Average Septic Tank Cleaning Cost – Service Prices

For homeowners having septic systems installed, one of the key considerations to make during maintenance is septic tank cleaning.

Septic tank cleaning is performed by professionals whose job is to ensure your septic tank remains functional, thus avoiding damage extending its lifespan.

What Is included In Cleaning?

When cleaning a septic tank, a range of services are performed.

The most basic of these include inspections and pumping. Also, maintenance and repairs are carried out on faulty components such as filters among others. Ideally, septic tank inspection should be a yearly procedure.

It covers the entire septic system consisting of various components. So, not only is the septic system cleaned or pumped, but common issues are also fixed and faulty components replaced to ensure continued functioning.

Septic Tank Cleaning Charges

If you’re having difficulty understanding the concept of cleaning, we’ve got you covered.

Cleaning out a septic tank simply refers to having it pumped out or emptied of its contents. However, there’s a little different here.

Cleaning involves a much thorough process than pumping. During septic tank cleaning, both sludge and wastewater are pumped out. This may not apply to septic tank pumping. Luckily, septic tank cleaning isn’t a frequent practice and takes about 3 years for a tank to be cleaned up.

Having explained the concept of septic tank cleaning, we shift our focus to the cost involved in getting the job done. Cost is an important factor as most homeowners seek the best possible deal.

So, how much will it cost you to have your septic tank cleaned? The answers are as follows;

How Much Does Septic Tank Cleaning Cost?

The national average for septic tank cleaning starts at $700 with a low and high of $300 and $1,300 respectively.

Now, when cleaning your septic tank for the first time, you’ll need the help of a septic contractor to help assess and determine cleaning costs.

This involves an initial inspection cost that ranges from $300 to $500. Subsequently, pre-cleaning or regular inspections will cost less (about $100).

Factors Determining Cost Of Cleaning A Septic Tank

When it comes to septic tank cleaning, no uniform costs apply.

In other words, the cleaning costs incurred will depend on the specific services provided. These can be broken down into cleaning methods, labor as well as enhancement & improvement services.

These factors impact directly on cleaning costs.

  • Type of Septic Tank Will Determine Cleaning Costs

Apart from size, there’s also a septic tank type to consider.

Here, we’re talking about the traditional septic tanks, as well as those installed on recreational vehicles or RVs. The cleaning price for an RV septic tank is around $150 and $300.

  • Septic Tank Size Affects Cleaning Costs

Septic tanks vary in size. These range from small (around 750), medium (about 1,000 gallons), and large tanks (about 1,250 gallons in size). The cleaning costs for each of these vary. The average range is around $250 to $475.

Taking a look at the cost of individual tank sizes, you’re likely to incur a cost ranging from $250 for smaller tanks, $375 for medium tanks, and $475 for larger tanks. Inspection costs are excluded from these.

  • Inspection Rates

Septic tank cleaning is preceded by inspection. This action comes at varying prices depending on the degree of inspection. For annual inspections, the fee incurred is around $100 and $150.

Initial inspections are typically costlier than annual inspections and go for about $250 to $500.

More thorough inspections involve the use of a camera. This process attracts a fee of around $250 to $900 inclusive of material and labor. Sometimes, the costs incurred may not be as much.

  • Cleaning Methods

The cleaning methods used for septic tank cleaning determine service costs to a large extent. Now, there are multiple cleaning methods for septic tanks. These are deployed based on the condition of your tank and the recommendation of the septic service or technician handling the job.

They include pumping, jetting, chemical treatment, non-chemical bacterial additives as well as a filter cleaning.

  • Pumping

How large is your septic tank? This is important because its size will determine how much you pay for the pumping.

A typical range for pumping costs is around $250 to $600. To further clarify what pumping involves, it’s restricted to the removal of the liquid or effluent as well as floating solids.

Septic tank pumping is among the most common form of cleaning. This process seeks to remove all wastes from the tank consisting of effluent, sludge, and scum. This cleaning is quite thorough as it evacuates a septic tank’s entire contents.

So, why is pumping being mentioned in our discussion on septic tank cleaning? Because a septic service may decide if septic tank cleaning or pumping is necessary.

To clear out a septic tank using this cleaning method, will cost about $200 to $800 depending on the condition and tank size.

  • Jetting

Hydro jetting is another cleaning procedure that’s only applied when there are clogging issues in drain field pipes.

As always a reputable septic service will determine if hydro jetting is necessary for a septic tank cleaning process or not.  Jetting is a form of septic tank cleaning that involves water being pumped at high pressure.

This is used to clean tanks as well as drain fields. This cleaning method will cost you around $200.

