How much does a septic inspection cost?

$300 – $650 septic inspection cost for a home transaction
$150 – $450 septic inspection cost for regular maintenance

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March 15, 2022

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 3 expert plumbing inspectors on HomeGuide.

Septic inspection cost

A septic inspection costs $150 to $450 for routine maintenance or $300 to $650 for a real estate transaction or Title 5 inspection. Septic tank inspection costs depend on the location, tank and system size, and whether it's a basic visual inspection or full inspection.

Septic inspection cost - chart
Septic inspection cost - chart

Septic inspection cost
National average cost $290
Minimum cost $100
Maximum cost $1,100
Average cost range $150 to $450

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.


Septic tank and system inspection costs

Septic tank and system inspection costs
Service Average cost
Septic inspection when buying a house $300 – $650
Septic inspection for regular maintenance $150 – $450
Septic camera inspection $125 – $500
Septic tank pumping $295 – $610
Well and septic inspection $400 – $650

Contractor inspecting septic tank and system
Contractor inspecting septic tank and system

The following factors affect the cost of a septic inspection:

  • Inspection type – A routine inspection for regular maintenance costs less than a full inspection for a real estate transaction.
  • Inspection level – A visual inspection or dye test costs less than a full system inspection but may not detect all problems.
  • Septic tank size and depth – Inspection costs increase for larger or deeper tanks.
  • Digging required – Some septic companies charge extra to dig up the septic tank cover.
  • Accessibility – Prices increase for septic systems on steep slopes or in difficult-to-access areas.
  • Location – Some cities require an inspection from a licensed septic contractor, while others allow a home inspector to perform the inspection.
  • Combining inspections – Most companies offer a discount when combining septic, well, and home inspections.
  • A septic camera inspection costs $125 to $500. A comprehensive septic inspection often requires a fiber optic camera to examine inside the septic and drain field lines.
  • Septic tank repairs cost $600 to $3,000, depending on the problem and which parts need replacing.
  • Leach field rejuvenation costs $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Drain field replacement costs $3,000 to $15,000.
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Well and septic inspection

A well inspection costs $250 to $550 on average, depending on the well type and depth and whether the inspection includes laboratory water testing for bacteria and other contaminants. Most companies offer discounts when combining well and septic inspections in the same visit.

Septic pumping and inspection cost

Septic tank pumping costs $295 to $610 on average, depending on the tank size. A comprehensive septic inspection typically includes pumping the tank, while most companies charge separately for pumping the tank before a basic or visual inspection.

Never allow an inspector to inspect the septic system without pumping the tank first.

Septic inspection cost when buying a house

A septic inspection costs $300 to $650 when buying a house. Most buyers schedule a home inspection within 3 to 10 days of signing the contract. The home inspector performs a visual septic inspection. Buyers typically only schedule a comprehensive septic inspection if the home inspection uncovers potential septic problems.

If the septic system fails inspection, the buyer may use that information to negotiate a discount on the home purchase price or require the seller to repair the system instead. The seller is legally obligated to disclose any known problems with the septic system to potential buyers.

FHA and VA mortgage loans require a home appraisal. If the appraiser suspects a problem with the septic system, the buyer must arrange a full septic inspection to obtain a mortgage.

Septic tank inspection cost by location

Septic inspection costs depend on local city or state regulations. Prices for a routine septic inspection are typically higher in states with Title V or similar requirements. For example:

  • A septic tank inspection in Atlanta, GA costs $100 to $200 for a visual inspection or $200 to $450 for a basic inspection. A full septic inspection for a realty transaction costs $300 to $600+.
  • A septic inspection in Florida costs $250 to $500.
  • A Title V septic inspection in Massachusetts costs $400 to $800 and is required by state law every two to three years.

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Title 5 inspection cost

A Title 5 inspection costs $300 to $650 and is required in some states for the sale or transfer of a home or the addition of a bedroom, bathroom, or swimming pool. The homeowner or seller pays for the septic inspection. Many states mandate septic inspections every two to five years.

If the septic system fails a Title V inspection, homeowners must repair or upgrade the system within two years.

What happens during a Title 5 inspection?

A Title 5 inspection is a comprehensive evaluation of the septic lines, tank, and drain field.

