How To Install A Septic System

How To Install A Septic System

1. Septic Tank Installation Should Be Left to the Professionals

Designing a septic tank system prior to a septic tank installation is not as simple as it seems. It’s a lot more complicated than simply envisioning where the septic system is going to be located.

Prior to the septic system installation, a trusted septic tank company needs to come out to your home to analyze the topography and soils in which you plan to place your tank and septic field. This is done to make sure the ground is suitable for the type of septic tank that is going to be used and the kind of media that will be implemented in the field.

First, the soil type in the ground needs to be identified. A septic tank company will excavate some of your land with test pits and check out the soil types, look at the different horizons and look for restrictive layers to see how the water will pass through the depths of soil as well as how quickly water will be able to flow through it, this is called hydraulic loading and it allows us to calculate the rates associated with each soil type.  Percolation testing helps us determine how quickly the water is absorbed into the soil.

Next, a septic tank company will see if there are going to be any other limitations in the septic installation process. This includes seeing if any bedrock or layers of soil will prove to be impermeable, looking for waterways, high water table, culverts, riparian areas, easements and more.

Finally, a septic tank company will make sure you have enough space in your yard to do septic tank installation in the first place. There are many different aspects of a septic tank system and they will need to be able to fit in your yard in order for a successful installation to take place.

10. Septic Tanks Will Not Last Forever

No matter how diligent you are about maintaining your septic system, it’s not going to last you forever. Your septic tank, in particular, will need to be replaced at some point.

Generally speaking, a metal septic tank will last somewhere between 15 and 20 years, depending upon how well a homeowner has taken care of it and although metal septic tanks are not a common application anymore, your home may still have one.  A concrete septic tank, on the other hand, can often last for up to 40 years when it’s maintained properly over time.  Poly and Fiberglass septic tanks are also widely used, with many recent advancements in the engineering of these particular septic tanks we don’t have a firm statistic on their lifespan just yet.

There are some steps you can take to increase the lifespan of your septic system. For instance, you can:

  • Follow the industry guidelines pertaining to septic system maintenance
  • Avoid placing items into your septic tank that shouldn’t be there
  • Keep accurate records with regards to when you had pumping and other maintenance done and who completed the job

There is simply no getting around doing new septic tank installation at some point down the line. But you can push it off for as long as possible by making sure you take care of your septic system. It will benefit you both now and well into the future.



  • When installing the leech field perforated pipe, make sure that you do not turn the holes in the pipe downward. The perforated drain field pipe ASTM 2729 has perforations on both sides of the pipe and must be laid dead level with the printed line on the pipe facing up. All sections of the perforated pipe are glued together and the end of each leach line is capped. This way when waste water enters the pipe, it will fill the pipe to the height of the holes and overflow from ALL of the holes using the entire leach field. Placing the perforated pipe at any slope will direct all of the water to the lowest hole in the pipe creating a concentration of sewage at only a small part of the drain field.

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  • You can in some health jurisdictions use waste water for watering grass or ornamental plants, trees, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. However, the water must be treated first by the system (tertiary treatment including disinfection) to ensure that pathogens (germs) from the septic system are not released to the environment. Check with your local health department to see if this practice known as “reuse” is allowed in your area.

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How Much Does It Cost to Install a Septic Tank?

On average, the cost of installing a new septic tank system is $3,900. The price ranges from $1,500 to $5,000 for a typical 1,250-gallon tank, which is an ideal size for a three- or four-bedroom home.

This cost is inclusive of the tank itself, which costs $600 to $2,100 or more, depending on the type. Labor costs are also included in the installation price, and usually range from $1,500 to $4,000.

How Much Does A Septic Tank Installation Cost?

When I started looking into septic system installa

When I started looking into septic system installations, cost was my number one question, but answers were not easy to find. There is a lot of variability in the cost of a septic install, so I’ll share the price and details of my system. I also wanted to outline some of the factors that impact the price and then share examples from others I surveyed to get a complete picture.

Factors That Impact Cost Of A Septic System

There are several things that impact how much your

There are several things that impact how much your system is going to cost. It’s important to remember that while a portion of the price will be impacted by materials (largely commoditized and pretty similar costs across all your quotes), labor will be the biggest swing here. Labor costs are variable and can change based on how busy the installers are, how much of a pain they expect you or the job to be, etc. Permit costs in your area are what they are, so that will be the same across the board.

Municipality / Location – Like all things in real estate: location, location, location. The best way to understand this is to think about how your property prices compare to other areas. If you live in a high cost of living area or a town where home prices are expensive, your septic will cost more. When comparing your location to others, look at the average cost of homes, figure out the percent difference and apply that to septic costs for a rough idea.

Soil Types and Perking Tests – Soil is another major factor of cost because if you have well-draining soils, your system will have an easier time filtering the waste water. If your soil is poor, you’ll have to extend your drain lines more and more to make up the reduced capacity for the soil to filter. Basically, you make up for poor soil filtering by extending the area you filter into until it handles it properly. In some cases, soil isn’t viable or you don’t have enough room. A larger drain field equals more materials and more labor.

State Of The Economy – Simply put, when housing is booming, you’re going to pay more. If you’re in a recession, you’ll find prices to be more competitive.

How Busy They Are – The truth is installers charge more when they are busy. Much like the state of the economy, this is a supply and demand scenario. If there are enough jobs to fill their time for the next 30-90 days, they’re going to start asking for more. The trick is the good installers are often never short of work and the bad installers will pretend like they’re busy. Try to ask around and see if there is a slow season or ask the installer if there is a time that you could wait on for a reduced price. Sometimes just being flexible and willing to wait will provide an opportunity to save some money. The installer may finish another job early, the inspector may be slow on another job or there could be a cancellation.

