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How Often Should a Typical Septic Tank Be Pumped?

The septic tank on your property is an underground, watertight container usually made of fiberglass, polyethylene, or concrete. Its job is to treat wastewater through the process of biological decomposition. Have your contractor pump your septic tank periodically to keep it functioning at its peak efficiency. How regularly, you ask? As a general rule, septic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years.

Exactly how often your septic tank needs to be pumped depends on the following factors.

The Size of Your Septic Tank

Most septic tanks have a capacity of 1,000-2,000 gallons. If you need to know how big your septic tank is, have your contractor inspect it to determine its size. When determining septic tank pumping frequency, consider the size of your septic tank.

Generally, a 1,000-gallon tank should be pumped every 2½ years. For a 1,500-gallon tank, the pumping interval can be increased to 4.2 years. A 2,000-gallon tank needs to be pumped every five years.

The Total Wastewater Generated

The average domestic household produces 200-300 liters of wastewater per person per day. If your household produces more than 300 liters of wastewater per person daily, consider having it pumped more frequently – every 1.5-2 years. Efficient water use can help prevent clogs, backups, and leaks that can lead to septic tank problems. If ignored, septic tank problems can affect the performance of your septic tank and shorten its useful life.

Here are some tips for using water efficiently:

  • Replace traditional plumbing fixtures with water-efficient fixtures such as sinks with auto-shutoff mechanisms and low-flow showerheads.
  • Select the correct load on your washing machine and do laundry only when you have a full load.

Tip: Instead of doing multiple loads in a single day, try spreading out washing machine use throughout the week.

  • Try reducing shower time.
  • Turn off faucets while shaving and brushing teeth.
  • The sooner you repair water leaks around your home, the better.

House Size and Number of Household Members

Usually, if more people live in a home, the amount of waste produced is also more, and the sooner the septic tank needs to be cleaned. The types of cleaners, chemicals, and soaps you use in your home and how often they go down the drain can also affect pumping frequency.

Follow These Tips to Reduce Septic Pumping Frequency

If more solids end up in the wastewater, you must have your septic tank pumped more frequently. By reducing the number of solids that make their way into the wastewater, you can successfully reduce pumping frequency.

Here are some ways to prevent excess solids from entering wastewater:

  • Do not use garbage disposal. If you already have one, use it sparingly.
  • Have your contractor install an effluent filter on your septic tank.
  • Do not put solid waste down your drain.
  • Avoid using household cleaners offered in powder form as they may contain fillers.
  • Install a lint filter on your washing machine.

At L.J. Construction, we are committed to helping homeowners keep their septic systems healthy and happy. Our technicians have hands-on experience installing, repairing, and maintaining different septic systems. To schedule septic tank pumping in Napa County, call (707) 823-0247.