Let's say you live in a rural area, or a neighborhood where public sewer access is not available. If this is you, chances are that you're on a septic system. New and seasoned home owners alike may worry about the cost of such a system and need to know upfront what expenses they can expect. Well, we’re here to break down the cost of the various components, the installation, and the maintenance of a septic system!
Let’s jump in!
To begin, we'll quickly look at the overall cost of installing a complete septic system, then we'll go on to break down each component of the system by its cost. For most homes, the cost of a conventional septic system will typically vary between $1500 on the low end and $5000 on the high end. That's a lot of variance, which is why the specific cost of your septic system will heavily depend on your particular situation. For example, a four-bedroom home will need a larger and more expensive system than a two-bedroom home. In the same vein, soil conditions can also play into the cost of installation. In general, though, most people spend on average about $3200 to $5000 for a conventional septic system.
Still, on the other hand, if you are looking to install an engineered system (a system with additional components like alternating pumps), your cost can quickly jump up! These systems can cost between $9000 and $15,0000!
But for the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that you're looking to install a conventional septic system. A conventional system consists of a septic tank that naturally breaks down waste using bacteria and allows gravity to feed waste water into a lateral line system (a leach field or drain field) where it's purified of contaminants and safely discharged back into the ground water. In other words, a conventional system is the simplest system out there, and as a result, it's also the cheapest!
In a conventional septic system, the septic tank itself is one of the biggest expenses you'll need to factor in. Depending on the size of your home, you'll need a larger or smaller septic tank. For example, a 750 gallon septic tank will service about a 1 to 2 bedroom home, and a 1500 gallon tank will service a 5 to 6 bedroom home.
Cost breakdown of different sized septic tanks:
The numbers above account for both soil excavation and inlet and outlet fittings. Of course, these are just estimates and will vary a lot depending on your specific situation. All the same, these figures can give you a good picture of the possible range of costs.
The next big expense of installing a septic system is the drain field or leach field. The leach field consists of a lateral line system of perforated PVC pipes that are buried in a layer of gravel that lies under the native soil. This gravel filters the waste water, purifying it of contaminants before dispersing it back into the groundwater. The average cost of installing a drain field is between $2000 and $10,000.
In general, it'll cost between $9 to $12 per linear foot to install lateral line pipes. Beyond this, you'll also need to factor in the cost of gravel, which should cost between $12 to $30 per ton.
In addition to the two biggest costs of a septic system—the septic tank and the drain field—there are some other costs you'll need to consider.
Properly maintaining a septic tank entails regular pumping, proper habits, and assisting the bacteria in your tank by using the best septic tank bacterial products.
Depending upon usage, a septic tank should be pumped every 3-5 years. Failing to pump a septic tank can lead to gross and expensive complications, so it's important not to skip this crucial maintenance step! The cost of pumping a septic tank is between $300 and $600 with an average cost of about $400.
Beyond the cost of pumping your septic tank, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of damage (and costly repairs!) to your septic system by only allowing human waste and toilet paper into your system! All other items (grease, food, bathroom articles like floss, feminine hygiene products, hand wipes, and even so-called "flushable wipes”) can lead to nasty clogs and backups in your system. These are no fun to deal with and are expensive to repair!
Finally, we recommend that you supplement your system with a high-quality, bacteria-based product that will add beneficial bacteria to your septic tank and help to facilitate the breakdown of waste. By using this kind of product, you'll increase the life of your system and keep any repairs to a minimum. Some may argue that a properly working septic system should not require the use of treatment additives, but this is a common fallacy that we discuss here.
While all the information and costs listed above can seem overwhelming at first, in the end it's worth it to install a personalized septic system! Regardless, we hope that this article has been helpful if you are trying to determine the cost of a new septic system for your home! As always, we're more than happy to answer any of your questions or concerns. Please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!