How long does it take to pump a septic tank?

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Many homeowners have a septic system on their property that needs regular maintenance and pumping out. 

But many of them have full-time jobs and lack time to spend an entire day attending to their septic tank. If you are one of those people, you might wonder how long it takes to pump a septic tank.

Steps during a septic pump and how long do they take

Pumping out a septic tank is a complicated and dangerous process, so professionals always advise you not to do it alone. You need special safety equipment and gear to pump out the contents, and even then, you are endangered by harmful methane gases and serious injuries. 

Our team from FreshNCleanSeptic strongly advises you to use professional services for your septic tank pumping. If you call a septic service company, you need to know the process steps and how long each one takes to complete.

Find a reliable company and make an appointment

Even though it might seem obvious, this is the first step of the process. You can check the companies available in your area online or consult your local health department. If you live in Redmond, Woodinville, Sammamish, Issaquah, Bellevue, Snohomish or Monroe areas, you can contact FreshNCleanSeptic. 

If you don’t live in these areas and are just about to begin your search, it might take up to an hour to find the company you need. 

Call the company and set an appointment, but keep in mind that they might not be available right away and might need a few days to visit your property.

Find your property plans and septic system maintenance records

Finding and having your property plans and septic system maintenance records ready will facilitate the pump-out process and significantly reduce the time your septic service provider needs. Some additional steps will be necessary if you don’t have these documents ready.

Finding the location of the septic tank and the drain field

If you don’t find the necessary documents, the professionals visiting your property must locate the septic tank and drain field. They use a septic tank probe to find the septic lids. This step can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your property.

Additional thorough septic tank inspection

If you have absolutely no records of septic maintenance and report some issues you’ve been having, your septic provider needs to make a thorough inspection of your system. Such an inspection can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the findings and the system’s complexity.

Opening the septic lids

The septic system service provider must open the lids to access the tank’s contents. If they’re covered in grass, sand, soil or stones on top of them, he needs to remove them. This step usually takes up to 10 minutes per lid.

Pumping out the content

The sole operator will come with a special vacuum pumper truck and a high-power hose to extract the contents of your septic tank. The extraction typically takes 20 to 30 minutes for a regularly maintained septic tank with a 1,000-1,250 gallons capacity. That’s the average capacity for a typical house of 3 to 4 bedrooms.

If your septic tank hasn’t been pumped out for a long time, it has a bigger capacity, or the operator notices a problem during the pumping, this step might take longer than 20-30 minutes.

After-pump inspection and wash-out

The best way to inspect a septic system is after the tank’s content is gone. That’s why the pumper visually inspects the tank to detect any visible issues. Together with a thorough clean and wash-out of the tank, this step can take another 10 to 20 minutes.

Putting everything back together

The operator needs to remove the hose, close all the lids and rebury them back in, which can take 10 to 20 minutes. He will also fill in the maintenance record for a few more minutes.

When can a septic tank pumping take longer and why?

A few factors might influence the necessary time for proper septic tank pumping. For example, missing plans of the property and septic system maintenance records will increase the time the operator needs to spend on your property. 

The bigger your septic tank capacity is (the more bedrooms you have), the longer it will take to pump it out. 

Another factor you should not overlook is how often you clean the tank’s contents. If you don’t pump it out during the recommended period, it’s only logical that it has accumulated more content. 

Thus it will need longer to be pumped out. Remember that failing to regularly maintain your septic tank will most likely result in septic system failure.

How can I reduce the time of septic tank pumping?

You can do a few things to shorten the time your septic service provider will need to pump out its contents. 

Keep all your documents in place

Make sure you keep your property plans and septic maintenance documents in one place and know exactly where to find them. That way, you will facilitate the operator’s job when he arrives at your premises.

Leave the lids unobstructed or clean them in advance

The septic pumper needs to open the septic tank’s lids, but before that, clean everything obstructing the way of accessing them. This includes grass, gravel and soil. 

You can either make sure that the lids are unobstructed at all times or take the time and clean the ground above the covers before the operator arrives at your property.

Pump out your septic tank regularly

Another way to reduce the time for pumping out is to regularly schedule cleaning and maintenance of your septic tank. If you do so, you significantly reduce the risk of overflowing, clogging and septic system failure.