How much does a septic tank cost?
Installing a new septic tank typically costs between $3,100 and $9,444 for a standard anaerobic system, according to customers on HomeAdvisor. This generally includes the following expenses:
- Septic tank. A standard anaerobic system typically sets you back between $2,000 and $5,000 per installation. But alternative aerobic systems can run from $10,000 to $20,000.
- Installation. Installation costs include renting a backhoe to dig the hole for the tank as well as hiring someone to put in the tank and plumbing. This can run from $1,200 to $4,500.
- Permits. Typically septic tank permits can set you back around $1,000, though it depends on where you live.
Once it’s installed, you need to have it inspected and pumped every few years, which can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on where you live.
Repairing a septic tank
There’s a chance that when you get your septic tank inspected, you’ll have to make repairs. This typically ranges from $600 to $2,500, according to customers on HomeAdvisor.
One of the most common repairs is replacing a broken pipe, which can cost around $1,500 — and might involve digging up your driveway again. But if your septic tank has started to contaminate the area around it, you might have to move it to another location, which can set you back as much as $20,000.
7 ways to finance a septic tank
Installing or repairing a septic tank is one of the easiest home improvements to fund, thanks to several government options. Consider starting with the following options when looking for septic tank financing.
1. State-funded septic tank financing
Some federal and state agencies offer low-income residents affordable loans and grants to replace or repair your septic tank. If you live in a rural area in particular, consider reaching out to your local government first to find out what options are available.
Some states with notable programs include:
- New York. Residents of some areas of New York state might be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 for replacing or repairing a septic tank from the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health.
- Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. The USDA offers grants of up to $4,000 to individuals who live in a designated colonia.
2. USDA Single Family Housing Repair loans and grants
The USDA also offers general-use home repair loans and grants to low-income households. Loans run up to $20,000 with interest rates fixed at 1%. Grants can get as high as $7,500.
To qualify for a loan, you must be the homeowner, currently occupy the house and have a household income of less than 50% of the median income in your area. If you’re over 62 years old, you’re also eligible for a grant. You can get started on your application by contacting your local USDA office.
3. Septic tank loans
Some lenders offer loans specifically for replacing or repairing a septic tank. You can often find these through nonprofit lenders like Craft3 in the Pacific Northwest, which offers APRs close to 2.5% depending on how much you 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.
Since nonprofits tend to serve one community, you might have better luck finding one through your local housing department, USDA office or Department of Environmental Conservation.
4. Home equity loans
Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and loans are two of the most popular ways to fund home improvements, including repairing or replacing a septic tank. Also known as a second mortgage, a home equity loan involves borrowing against the amount you own in your home.
Backing your loan or line of credit with your house can help you qualify for more competitive rates and terms than an unsecured personal loan, though you risk losing your home if you can’t pay it back.
5. Unsecured personal loans
Borrowers with strong credit might want to consider taking out an unsecured personal loan. Personal loans typically range from $1,000 to $50,000 with APRs from 4% to 36% and terms from three to five years.
It’s less of a risk than a home equity loan, since you don’t need collateral. These can be a helpful option if you’re ineligible for government loans or grants.
To find a list of lenders that you may qualify for, select the range that your credit score falls under and select the state that you reside in.
6. Septic company 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 means you have often 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 interest that’s higher than the rates you’d get with a loan — similar to a credit card with a 0% promotional rate.
In addition to this, some septic companies have coupons on their website that offer discounts on services. You can typically use these in addition to financing to lower your cost even more.
7. State tax credits
Some states offer tax credits or deductions for repairing or buying a new septic tank. For example, Massachusetts allows its residents to get a tax refund for up to 40% of the cost of the tank. You won’t have to pay it back, though you might want to hire a tax expert to make sure you declare it correctly. You also need to provide the money up front, which isn’t helpful if you don’t have that kind of cash on hand.
7 tips for protecting your septic tank
The better you care for your septic tank, the less often you’ll need to make expensive repairs. Here are seven ways to keep it in top shape:
- Use a high-efficiency shower head. Your septic tank can only handle so much water at once before it starts to back up. A high-efficiency shower head can help prevent that.
- Have multiple laundry days. Dividing your laundry into several smaller loads can also ensure you aren’t overloading your tank with water.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t dump toxic chemicals. Your septic tank full of organisms that help digest your waste. Keep them alive and well by avoiding chemical drain openers, grease and paints down any drains.
- 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.
- Maintain your drainfield. 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.
You can find lots of financing options for installing or repairing a septic tank. 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 better solution.
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