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Septic tank financing

Government-funded loans and grants for septic system financing may offer the most affordable option for eligible applicants.

Septic tanks are a necessity if your home isn’t connected to the local sewer system. But the costs of buying, installing or repairing one can easily set you back thousands of dollars. Luckily, there are many financing options for keeping this essential piece of equipment in top shape.

How much is a new septic system installation?

The average cost to install a new septic system ranges between around $3,000 to $12,000, according to statistics compiled by Angi, a home improvement network. However, the actual cost depends on the size of the tank needed, materials used, labor costs, drain-field conditions and other factors.

Replacing an existing septic tank or repairing the tank or system should cost significantly less, but it also depends on the specific problem. For example, if you only need to replace certain parts of your septic tank, you might only pay a few hundred dollars. On the other hand, if you need a new septic tank installation or there’s a problem with your drain field, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs.

No matter the problem, get multiple quotes and ask for detailed estimates. That way, you can compare the costs of materials, labor and other expenses to find the best deal.

Aerobic vs. anaerobic septic system

Another septic tank cost consideration — if you’re replacing an old septic system or your home is a new build — is whether to install an aerobic versus anaerobic septic system.

Anaerobic systems are by far the most common and least expensive option, but they’re not always the most efficient. You may need to install an aerobic system depending on your land and soil conditions.

A licensed professional can assess your property and see what makes the most sense for your home.

How to pay for septic tank repair

There are multiple options to fund repairs, replacement or installation of septic tank systems. First, let’s look at federal and locally funded options to see if you’re eligible.

Federally funded septic tank financing

Several federal departments offer grants and loan-assistance programs to help fund your septic system needs.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)Provides grants to state governments to be used for low-interest loans to help install, upgrade or maintain septic systems.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)Rural Home Loans ProgramLow-income homeowners can get loan assistance for home repairs and renovations, including septic system needs.
Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants ProgramOffers general-use home repair loans to low-income homeowners and grants to those over age 62. Loans are capped at $40,000 with interest rates fixed at 1%. Grants can reach as high as $10,000, and loans and grants can be combined.
Rural Decentralized Water Systems Grant ProgramWorks with nonprofits that provide revolving 20-year loans with 1% interest rates designed to work on water and septic systems. Loans max out at $15,000 per household.
US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)Community development block grantsHomeowners can apply for a HUD block grant through their state to repair, install or improve their residential septic system.

State-funded septic tank financing

All 50 states and Puerto Rico have programs through state agencies that offer low-income residents affordable loans or grants to install, replace or repair a septic tank. Typically, these are funded by federal programs, but some local programs exist.

If you live in a rural area in particular, consider contacting your local government first to find out what options are available.
You can find a list of state-specific funding programs on the EPA website or contact your state’s community assistance or water resources offices.

Tax credits

Some states offer tax credits or deductions for repairing or replacing a septic system. For example, Massachusetts allows its residents to get a tax refund for up to 60% of the project’s cost. But you might want to consult a tax expert to make certain you are eligible for the credit. You also need to pay for it up front, which isn’t helpful if you don’t have that kind of cash on hand. Talk to a tax professional in your area to see if your state has any tax credits or deductions for septic systems.

Other septic tank financing options

If you’re not eligible for government-funded loans or grants, you still have plenty of other septic system financing options.

Nonprofit septic tank loans

Some nonprofit lenders offer low-interest loans for replacing or repairing a septic tank. For example, Craft3 in the Pacific Northwest offers APRs close to 2.5%, depending on how much you earn, how much you need to borrow and your location. Plus, its loans come with flexible repayment terms. Your home and septic tank might need to meet certain requirements to qualify.

To find a non-profit lender in your community, contact your local housing department, USDA office or Department of Environmental Conservation.


  • Better rates than most loan options
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • May accept lower credit scores


  • May not be available in your area
  • May have to meet specific property criteria
  • Funding could take awhile

Personal loans

A problem with a septic system could be construed as an emergency in some cases. So, if you need fast cash to fix the issue, a personal loan could be a good option. These days, lenders can usually fund personal loans quickly — sometimes as soon as the same day you apply.

Personal loans also offer payment terms of two to seven years, so you’ll have some flexibility to decide how long you’ll need to repay the loan. But interest rates usually range between 6% to 36%, and qualifying for the best rates typically requires a credit score of 720 or higher. If you have poor credit, qualifying for a personal loan at a decent rate can be difficult.


  • Fast funding
  • Easy online applications in most cases
  • Typically lower rates than credit cards


  • Higher rates for poor credit
  • May charge origination fees
  • Some lenders may ask for collateral
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8.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $50,000
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8.49% to 35.99%
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HELOC or home equity loan

Using your home’s equity is another way to finance your septic system project, although you may need at least 20% equity in your home to qualify. A home equity loan provides a lump sum at a fixed interest rate, which you pay off in equal monthly installments. This type of funding might be a good option if you know exactly how much you need and want a predictable monthly payment.

Or, you could get a HELOC instead, a revolving line of credit that typically comes with a variable rate. A line of credit might make more sense if you’re going for a DIY septic system or want to plan ahead but aren’t sure how much it’ll cost. Keep in mind that equity financing uses your house as collateral, so you’ll put your home at risk if you can’t repay the loan.


