If you live in a rural area where there is no municipal sewer line, you probably have a septic system to hold the water and solid wastes that go through your pipes. Everything from the kitchen and bathrooms empties into the septic tank. The solids fall to the bottom and the liquid flows out through port holes into a drain field that has been prepared in a way to help filter it before it goes into the underground water table. Eventually, the solid wastes build up and need to be pumped out of the tank or it can end up flowing back into your home or seeping up into your yard. Hopefully, you have the system pumped and cleaned before this happens. Here is a bit of information to help you through your first septic system servicing.
The average price to have a septic tank cleaned is between $279 and $515. When you are talking to the technician, make sure that you know what is included for that price. Some companies will charge extra if they have to locate the tank and do any digging to get to the opening. There may also be extra fees to dump your wastes at the waste station. You should also ask if the tank is larger than expected if they will charge you more. Finally, make sure that the inlets and outlet ports will be inspected for any clogs or damage.
If this is the first time you have emptied this tank, you have no way of knowing how fast the tank filled. However, it is a good idea to ask the technician how full the tank was. Knowing how long you lived in the house and how much use the system gets because of the number of people using it can help you determine when you will need to have the tank pumped again. If you have a lot of extra people staying with you during the year or have children moving out, you can adjust the time for cleaning accordingly. Once you have a second cleaning you will have an even better idea of how often to pump the tank because you will have started with an empty one. However, as a rule of thumb, you should have it checked, pumped, and cleaned every three years.
To help care for your septic system, be sure not to plant trees over the drain field or close to the tank to prevent the roots from breaking the tank or disrupting the drain field. Do not drive vehicles over the drain field as this will compact the ground, stopping the water from being able to drain properly. As long as you have it cleaned regularly, having a septic system should not be any problem at all.