How Much Does It Cost to Have Your Septic Tank Pumped?

by Team eLocal
Emptying septic tank

How long has it been since you had your septic tank pumped? Without regular pumping, you could have a stinky, expensive mess on your hands should the tank overflow or break.

Experts recommend pumping your septic tank every three to five years. Understanding the average septic tank pumping cost can help you prepare for this regular maintenance expense.

How Much Does It Cost to Have Your Septic Tank Pumped?

According to Hemley’s Septic Service of Washington, septic tank pumping costs typically fall between about $280 and $525, with an average cost of $385. This is only the cost of pumping; any additional repairs or services will cost more. Pumping a septic tank is not a DIY job, so you'll have to pay a professional for this service.

The two main factors that determine the price of the service are your location and the size of your tank. Pricing can vary by region. Regardless of where you live, you'll pay more to have a larger tank pumped than you would for a smaller tank. The job cost can also vary based on how full the tank is. If you've waited too long to have it pumped, the process might cost more, and you might have additional expenses to correct the issue.

What Other Septic Tank Services Might You Need?

When you maintain your septic tank well, it shouldn't need much maintenance. However, you might need to replace other parts occasionally. If the septic tank company discovers any other issues that need to be repaired, the parts and repair costs vary. Here are some examples of replacement costs for various septic tank parts, based on data from Bob Vila:

  • Baffle replacement: $300 to $500
  • Pump replacement: $800 to $1,400
  • Drain field replacement: $7,000
  • Filter replacement: $230 to $280
  • Tank lid replacement: $30 to $70

How Often Should You Have Your Septic Tank Pumped?

The general guideline is to have your septic tank pumped once every three to five years, but the actual timing depends on many factors. The septic tank size, number of household members and frequency of use can affect how frequently you need to pump your septic tank. If you have a large tank with only one or two people in your home, you might not need to have it pumped as often. If you have a smaller tank or you have a large family, your tank will fill a lot faster and need to be pumped sooner. Having regular inspections from your septic tank company helps you determine when to have the tank pumped.

What Can Happen If You Don't Pump Your Septic Tank Often Enough?

If you wait too long to pump your septic tank, the solid waste in the tank builds up too much and can clog the pipe leading to the drain field. This can cause wastewater to back up through the drains into your home or slow down your drains. Outside, you might notice a sewer smell, swampiness in the drain field area or extra bright grass in the area. Repairing these issues can be costly, so it's better to budget for the pumping costs than to let it go too long without pumping.

Tips to Lower Septic Tank Pumping Cost

Having your septic tank pumped regularly is necessary, but you can lower the overall costs of pumping and maintaining your septic tank with proper care. Here are some ways to prevent issues with your tank:

  • Only flush waste. If you flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper, you could cause clogs and fill the septic tank up much faster.
  • Avoid chemicals. Skip any harsh chemicals in your sinks and toilets as they can harm the beneficial bacteria in the tank that help break down the waste. Even septic tank additives that claim to help can disrupt the balance.
  • Limit water use. The more water you put into your septic tank, the more it stresses the system. Limit the amount of water you put down your drains. Drain things like hot tubs and pools in the yard away from your septic tank and drain field.
  • Minimize landscaping. Avoid any major landscaping around your septic tank, especially trees or shrubs with deep or expansive root systems. The roots can interfere with the drainage system and cause issues that require professional repairs.
  • Don't drive on it. Another way to prevent damage to your septic tank is to never drive over the septic tank or drain field. This can damage the system and prevent it from working properly.