  • Chemical Treatment

In the course of cleaning a septic tank, a technician might notice clogging issues with pipes or drain fields among others. To clear these pipes or clogs, it may be necessary to apply chemical treatments.

Chemicals mostly used include sodium peroxide, sulfuric acid, commercial cleaning products, or sodium hydroxide. In terms of costs, the price range for such chemicals may vary from $20 to $300. As always, only a professional should handle the use of these chemicals to ensure safety.

  • Non-Chemical Additives

Bacterial additives serve as effective septic tank cleaning options to have.

Over time, septic tanks have a buildup of organic solids that need to be broken up. These bacterial additives are non-chemical and serve to break up organic solids to help prevent the system from being clogged.

There are several chemical and non-chemical septic tank additives specially made for cleaning. These will cost $15 to $300. These can be found at your local departmental store or supermarkets.

However, this job must be handled by a professional. This is necessary because additives won’t always help with septic tank cleaning.

Additives only become necessary after a technician assesses the septic tank and recommends its use.

Septic tanks in need of bacterial additives are most likely affected by the presence of toxic substances. Such toxic substances mostly affect the natural action of bacteria on waste.

By adding enzymes, the decomposition process is boosted, thus promoting the tank condition

  • Filter Cleaning

Effluent filters are installed in septic tank outlets and serve to screen or reduce the number of solids going out of the septic tank to the drain field.

Septic tank cleaning prices are impacted by filter cleaning costs.

This action adds around $100 to $200 to the total cleaning costs of a septic tank. The filter plays a vital role in a septic system as it prevents solids from exiting the outlet pipe to the drain field.

Filter cleaning is necessary whenever the septic tank is cleaned or pumped. Doing this ensures that the system remains in good working condition until the next cleaning cycle arrives.

It’s very important to clarify from a septic tank technician if filter cleaning costs are included in the total.

  • Labor

Apart from the cleaning methods, another factor that determines septic tank cleaning costs is labor.

Now, the process of cleaning a tank is quite complex and requires the help of a professional. Not only will a professional properly clean out your septic tank, but they also detect possible issues at their early stage.

So, while having the tank cleaned, problems are fixed before they become more complex.

Sludge can get stuck at the bottom of your tank. This will prompt the use of a special rake to loosen or agitate it. The entire cleaning process may last from a couple of minutes to a few hours depending on your septic tank size and condition.

The more labor required to clean a septic tank, the greater your total cost of service. The focus shouldn’t be on how long it takes but on how well the job is done. Only professional septic technicians will give you a thorough and satisfactory job.

  • Enhancement Services

The process of septic tank cleaning may include making improvements to existing conditions.

One of the main reasons why inspections are necessary before cleaning a septic tank is to help determine the state of the tank. This process uncovers the need (if any) for repairs, replacement, filter replacement or drain field replacement, etc.

In other words, some parts of the septic tank may need to be replaced such as the filter. Faulty components of the system such as the drain field can affect the proper functioning of your tank.

Hence, fixing these may add up to your septic tank cleaning costs.

Septic Cleaning Cost Reduction Strategies

To reduce septic tank cleaning costs, it will be necessary to take a couple of actions.

First, more frequent inspections will be necessary.

Septic tank inspection seeks to ascertain the condition of your tank to ensure it’s properly working and determine when it’s due for evacuation. During an inspection, certain faults that need urgent fixing may be noticed. All these actions ensure you won’t spend more than necessary during tank cleaning.

Septic tank inspection should be scheduled yearly.

  • Using Less Water

For septic tanks to function effectively, try using less water. Too much of it slows down the process of waste digestion by bacteria. Try incorporating water-efficient systems around your home to lessen this effect.

Such simple strategies have a multiplier effect in helping you spend less on septic tank cleaning.

  • Discussing with Your Technician

It’s important to understand the type and extent of cleaning to be carried out on your tank.

In some cases, septic filters aren’t included during cleaning and in other cases, they are. Find out what applies to your situation and make requests where necessary. This may drop your cleaning costs.

Septic tank cleaning costs are determined by technicians who inspect the condition of your tank before giving you a quote. This article has touched on these aspects and more.


If you operate a septic system, a large part of the maintenance responsibilities will be borne by you. Septic tank cleaning is one of them and the cost of performing such basic maintenance tasks is crucial.

Septic tank cleaning prices are what we have discussed here.

Knowing what it takes in terms of costs to clean up a septic tank is very important to homeowners. With this information, you’re able to adequately budget for the procedure.

Plus, you get to better bargain with your service provider. Septic tank cleaning prices as seen so far aren’t static but include a lot of variables. Such variables impact overall costs.

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