How Much Is a Septic Tank

About 20% of U.S. homes use a septic tank system to remove waste from the property. These underground systems are essential for moving wastewater away from the home. 

When one of these systems malfunctions or needs to be changed, most homeowners will pay upwards of $6,000 for a new system and installation. The price depends on the type and size of the system and the cost of labor.

What Is a Septic Tank Used for?

A septic tank is primarily used in homes in rural areas that don’t have access to a centralized sewer system. The septic tank is the main part of the septic system. It is an underground structure used to treat wastewater from kitchen drains, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. 

When waste leaves a house, it enters the septic tank. The waste then sits in the septic tank long enough for the wastewater to separate naturally from solids and floatable matter, such as oils and greases. The remaining water is then filtered out of the tank and back into the soil. 

If you’re wondering how far can a septic tank be from the house, 50 meters is the ideal distance.

How Big of a Septic Tank Do I Need?

The size of a septic tank depends on the size of the house, but the recommended minimum size is 1000 gallons. This is a suitable size for a two to a three-bedroom house. An extra 250 gallons should be added for each bedroom over three bedrooms. 

Septic tanks usually have two lids for accessing the tank. If you’re wondering, “How big is a septic tank lid?” they usually measure 5 feet by 8 feet. Most lids will be buried anywhere from four inches to four feet underground. 

For a 1000-gallon tank, the lids will be either 6 or 6.5 feet apart. A 1250-gallon tank will have lids at a distance of 7-7.5 feet apart and a 1500-gallon tank will have an 8.5-9-foot distance between them. 

How Much Is a Septic Tank Installation?

Installing a new septic tank can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,500. The national average is almost $6,000. The cost will be affected by the location of the septic tank, the size of the home, and the type of septic system that will work best for the property.

Most homeowners spend around $3,000 to $5,000 for a 1250-gallon tank to suit a three to four-bedroom home. 

Removing or decommissioning an existing septic tank will cost between $5,000 and $6,000. This price includes the disposal of the tank. It will cost you more if your tank is larger or if it is below ground. 

How Much Is a Septic Tank for a Mobile Home? 

Standard mobile homes are much smaller than single-family homes, which is why it is a bit cheaper to install a septic tank for such properties. The average cost is $2,250. 

What are Septic Tank made out of

The three main materials used for septic tanks are plastic, concrete, and fiberglass. 

Plastic septic tanks are the cheapest, with the average cost for a new system running between $665 and $1,900, depending on the size. Plastic is the cheapest option because it is lighter and easier to install. It also doesn’t crack as often as concrete and it doesn’t rust. While it’s durable, it can break under pressure.  

Concrete is the most popular septic tank material, as it can last decades and does require regular inspections. How much is a concrete septic tank? Usually, this type of tank runs from $740 to $1,800.

Fiberglass tanks start at $1,400 and can cost up to $2,000. This is the most expensive material because it’s light and easy to install. It also doesn’t expand and contract like concrete, so it has no cracking issues. Plus, fiberglass won’t deteriorate underground. 

How Often Is a Septic Tank Emptied?

It is recommended to pump and empty a septic tank once every three to five years; however, that number can be higher with more frequent usage or if many people live in the home. 

For example, if a family of four has a 1000-gallon tank, they should empty it every 2.6 years. If that same family had a 1500-gallon septic tank instead, they could empty it every 4.2 years. This would extend to every 5 years if the tank was 2,000 gallons.

Septic Tank Inspections

Septic tanks should be inspected every one to three years. Most times the inspection will include emptying the tank.

A septic tank inspector will first locate and access the septic tank, absorption area, and distribution box, looking for leakage, drainage field, and sludge level. They will check all the mechanical and electrical components such as the alarms, floats, pumps, filters, baffles, and septic lines.

They will then dig up the septic tank lids to take a look at the interior. After this, the septic tank will be pumped out until emptied and thoroughly cleaned.

The inspector will determine the size of the septic tank and look for any holes, cracks, or other structural issues using a mirror and spotlight. If necessary, the inspector can also perform a hydraulic load test.

So, how much is a septic tank inspection? A two-hour inspection can range from $100 to $900. A very brief and basic exam will be around $100-$200. A full check-up will cost between $300 and $600. 

You will only see an inspection cost up to $900 if there is a noticeable problem and if the inspector has to snake a camera into the tank to analyze the situation. Sometimes a pump-out is included in an inspection’s initial cost and sometimes it isn’t, so be sure to double-check beforehand. 

In Summary

While the exact cost of your septic tank will depend on the cost of labor and the size, type, and material of the tank, you can expect to pay roughly $6,000 for a new system. You’ll also need to budget for septic tank inspections and to empty your septic tank regularly, as this will ensure that your system stays in optimal condition over the years. 

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