It typically costs $1,000 on average to replace a septic distribution box.
Size and material are the two biggest cost factors.
Homeowners can choose a D-box made of plastic, concrete, or fiberglass and each has its pros and cons.
The cost of labor is the majority of what you’ll spend on this project.
A septic distribution box (or D-box) is connected to the septic tank and spreads wastewater throughout the leach field underground. Here’s why a D-box is so important for your home—it prevents flooding and keeps the ground from collapsing from large amounts of water. While most D-boxes last a long time, they can sometimes need replacing if they break or crack with age, after a tree root grows too close, or after heavy flooding. It typically costs about $1,000 to replace one, though the cost can range from $500 to $1,500. In this cost guide, we outline what you’ll need to budget as you consider replacing your current septic distribution box.
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Septic D-Box Cost Breakdown
A new D-box itself costs around $50 to $200. The majority of the replacement price is due to the cost of labor and permits.
A septic tank repair person typically charges around $160 per hour of work, though some companies charge 50 to 70% of the total project cost vs. a per hour rate. You can research local septic tank repair companies with good reviews in your area and collect a few quotes to compare pricing.
Some states like Oregon and Florida require residents to apply for a septic system repair permit before having any work done. In Florida, the fee is $300 to repair an existing system, but the total cost can vary based on the specific city and state you live in. Check in with your local municipal office to see what it costs in your area.
What Factors Influence the Cost to Replace a Septic Distribution Box?
The cost of the septic D-box itself doesn’t fluctuate very much, but the two factors that do change the price include the size of the D-box and whether it’s made of concrete, plastic, or fiberglass. As you plan out your project, consider these two factors:
The size of your household will determine your septic needs, so the larger your home, the larger your septic tank will need to be to avoid filling up too fast. That means the septic distribution box will also need to be larger to accommodate spreading the volume of wastewater into the leach field. The larger the box, the more it will cost, but you’ll likely save more in the long run by not having to get the septic tank pumped as often. Pumping a septic tank costs $400, or $0.30 per gallon on average.
Septic distribution boxes are typically made of concrete, plastic, or fiberglass. Plastic is the least expensive, while concrete costs the most. However, they each have their pros and cons. For example, concrete lasts for decades but can be prone to corrosion. Plastic and fiberglass are lighter and easier to install, but may not last as long as concrete and have the potential to float when groundwater is high unless properly anchored. Below is a breakdown of the price ranges for each type of D-box:
Can You Replace a Septic Distribution Box Yourself or Should You Hire a Pro?
This is a job best left to the professionals. While you technically could replace the D-box yourself, there’s a lot of physical labor involved digging up the box, properly disconnecting it from the rest of the septic tank system, and correctly installing the new one. A lot could go wrong and you don’t want to have plumbing issues in the future because of it. Septic tank repair professionals have all the specific equipment needed to get the job done correctly and in a timely manner so your household can go back to using the toilet, shower, and sinks as normal without any damage to your home.
FAQs About the Cost to Replace a Septic Distribution Box
Can you get a loan for a septic system replacement?
Yes, in some states you can recieve a loan to help pay for a septic system repair, replacement, or upgrade. In Wisconsin for example, as of 2017, The U.S. Department of Agriculture stated, “Loans are available for up to $20,000 at a one percent fixed interest rate for up to 20 years. Individuals who are age 62 and older and who do not have repayment ability for a loan, may be eligible for a grant of up to $7,500.”
You can check with your state’s USDA branch for eligibility in your area.
How often should you get your septic tank pumped?
A septic tank should be pumped once every three to five years or sooner if there’s a problem with your plumbing backing up. A large 5+ person family who frequently has guests over using the bathroom or who pours a lot of water and food down the garbage disposal may need to get it pumped closer to every two years.
Do I need to get the septic distribution box inspected?
A septic system inspection costs $100 to $200. Doing so can spot issues early so you can plan for necessary repairs ahead of time and save yourself the issue of a backed-up septic tank. Some septic tank repair professionals do an inspection as part of their yearly maintenance on your septic tank if you choose to pay for that service, but you should shoot to have a septic system inspection completed at least once every two to five years.