How Often Should You Schedule Septic Pumping Services?

Millions of homeowners across the United States have installed septic tanks for their basic sewage treatment. These consist of underground chambers constructed from fiberglass, concrete, or plastic. Unsurprisingly, many homeowners want to know how often they should pump their tanks. Although the accepted wisdom is three to five years, according to James Butler — in the accompanying video — this is not always true. North Carolina State guidelines, for example, recommend pumping whenever the proportion of solids in any compartment reaches 33% or more; the point at which solids start blocking the drain field.

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So, the real question is: “How can homeowners tell they've reached that threshold?” In reality, they can't. However, modern septic tanks are fitted with effluent filters which prevent solids from getting into the drain field. Because a septic pumping service contractor needs to clean these filters once a year, this is also a great opportunity for homeowners to take a look inside their tank. They can check that the water level is correct. They can also inspect the inside of the tank to make sure there are no cracks, leaks, grease buildup, root intrusions, or anything else. Three to five years may work well for normal usage (assuming there are no complications) but pumping their tank every year will help homeowners prevent expensive problems from building up over time.