding tank for wastewater has various components including the baffles which serve an important function.

As we progress, you’ll find information on just about everything you need to know about septic tank baffles. This includes what they are, how they function, and the types of baffles among other things.

Without a doubt, this would be an interesting read for persons seeking to learn about this important septic tank component. So, are you ready, read on to find answers to all the pressing questions you have about septic tank baffles?

What Are Septic Tank Baffles?

Septic tanks may seem simple in their designs at first glance.

However, the functions they perform are a bit more complex than most people think. Key components such as the inlet and outlet baffle help in waste treatment by directing in an inflow of wastewater and outflow of effluent.

Without these components, a septic tank will hardly function effectively.

Basically, these baffles are located at entry and exit junctions of drainage pipes. There are two main openings through which waste enters and leaves a septic tank. Baffles are found at each of these inlets and outlets.

The positioning of these baffles has brought about the names inlet and outlet baffles.

As expected, the baffle connecting the inlet pipe is known as the inlet baffle while that leading out of the tank is known as the outlet baffle.

Functions of Septic Tank Baffles

Both the inlet and outlet baffles of a septic tank perform key functions.

Each of these components performs a different role. The inlet baffle is primarily designed to aid with the regulation of incoming wastewater flow.

This component ensures that wastewater entering the tank doesn’t disturb the three layers (that is the scum, effluent, and sludge). This mechanism ensures less disruption, thus making it possible for proper and faster separation of incoming wastewater into its three main phases or layers.

There are more benefits derived from the inlet baffle. By redirecting solid waste, issues such as the clogging up of the inlet pipe by the scum layer are prevented.

More importantly, less turbulence caused by wastewater moving into the tank ensures that the three layers (scum, effluent & sludge) remain undisturbed.

The outlet baffle on the other hand performs a much different role. This does a great deal of work by preventing the exit of solids to the drain field.

Baffle filters help in this regard to prevent the escape of solids from the septic tank. This is the exit point of effluent which drains out to the drain field for further treatment.

With the help of a baffle filter, the outlet baffle line on your septic tank will stop the escape of the scum mat. It’s important to ensure your drain field remains in great condition as anything outside of that could result in costly repairs.

Due to the volume of work done, the outlet baffle is often the first to develop faults.

 Types Of Septic Tank Baffles

It’s important to note that 2 categories of septic tank baffles exist. They include sanitary tees and wall baffles.

Although each of these baffle categories has its unique designs, they all perform similar functions. The key differences lie in their designs and efficiency.

  • Sanitary Tees

There has been a steady shift in preference for sanitary tees due to their perceived benefits.

This baffle category is mainly made of plastic. Sanitary tees are designed in such a way that the risk of clogs happening is reduced. What more? This type of septic tank baffle comes with effluent screens.

Such screens serve as barriers that keep out solids from getting out into the drain field. This design of sanitary tees makes them the favorites among contractors. Sanitary tees are also more recent compared to wall baffles.

  • Wall Baffles

Wall baffles are more common to older septic tanks (concrete) as they’re built directly onto the septic tank walls.

These are concrete structures that perform the basic functions of a baffle as outlined above. With wall baffles, solids coming into the septic tank get more space which helps limit clogs.

New septic tank designs come with sanitary tees than with wall baffles. In other words, wall baffles are becoming less common due to newer innovations.

Septic Tank Baffle Issues

As septic tanks get installed, their efficiency drops over time. This is caused by the failure of certain components such as the baffle. To keep your tank in good working condition, you’ll need to have the faulty baffle(s) fixed.

In most cases, three types of problems emerge with septic tank baffles. These components get missing, cracked, or worn out. When any of these problems occur, the smooth functioning of your septic tank is significantly affected.

Among the many issues that may result are unsanitary & soggy drain fields, plumbing backups, and sewage smells which are quite noticeable. Any of these symptoms will require calling for an assessment of your septic system.

To detect a faulty septic tank baffle, a visual inspection will be necessary. This procedure is best performed by a trained and experienced septic tank technician. It’s important to leave this task to the pros to avoid harm caused by dangerous septic tank gases.

Can A Faulty Septic Tank Baffle Be Fixed?

This is an important question because certain types (such as wall baffles) are attached to the septic tank walls. Fixing or retrofitting new baffles will be a delicate task that will require significant expertise.

While fixing some septic tank baffle damage is possible, certain situations will demand replacing the entire tank.

In such situations, the septic tank baffles are irredeemable. In other words, no amount of repair will get them working as normal.

Thankfully, faulty septic tank baffles aren’t a daily occurrence. It takes a long time before your baffle gets out of shape. In some situations, septic tank baffles never develop faults when properly maintained.

Septic tank baffles have been the focus as we’ve discussed how they work, types of baffles as well as common issues. Now that you know, you should be able to better maintain this important septic tank component.

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