How Much Does a Septic Tank Inspection Cost?

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By Clever Real Estate Updated March 16, 2023


How much does a routine septic tank inspection cost? | How much does septic tank maintenance cost? | How much does it cost to replace a septic tank? | Septic tank maintenance tips

septic tank problems

When a home is changing hands, a septic inspection costs an average of $250-500.[1]

If you're buying a home with a septic system, it's important to check that it's been maintained and is operating properly. A neglected septic tank can cause plumbing issues in the home and turn your yard into a sewage swamp.

Replacing a septic tank is a big, expensive job, and repairs are also costly and consuming. It's more cost-effective to proactively maintain your septic system with regular inspections and cleaning to keep it working smoothly.

How much does a routine septic tank inspection cost?

Service Average cost[1]
Septic tank inspection for home transaction $250-500
Septic tank inspection for regular maintenance $100-150
Septic tank camera inspection $250-900
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The average cost of a septic tank inspection for regular maintenance (outside of a home transaction) is $100-150.

Sometimes, septic tank inspectors may snake a camera into the septic system if they can't identify the source of a problem by other means. The average cost of a camera septic inspection is $250-900.

Be sure to confirm whether your inspector includes digging up the septic system cover as part of their service. Some inspectors may change extra for this, or they may ask that the homeowner do this prior to their arrival.

>>MORE: Septic Inspections: 6 Questions You Need to Ask

If you've never lived in a home with a septic tank before, it can be very informative to attend the inspection and learn about the system and how best to care for it.

When do I need a septic tank inspection?

There are some common situations that warrant a septic system inspection.

In the context of a home transaction: In some areas, an inspection is mandatory when a property with a septic system changes hands. In certain locations, a new inspection is not necessary if the homeowner has conducted one within a specified timeframe (usually within the last two years).

Requirements surrounding septic tank inspections can vary at the state, county, and city levels. A knowledgeable local realtor can help you navigate the home-buying process and provide expert advice on inspections when purchasing a home with a septic tank.

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Additionally, your mortgage lender may require a septic tank inspection when purchasing a home with a septic system. Lenders each have their own unique criteria to determine if and when this is necessary.

As part of general home maintenance: Experts recommend that you have your septic tank inspected every 1-3 years, depending on the size of the system, its age, and the number of people living in your home.

When you are experiencing septic-tank-related issues: It's smart to call an expert if:

  • You notice a strange smell coming from your plumbing system
  • Your toilets, sinks, or showers are backing up
  • There's water pooling in your yard
  • You see bright green spongy grass growing around your tank cover and leach field

If you're planning new construction on your property: You'll need to confirm where it's safe to build to avoid encroaching on your septic system and leach field. You may also need to expand the capacity of your tank if you plan to accommodate more people on your property.

If your local board of health asks you to: A local health agency may request an inspection of your septic system if it suspects something is off or if it has received complaints about your property that may flag a potential issue.

How much does septic tank maintenance cost?

In addition to the regular cost of septic tank inspections, homeowners with septic systems may need to spend money on maintenance. Your inspector can let you know if and when you may need these supplemental services.

Service Average cost[1]
Septic tank pumping $286-530
Septic tank jetting $150-400
Septic tank cleaning $100-800
Septic tank filter cleaning/replacement $100-150
Septic tank field aeration $1,000-2,000
Bacteria introduction for aerobic septic systems $50-500
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The average cost for septic system pumping is $400, although it can range $286-530. Pumping extremely large tanks may cost in excess of $1,000.

Septic tank pumping removes all the liquid waste from the system. It is a service that must be done every 3-5 years, depending on the amount of use your tank supports.

What's the difference between a septic tank inspection and septic tank pumping?🤷‍♀️

Both septic tank inspection and pumping are services that should be conducted regularly.
A septic tank inspection evaluates your system to make sure all elements are functioning properly. An inspector checks for leaks, overfill, and backups.

Pumping your septic tank, on the other hand, involves removing all liquid waste from the system.

A septic tank inspection and pumping can be done during the same service visit. However, an inspection should be done prior to pumping, so the inspector can see the system in its natural state.

The cost of septic tank jetting runs $150-400. Jetting removes buildup from the pipes that may cause backups.

Changing your septic tank filter costs $100-150.

Cleaning a septic system costs $100-800. This involves removing solid debris from the pump, pipes, and filters. This service should be performed every 2-12 years depending on the number of people in the home.

The cost of leach field aeration, also known as fracking, is $1,000-2,000. This service improves the field's access to oxygen to speed the breakdown of waste.

Introducing bacteria in aerobic septic systems can range $50-500. This costs less if combined with another service.

How much does it cost to replace a septic tank?

Replacing a septic tank costs $3,000-9,000.[1] This service is so expensive because it involves emptying the existing system, digging it up, and disposing of it before installing a new one.

Septic tank maintenance tips

To avoid costly repair and replacement expenses, it pays to stay on top of regular septic tank maintenance. Keeping your septic tank in good condition will help protect the value of your home investment.

Some tips to keep your septic system running smoothly include:

  • Schedule inspections as warranted to preemptively identify any issues
  • Have your septic tank pumped regularly
  • Use your garbage disposal sparingly to avoid clogging the filter with solid waste
  • Be mindful of what you put down your drains; septic systems cannot handle common household items such as:
    • Coffee grounds
    • Eggshells
    • Cooking grease
    • Baby wipes
    • Feminine products
    • Medications
  • Don't use chemical products to unclog drains as their solutions may kill necessary bacteria in the system
  • Choose septic-safe laundry products
    • Using too much bleach can ruin the system's chemical balance
    • Powdered laundry soap can harm septic systems
  • Don't park vehicles or place other heavy items (like a shed or sand box) on the leach field
  • Use septic treatment products regularly to promote helpful bacteria and enzymes within the system
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Article Sources

[1] HomeAdvisor – "Septic Tank Pumping Cost". Accessed February 09, 2021.

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