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How Often Should I Pump My Septic Tank?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Dennis in Michigan is on the line with a septic-tank question. Dennis, tell us what’s going on. Because the whole idea of septic tanks, I know about them; it still grosses me out. What’s going on?

    DENNIS: Yeah, I have a 1,500-gallon septic tank and I moved into my house in 2007. And the neighbors say they pump theirs every four years but I’ve called numerous septic-tank guys and they say two years, four years maximum. And I was just curious, what do you recommend?

    LESLIE: Well, how many people are in the house and how many bathrooms?

    DENNIS: Actually, there’s two people: me and my wife.

    TOM: Well, it’s interesting that the neighbors do it every four years but you call the guys that get paid for pumping and they go, “Oh, no. Do it every two years.”

    LESLIE: That’s true.

    DENNIS: Yeah.

    TOM: “That’s why we get to charge you twice in four years.”

    DENNIS: Yeah, that’s why I was just curious: there’s so much discrepancy.

    TOM: Well and I think with just two people in the house like that, if you did it every four years, you’d be fine. Have you ever done it at all?

    DENNIS: No but I do open up the tank every year and I’ve got a cover on it. And I look inside and it’s not overflowing, you know?

    TOM: Right. Well, it’s to get some of the solids out of the bottom of it; it’s not because it’s going to fill up and overflow. But if you did it once every few years, I think you’d be fine.

    DENNIS: Oh, OK. I appreciate that.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, where we happily answer all of your poop questions.

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