Asking the Big Questions About Septic Service and Pumping

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Septic tanks are an option for independently handling your waste and wastewater, rather than sending it into the public sewage system. In some ways, it is nice to know this is all under your control. But having your own septic system also means you need to take care of that system, and if you're like most homeowners, you have a few questions about that. Hopefully, you'll discover the answers here!

How do septic companies access the tank?

When you call to have your tank pumped every few years, your septic system cleaning company will bring out a big pump truck. They will access the tank by removing the manhole cover over the top of it, and then they'll put the hose, which is connected to the pump, down into the tank. Removing the manhole cover is pretty tough, so leave this for the septic cleaning company to do. There's no reason to do it on your own. You should, however, locate the manhole cover. If you're not sure where it is, look on the drawings that accompany your home's deed; they will typically show the location of the cover.

How do you know when the tank needs service?

If you do things right, you won't know the tank needs service. You'll have it pumped before it starts showing signs that it's full. For the average home, pumping every 3 years is adequate. If you have quite a few people living in a smaller home with a smaller septic tank, having it pumped every year is a good choice. It's also important to have your tank pumped yearly if you use a garbage disposal, since all of that food waste tends to build up in the tank.

That being said, if you experience any of the following issues, your tank is full and needs pumping right away:

  • Sewage backing up into your tubs, sinks, or toilets
  • Sewage odors coming from the drains
  • Slow drains and toilets that don't want to flush

How much does septic pumping cost?

This depends on the economy in your area and also on the size of your tank. In most lower cost-of-living areas, you can expect to pay between $200 and $400 to have your tank pumped. The cost in higher cost-of-living areas may be a bit higher. But remember, paying for this service does help ensure you don't have any big, expensive-to-fix plumbing issues later on.

Now that you know a little more about septic pumping and maintenance, head out there and schedule your service!

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