Having a house with a septic tank means that you will need to get the tank pumped periodically. Knowing that, you need to call for regular septic tank pumping (also known as septic tank cleaning). Here is everything you need to know about getting your tank pumped.
How much does septic tank pumping cost?
What costs are involved when you are getting your septic tank pumped? While many septic trucks use a flat rate for a simple pump. This cost can range from $100 to $500 or higher, depending on your tank.
The factors that affect the cost of pumping your tank will depend on several factors.
What’s involved in pumping a septic tank?
After you call a septic tank pumping near you, they will come with a vacuum truck and locate the tank lid. Normally when a tank is pumped, it involves removing all of the toilet paper, greywater, sludge layer, effluent, and scum layer from the tank. This is the most common and basic pump charge. However, there are other factors that can increase the pumping cost.
Treat your tank right. Here are the best septic safe toilet papers.
Septic tank size
There are a variety of septic tank sizes. They can range from 500 gallons to 1750 gallons tank. A 500-gallon tank under normal usage for a family of 4 would need to be pumped every year. A 1750 gallon tank would take a few years for a typical family to fill.
The septic service trucks themselves can range up to 5000 gallons and can usually clean the whole tank in one visit. This depends on how full the pump truck is before it arrives. If you do not have a drain field, you may have a larger tank to accommodate the extra water usage.
Availability of septic pumping trucks
In some areas, there has been a shortage of septic pump trucks. This has led to an increase in demand for septic tank services. When demand for these services goes up, there can be a corresponding increase in price.
Travel time to a local drop off lagoon or landfill
It used to be that septic trucks could dispose of their waste in any landfill. Now there are disposal sites designated as waste disposal sites for sewage. If there aren’t any landfills nearby your home, the pump truck will need to travel extra to dispose of the sewage.
The time it takes to pump a septic tank
For a straightforward pump, meaning there is no other labor and time involved. The tank pumping will be in-between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the truck and the size of the tank.
Location of the tank
Other factors that may be involved in getting your tank pumped will be the holding tank’s location. If your tank is hard to find or needs excavation, it will cost more. You could be charged machine hours and labor if this is the case. These are rare and only if your tank has been neglected for a period of years.
Location of your house
Depending on where your house is located, you may be charged a travel charge for getting your tank pumped. This can be either a flat rate or based on a per-mile basis. The price of gas can have a huge impact on the cost as well. This cost is usually passed on to the customer with an increase in tanks pumped.
Additional charges that can arise are if there are blockages in the lines running to the tank or to the drain field (hair and paper towel often cause this). If this is the case, then you will be charged an hourly rate depending on how long the blockage takes to get cleared. There are other things that need to happen, like a riser installation or septic system maintenance, you may incur other charges.
The best thing to do is ask what the charge is and what else you think may be needed to get a good idea of what you will pay.
What is the cost of a septic tank cleaning?
The average tank that would be pumped on a weekly or bi-weekly basis would cost anywhere between $100 and $300. You may find it for as little as $75 depending on all of the above factors, but budgeting for $100 to $300 per cleaning is the best bet.
Of course, pricing will depend on all of the above factors. Once the size of the tank gets above 1000 gallons, the price can go up to $400 to $500, depending on the time and labor involved in finding your tank.
Ultimately the cost for getting your septic tank cleaned can change radically with all of the above various factors in mind.
How often should I have a septic tank cleaned?
There are a ton of different answers online. The best I have found is a family of four should have their tank pumped once a year. If that tank is 500 gallons, this is, of course, using a septic drain field system.
Septic systems with no leach field will fill up possibly within a week or less, depending on how large of a tank. These are essentially holding tanks. If you start to notice a septic tank smell in your house, it could be time to get another pump out.
How do they find the tank?
If you do not know where your septic tank is, your septic service professional can look to get the tank for you at an additional charge. This will involve taking a prodding stick and walking around the property pushing the stick in it every couple of feet in an attempt to locate the lid of the septic tank.
Next, they will need to dig out the lead by removing the sod in the dirt. You can save yourself money by digging this out yourself.
Unlike a cesspool, septic tanks are quite easy to find.
How often should a septic tank be pumped?
The simple answer is whenever your septic tank is full. The time in between your tank cleanings is going to depend on your usage, the size of the tank, and how many people are in your household.
We have a family of four and a drain field, and we get ours pumped once a year. Our tank is 500 gallons. We do our best to conserve water. We don’t have a garbage disposal; those will fill your tank very quickly. Keep in mind that everything that goes down the drain needs to be pumped out can help you curb your water waste.
If we had a 1500 gallon tank, it would only need to be pumped once every 3 years or more if it was just two people.
Your household’s water usage will depend on a multitude of things. For instance, if your toilet is running, water is going to fill the tank faster. In general, more people means a larger amount of toilets flushing, a larger volume of solids and liquids which means more frequent pumping.
Final thoughts on septic tank pumping and cleaning
Before you have your septic tank pumped, it is always a good idea to ask how much they charge for the cleaning and what it covers. When you think it is going to be more than a basic pump and clean and then it’s a good idea to mention it first. That way, the qualified septic professional can come out with the proper equipment.
There are likely several quality septic services in your area. Ask around, or if you need one right away, you can search for a quality commercial septic cleaner near you. Good luck!