RID-X septic tank treatments are made from bacteria that is said to effectively break down the waste in your tank. However, studies have shown that RID-X and similar additives are no more effective than the naturally-occurring bacteria in the tank. We ask plumbing and maintenance experts for their advice and a few alternatives. For details, see below.
Does RID-X Work?
RID-X is a brand of septic tank treatments designed to break down waste and said to keep septic tanks from requiring extra maintenance and/or backing up. It is made from natural bacteria and enzymes, namely cellulase, lipase, protease, and amylase. When added to a septic system once a month, RID-X claims to add targeted bacteria to the tank to break down vegetable matter, fats, grease, proteins, and starches more effectively than the naturally-occurring bacteria alone. But does RID-X really work?
We contacted various plumbing and maintenance experts in several different states to find out if professionals would recommend RID-X; none of the experts we spoke to would recommend using RID-X. The experts said: While it is safe to use and won’t damage your plumbing system, in most cases, the enzymes that naturally occur in the tank are just as effective as long as the system isn’t overloaded. Additives are unnecessary, the plumbing professionals told us.
Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that “the effectiveness of additives [like RID-X and others] has not been determined; in fact, many studies show that additives have no significant effects on a tank’s bacterial populations.”
One often-recommended alternative to RID-X is baking soda, but Dave’s Septic Service in the New England area cautions that baking soda can raise the PH in the tank too much and harm the system. One expert from a septic maintenance company we contacted recommended baking yeast in place of RID-X or baking soda.
The EPA, plumbing professionals, and RID-X agree that regular pumping — about every three years — is required to maintain your septic system and avoid back-ups, so you may want to contact your local septic tank maintenance company if you are having problems with your tank.
While RID-X won’t harm your plumbing or septic tank, studies have not shown such additives to be more effective than the naturally-occurring bacteria in the tank. The best way to maintain your septic system, according to the EPA, experts, and even RID-X, is to have it pumped regularly — usually about every three years.
Digging to install a new septic system? See our list of places where you can dump dirt for free.