In the United States the average cost of having a septic tank pumped is around $275; however, according to Angie’s List it can be as low as $100 and as high as $1200. Septic tank pumping cost more for homes that are located a far distance from the pumping company than for homes that are close to it. Prices are also affected by how often the tank is emptied: tanks that are emptied every 2-3 years are cheaper to empty than tanks that are left to build up for years on end. Septic tanks not cleaned for over ten years often need to be replaced which cost anywhere from $5000-$10,000. Additionally, the size of the tank affects the cost of having it pumped; typically tanks range in size from 1000 gallons to 2500 gallons. The cost to pump a septic tank is also affected by if the septic company has to locate the septic tank and its opening.
Septic tank pumping companies
There are hundreds of septic tank pumping companies in the United States. Areas where numerous companies are located tend to be less expensive than companies located in areas with minimal competition are. Some companies give a discount to repeat customers. Septic tank pumping companies vary in costs and the large majority do not give prices on their website, so homeowners will need to contact the companies near them by phone or email to get a cost quote. Homeowners should only hire a licensed company; an unlicensed company will be less expensive than a licensed one will be; however, if the job is not done correctly it could cost the homeowner thousands of dollars. Septic tank pumping companies charge anywhere from $100-$1200 to pump out a septic tank.
How often should a septic tank be pumped
Septic tanks should be pumped every 2-5 years depending on their size and how many people use it. A smaller or average 1000 gallon tank and/or a home with a large family, especially one with children, should have their septic tank pumped every 2-3 years. Homes with a larger tank or a smaller family can usually be pumped every five years. The water usage in the house also affects how often a septic tank should be pumped; a home with high water use will need to be pumped more often than a home that has low water use. In addition, homes that allow waste such as vegetable peels to go down the drain will need to empty their septic tank more often than homes that are careful about what goes down the drain. Proper septic tank care is important, if it is allowed to overfill, it will clog, and may need to be replaced, which costs from $5000-$10,000. More information about it can be found here.
How a Septic Tank Works
A home with a septic system is one that is not hooked up to the city’s sewage system. When water is ran, the toilet is flushed, when a load of laundry is done, the water and waste goes to the septic tank. The septic tank is buried in the ground a safe distance from the house, the water and waste, goes into the tank where some of the waste sinks to the bottom and some floats atop. Once the water level in the septic tank reaches a certain level, some of the water and waste gets pushed out into the drainfield, where it slowly seeps into the ground. Inside the septic tank, anaerobic bacteria live. Anaerobic bacteria eats the waste in the septic tank. In addition, some of the bacteria is in the water and waste that goes to the drainfield, where it continues to eat the waste.
Septic Tank Bacteria
All septic tanks have billions of naturally occurring bacteria that eats the waste in it. The bacteria eats the waste and turns it into gas or liquid. Without the bacteria, the septic tank would overfill and clog. Generally, it is not necessary to add bacteria to an already running septic system. However, when a new tank is put in or if something happens to change the the Ph balance in the tank, bacteria should be added. Bacteria for septic systems can be purchased at any hardware store for $5-$20 a box.
Septic Tank Problems
Septic tanks are prone to problems and if not dealt with quickly and correctly could end up costing thousands to fix or replace. Home owners should watch for the warning signs of septic tank problems: overflowing toilet, drains making gurgling sounds, slow flushing toilet, bad odors coming from drains, and a foul smell on the land in the septic tank area.
One of the most common septic tank problems is caused by too much water going into the tank, which doesn’t allow the waste to break down enough before it is pushed out in the drainfield. This can cause clogging. To help avoid too much water in the tank issues, it is best to wash clothes over several days, instead of doing it all on one day, take shorter showers and use a low flow showerhead and install a low flush toilet.
Another common septic tank problem is clogging and filling due to non-biodegradable products. Nothing but water, toilet paper and bodily waste should go into the septic tank. Food waste, grease, oil, female sanitary products, paper towels and everything else should go in the garbage, never down the drain or flushed down the toilet. Only septic safe toilet paper should be used.
Using harsh chemicals and too much detergent are both common mistakes people make with a septic system. The phosphates in powered detergents cause algae growth in the pipes that can cause blockages and harsh chemicals kill off the important bacteria in the tank and poison the drainfield and ground around it.
Not having the septic tank pumped out regularly is a serious mistake many home owners make. If the tank is allowed to fill up completely it will clog and overfull, and will cause the homeowner serious problems. To stop potential problems, septic tanks should be emptied every 2-5 years, depending on the tanks size and how big the household is.