Septic Tank Pumping Schedule – A Guide to Septic Cleaning

How Often Should You Pump Your Tank?

When it comes to septic tank care, one of the most common mistakes we see people make is not pumping the tank enough. The removal of septic waste from the tank is a critical step in septic system care because it extends the life of the septic field. Even if you don’t care how septic systems work you need to know when to clean the septic tank by pumping out septic waste. Using the septic tank cleaning frequency table below, look up your tank size and number of building occupants to see how often the septic tank should be cleaned.

Septic Tank Pumping Chart

Tank Size (Gallons) Household Size – Number of Occupants
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Septic Tank Pumping Frequency in Years
500* 5.8 2.6 1.5 1.0 0.7 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1
750* 9.1 4.2 2.6 1.8 1.3 1.0 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.3
900 11.0 5.2 3.3 2.3 1.7 1.3 1.0 0.8 0.7 0.5
1000 12.4 5.9 3.7 2.6 2.0 1.5 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.7
1250 15.6 7.5 4.8 3.4 2.6 2.0 1.7 1.4 1.2 1.0
1500 18.9 9.1 5.9 4.2 3.3 2.6 2.1 1.8 1.5 1.3
1750 22.1 10.7 6.9 5.0 3.9 3.1 2.6 2.2 1.9 1.6
2000 25.4 12.4 8.0 5.9 4.5 3.7 3.1 2.6 2.2 2.0
2250 28.6 14.0 9.1 6.7 5.2 4.2 3.5 3.0 2.6 2.3
2500 30.9 15.6 10.2 7.5 5.9 4.8 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.6
NOTES to the Septic Tank Pumping Schedule Table:
  • Numbers in the septic pumping table indicate septic treatment tank pump out in frequency of every number years for conventional septic tanks, and assuming for year-round occupancy of the residence.
  • Garbage disposers will increase the frequency of pumping.
  • Typical Septic Tank Pumping Costs: A typical fee to pump a septic tank will vary based off size of the tank, last recorded maintenance pump, if the tank pumping access port has been uncovered and is readily accessible or equipment has to be used to uncover the tank for accessibility. *expect to pay somewhere between 250 – 400 for an accessible tank.*

Factors That Can Increase Septic Tank Pumping Frequency

There are some conditions that my require you to pump more often than noted in the chart above. These include:
  • Buildings that see occasional surges of heavy septic tank use. Simply pumping the tank based on average occupancy over the year can get you into trouble. The big surge of sewage and wastewater can overwhelm the septic system’s ability to cope, particularly you may flood the drainfield or push solids into the drainfield
  • Use of a garbage disposer or food waste grinder increases septic tank pumpout frequency.
  • Use of a sewage ejector pump connected to the septic system may increase septic tank pumpout frequency by adding macerated sewage that increases the risk of pushing floating solids into the drainfield.
  • Use of a water softener or water conditioner such as an iron filter whose regeneration cycle water empties into the septic tank may increase the tank pumping frequency, though this is arguable in our opinion. Issues are excessive salt dosage that is going to reduce septic tank bacterial action but worse may seriously damage a drainfield; also the water volume itself can flood a marginal drainfield.
  • High frqeuency of laundry use.
  • In home business that increases water usage (daycare, taxidermy, hair salon) increases septic tank damage risk – same arguments as we suggested above should lead one to be concerned about the drainfield when added waste water volume rather than added solids are present; some home businesses (photography or taxidermy) include use of chemicals that should not be flushed into a septic system.
  • Having 3 or more overnight guests at a time or large groups visiting the home add septic tank risk; the table and approach does a poor job of distinguishing between 3 overnight guests once a year and regular extra sleepover guests; similarly, occupancies that place more than the usually-assumed 2 occupants per bedroom should cause a septic tank pumpout frequency increase.
  • Septic tank size vs number of bedrooms: More bedrooms with a smaller tank will add to pumpout frequency.

If it’s time for you to have your tank pumped, call Mr. Dan’s today!