  • The inspector gathers information about the system based on the size of the household, septic tank size, previous permits, and as-built plans.
  • The septic company pumps the tank before the inspection. Some companies include pumping in the inspection cost.
  • The inspector locates all septic system components—including the sewer lines, tank, distribution box, and drain field—and checks each part for signs of hydraulic failure.
  • Accessing the tank may require digging if there are no risers on the surface. The inspector also digs two to three feet down to confirm proper drainage.
  • The inspector tests the plumbing in the home by flushing toilets, running water in the sinks and tubs, and running the washing machine through a full cycle.
  • The inspection company provides the results to the homeowner and local Board of Health.

Frequently asked questions

Who pays for a septic inspection?

The homeowner pays for a routine septic inspection for general maintenance. When the inspection is part of a realty transaction, the buyer or seller may be responsible for the cost, depending on state regulations.

When do I need a septic inspection, and is it necessary?

A septic inspection may be necessary for a real estate transaction or if the system is experiencing problems. Consider getting a septic inspection in the following situations:

  • Buying or selling a home with a septic system
  • Adding a bedroom, bathroom, or swimming pool
  • Every 2 to 4 years for routine maintenance
  • When experiencing issues such as plumbing backups in the home, sewage odors in or around the home, or wet areas pooling above the septic tank or drain field
  • When required by the local Board of Health or code enforcement
  • When inheriting property, if state law requires an inspection

What is involved in a septic inspection?

A septic inspection typically includes the following:

  • Review of the septic system permit, design, installation, and maintenance history
  • Opening and inspecting the septic tank, pump tank, and distribution box
  • Evaluating the sludge, scum, and effluent levels in the tank
  • Assessing the condition of the tank filter, lid, and baffles
  • Looking for signs of leakage, backups, cracks, or corrosion
  • Evaluating the drain field for standing water or drainage issues
  • Digging test holes in the drain field
  • Confirming mechanical and electrical components such as pumps and controls are functioning properly

A full septic inspection may also require a fiber optic camera inspection or excavation of the drain field.

How long does a septic inspection take?

A septic inspection takes 1 to 3 hours, depending on the inspection type, the system’s complexity and accessibility, and the inspector’s findings. Most inspection companies provide a written report by the end of the next business day.

How often to inspect a septic tank?

Have the septic tank inspected every 2 to 4 years, depending on local regulations, home size, and water usage. Households with extremely high water usage should get an annual septic inspection to prevent costly repairs.

How does a septic system fail inspection?

A septic system may fail inspection if the following problems are present:

  • Excess water in the septic tank
  • Leach field is over-saturated
  • Plumbing backups in the home
  • Non-biodegradable items in the septic line or tank
  • Septic tank shifted or fractured by ground movement
  • Tree root infiltration in the tank or lines
  • Damage to the drain field by vehicles or heavy equipment
  • Incorrect design or installation
Some states offer a tax credit of up to $6,000 over four years to defray the repair cost if a septic system at a primary residence fails inspection.
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Who inspects septic systems?

Hire a plumbing inspector or home inspector to inspect a septic tank. Before signing a contract, be sure to:

  • Search for licensed companies with septic inspection experience.
  • Look for an InterNACHI Certified Septic System Inspector.
  • Determine if local regulations require the inspector to be a Certified Health Officer, Registered Sanitarian (RS), or Registered Professional Sanitary Engineer.
  • Collect estimates from at least three companies to compare.
  • Look at their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
  • Confirm the company is licensed, bonded, and insured.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Confirm whether the estimate includes pumping the septic tank before the inspection.
  • Make a payment schedule instead of paying in full up front.

Questions to ask septic inspectors

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • Are you InterNACHI certified? What other certifications do you have?
  • What experience do you have inspecting septic systems?
  • What level of septic inspection will you perform?
  • Does the inspection include pumping the tank?
  • How long will the inspection take?
  • What documentation will you provide when the inspection is complete?
  • Will the inspection affect my landscaping?
  • How often should I have my septic system inspected?
  • How often should I get the tank pumped?
  • What other routine septic system maintenance should I perform?
  • Do you provide septic pumping and repair services?

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