  • Lower rates than other loan sources
  • Possibly larger loan amounts
  • May qualify for a tax break


  • Longer funding time
  • Uses your home as collateral
  • May have to pay closing costs

Credit cards

Depending on your situation — and how fast you need to get your septic tank fixed — you could put it on a credit card. Despite high credit card rates, this might not be a bad idea if the repairs will only cost a few hundred dollars and you can pay it off quickly.

Or, you could apply for a credit card with a 0% introductory rate and land an interest-free loan for 12 months or more. This could be a good option if the cost of septic tank replacement or repairs are more expensive and you think you can pay it off before the regular rate kicks in.


  • Immediate funding if using existing card
  • Potential for zero-interest financing
  • Easier to qualify for


  • High rates after introductory period
  • Credit limit may not be high enough
  • Rates are higher than most loan options

Septic system contractor financing

Some septic companies offer financing plans for their services, so you don’t have to pay it off all at once — many through third-party lenders like GreenSky. Others offer a combination of loans and same-as-cash financing.

Same-as-cash financing often gives you three to six months to pay your bill without paying interest. If you can’t pay it off during that time, you might have to pay higher interest than the rates you’d get with a loan — possibly similar to a credit card rate.

In addition, some septic companies have coupons available that offer service discounts. You can typically use these in addition to financing to lower your cost even more.


  • Potential for interest-free financing
  • May be easier to qualify for
  • Don’t have to apply for outside funding sources


  • Potentially higher interest rates
  • Not all septic contractors offer financing
  • “Interest-free” financing is sometimes rolled into the quote

Tips when getting a septic tank loan

If you aren’t eligible for a government loan or grant, consider these steps when applying for other septic tank financing.

  • Get multiple estimates. To ensure you’re getting the best price — and the correct diagnosis — you’ll want to get detailed quotes from at least two or three contractors.
  • Consider your budget. Figure out how much you can afford on a monthly loan payment so you can calculate how long you’ll need to repay it.
  • Check your credit. Knowing your credit score can help you decide which type of septic tank financing makes the most sense for you.
  • Estimate your home’s equity. You’ll need to know how much equity you’ve built up to see if you can qualify for home equity financing.

  • Get prequalified. If possible, get prequalified from multiple lenders to find the best financing rates and terms.
  • Watch out for fees. Loans may charge origination, application, service or other fees. Be sure you know all the fees that may add to the loan’s total cost.
  • Read the contract. Before signing a loan contract, read the terms and conditions carefully to avoid surprises down the road.

How much does a septic tank loan cost?

How much you’ll pay for your loan depends on the lender, the type of loan, your interest rate and loan terms. This varies depending on your eligibility. You can play around with how much you may pay by using our septic tank financing calculator:

Septic tank loan repayment calculator

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7 tips for protecting your septic tank

The better you care for your septic tank, the less often you’ll need to repair or replace it. Here are seven ways to keep it in top shape:

  1. Use a high-efficiency showerhead. Your septic tank can only handle so much water at once before it starts to back up. A high-efficiency showerhead can help prevent that.
  2. Have multiple laundry days. Dividing your laundry into several smaller loads can also ensure you aren’t overloading your tank with water.
  3. Avoid your garbage disposal. Using a garbage disposal means you’ll have a lot more solid waste going into your tank, which leads to more frequent pumps.
  4. Watch what you flush. Anything that isn’t biodegradable can clog up your drain. This includes things you might not expect, like dental floss, coffee grounds and any kind of oil or grease.
  5. Don’t dump toxic chemicals. Your septic tank is full of organisms that help digest your waste. Keep them alive and well by avoiding chemical drain openers, grease and paints down any drains.
  6. Inspect often. The EPA recommends having your tank pumped and inspected by a professional at least once every three years to catch any potential problems.
  7. Maintain your drain field. This means don’t park your car, plant trees or have any other kinds of drains run off into the area around your septic tank.

Bottom line

Government-funded loans and grants are generally the least expensive way to pay for a septic tank, but they aren’t available to everyone and can take some time to process. If you’re in a pinch, a personal loan could be a fast solution, or you may want to leverage your home’s equity for septic financing.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a septic tank last?

A septic tank can last 20 to 40 years or even longer. The materials used, the ground it’s in and how well it’s maintained all impact its lifespan.

How can I tell if I need a new septic tank?

Unfortunately, it may be abundantly obvious when you need a new septic tank! Some common symptoms of a bad tank or system include bad smells, persistent clogs, gurgling pipes or soggy ground in your drain field.

How should I maintain my drain field?

The best thing you can do for your drain field is leave it alone. You shouldn’t drive on it, pave over it or build anything on top of it. You don’t even want to plant trees too close to it for fear of root systems interfering with the pipes.

Megan B. Shepherd's headshot
To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Megan B. Shepherd as part of our fact-checking process.
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Written by


Lacey Stark is a freelance personal finance writer for Finder, specializing in banking, loans, investing, estate planning, and more. She has 20 years of experience writing and editing for magazines, newspapers, and online publications. A word nerd from childhood, Lacey officially got her start reporting on live sporting events and moved on to cover topics such as construction, technology, and travel before finding her niche in personal finance. Originally from New England, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and completed a postgraduate journalism program at Metropolitan State University also in Denver. She currently lives in Chicagoland with her dog Chunk and likes to read and play golf. See full bio

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