Septic tank cleaning is a job for the professionals, but there’s plenty you can do yourself to save time and money. If you can locate your septic tank for your cleaning contractor, he may reduce his fee. You can also ask him to measure the depth of the tank contents, so you can calculate the best time for the next cleaning session.
How Often Do You Have to Empty a Septic Tank?
Most septic tanks should be cleaned once every three to five years, but some require cleaning more often. Beneficial microorganisms process the waste from your home, and the water is absorbed into a drain field, but eventually the tank fills up and stops working.
A regular septic tank serving an average household is full within three to five years, but alternative septic tanks contain electrical float switches, mechanical components and pumps that require more frequent inspection. If your tank has an alternative system, you should book an inspection once per year.
How to Find Your Septic Tank
Septic tanks are buried underground and can be difficult to locate. Your septic tank cleaning contractor can find your tank’s lid, but most charge for this service. With a little detective work, you can find the lid yourself.
- Septic tanks are located outside the house foundation where the plumbing leaves the house. If you have a crawl space, you can see where your plumbing emerges underneath your house, or you check on your roof for a plumbing vent. The plumbing leaves the house directly below the vent.
- Providing your tank isn’t fiberglass or polyethylene and isn’t deeper than two feet, you can use a probe bar to locate the tank.
- Your local government office might have records of on-site sewage plans for your home.
- When you find your tank, take a photograph or make a sketch that shows its location, which you can use next time you have it cleaned.
Most modern houses have a two-compartment septic tank. To empty a two-compartment tank, the contractor needs access to both lids.
How to Save Money on Septic Tank Cleaning
Paying a contractor to pump a tank that’s only half full is a waste of money. If you can figure out how often your septic tank fills up, you can schedule your next appointment at the right time. A tank is full when the top of the sludge layer is 12 inches below the exit pipe, or when the bottom of the scum layer is six inches below the bottom of the exit pipe.
- Before the contractor starts pumping the tank, ask him to measure the depth of sludge and scum.
- Write down the depths of each layer and when the tank was last cleaned.
- When you know how long your tank took to reach its current depth, you can calculate roughly when it will be full again.
With some planning, you can help your septic tank cleaning go smoothly.
For answers to your plumbing questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.