How Much Of A Pain You’ll Be – If you seem like you’re going to be a pain to work with, the price just went up. Be friendly and punctual, but also don’t be a push over. Sketchy contractors will try to take advantage of someone’s good nature. Realize and plan for the process taking longer than you expected it to take.

Access To Site And Terrain – It’s easiest to install a system in a flat, cleared space with a wide driveway that leads right to the land. My installer wanted to visit my site to evaluate the difficulty of the terrain and ensure it was accessible. If your lot needs cleared, is difficult to access or steep, expect prices to rise pretty quickly. That said, take the time to install a good driveway and clear the spot well. It will need accomplished anyway and it can save you money in the long run.

Permit Fees And Engineering – Permit fees are what they are. In my county they charged $350 for a septic permit and there is no way around it. Some places have much higher fees. Also, you’ll pay more if your lot requires some sort of special engineering.

Pumps And Cesspools – You ideally want your septic tank to be down hill of your house and the drain lines to be down hill of your tank. In some cases, your house might not be up hill of them. If this occurs, you’ll need to install a cesspool to collect the waste that will be pumped up to the field. These two things (cesspool and pump) are additional units to your septic tank and add extra expenses. I’d suggest avoiding lots that require this because it adds cost and complexity. It’s just one more thing to break and it has moving parts which are prone to failure.

Aerobic Vs. Anaerobic Septic Systems – In some cases, a municipality will require you to have an aerobic system. The basic difference between aerobic and anaerobic septic systems is the presence of oxygen. Traditional anaerobic septic systems operated in the relative absence of oxygen; the broken-down sewage must be able to live without oxygen. Aerobic septic tanks are also located underground, they use an aerator to add oxygen into the tank. Because of the added complexity and equipment, Aerobic systems are more expensive.

Conventional Vs. Mound Septic Systems – I don’t know too much about these other than what my realtor explained to me. Basically, in certain circumstances where the soil isn’t ideal, the water table is too high or there is a lot of rock involved, a mound system is required. This system is a pile of gravel, sand and other fillers to make an elevated septic system. They typically cost more and require extra engineering costs.

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The Cost To Install My Septic

My septic was a 1000-gallon cement tank with 300 f

My septic was a 1000-gallon cement tank with 300 feet of drain line in a well-draining soil. My permit was $350 and I spent $300 for a guy to come out with a backhoe and dig pits for my perk test. I made sure to have this done before the purchase of the land, my offer was contingent upon successfully getting a well and septic permit.

I chose this place because it had minimal buildingI had the system designed for 4 bedrooms because I don’t know exactly what I want to do. Most likely I’m going to have a Master bedroom and a guest bedroom, then space to put two more bedrooms in the future (I’d finish them if I sell to increase resale value). My land is located in the mountains of NC which is pretty rural and low cost of living.

I chose this place because it had minimal building codes, no HOA or restrictions, and the county was pretty inexpensive tax wise. I say this for you to know that my scenario was the cheaper end of the spectrum. The one thing working against me was I had no contacts in the area at all, so I did my best to get multiple quotes. In the end I think I ended up spending more than I had to, but I got very close to what others were paying at the time. I was on a time crunch as my permit expired at the end of the year, so I couldn’t delay things. After three quotes I settled on a contractor that I liked for $7,500 all in.

Cost To Install Other Systems

I took some time to get a better picture of costs

I took some time to get a better picture of costs by talking with several other people. Here is a breakdown of what their systems cost when they installed their septic system.

Louisiana $7,000 1,000 Gallon Tank 5 Bedrooms 400 Feet Installed in 2015 California $30,000 1,800-Gallon Tank 4 Bedrooms 350 Feet Installed in 2020 Tennessee $3,500 1,000-Gallon Tank 3 Bedrooms 230 Feet Installed in 2012 Ohio $7,000 2,000 Gallon Tank 4 Bedrooms 500 Feet Installed in 2004 Texas $5,000 1,000-Gallon Tank 4 Bedrooms 300 Feet Installed in 2013 Oklahoma $3,600 1,000-Gallon Tank 3 Bedrooms 400 Feet Installed in 2007 Nevada $7,500 1,250 Gallon Tank 3 Bedrooms 500 Feet Installed in 2005 California $8,500 1,500-Gallon Tank 3 Bedrooms 275 Feet Installed in 2019 Washington $5,000 1,000-Gallon Tank 2 Bedrooms 300 Feet Installed in 2018 Michigan $8,000 1,500 Gallon Tank 4 Bedrooms 3 900-Gallon Dry Wells Installed in 2019 Your State Your Cost How Many Gallons? How Many Bedrooms? How Many Feet of Drain Line? When Was It Installed?

Let us know in the comments if you’ve had a septic installed and the details.

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How Long Does a Septic Tank Last?

A septic tank’s lifespan varies depending on the material and type of system installed. Clogging caused by roots or flooding from groundwater can decrease the septic tank’s lifespan. On average, septic systems last 15 to 20 years.

Regularly servicing your septic tank is the best way to increase its longevity. It’s important to note that servicing is more than just pumping out the tank; it’s also necessary to have a professional inspect your tank regularly and perform routine maintenance.

A home plan from HomeServe can help you be prepared for any unexpected maintenance and repair costs. When you have a plan in place, you can call our 24/7 repair hotline whenever a covered issue arises. We’ll send over one of our local, licensed and highly skilled contractors to get the job done.


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