What Questions To Ask When Buying A House With A Septic Tank? (Perfect answer)

7 Questions A Home Buyer Should Ask About A Septic System

  • Where is the septic tank located?
  • Where is the tank lid or riser access to the tank?
  • Is there room for a secondary leach field should the existing one fail?
  • Where is the filter access located?

What questions should I ask about a septic system before buying?

  • Septic systems generally perform well; however, there are a few things that would be good to know about a septic system before you own the property. Here are suggested questions to ask, some are informational only, but a few of them could save you thousands of dollars. Can you answer the following questions? Where is the septic tank located?

What do I need to know when buying a house with a septic tank?

What should I ask before buying the property?

  1. A description of the treatment system and drainage system.
  2. The location of the main parts of the treatment system, drainage system and discharge point.
  3. Details of any changes made to the treatment system and drainage system.

What questions should I ask about a septic system?

25 Questions You’re Afraid To Ask About Septic Systems

  • What takes place during a septic pumping service?
  • How often do I need to have my septic tank pumped?
  • Should I use a bacteria additive products?
  • Will there be odors while and/or after the septic pumping service?

What are the disadvantage of septic tank?

The disadvantages of a septic system are the cost, electricity, maintenance, effectiveness, and law. Cost:The cost of having a septic can be very expensive to install and maintain. Effectiveness:The effectiveness of a septic system can decrease due to excessive chemicals pouring down the lines or neglect of the system.

Can I sell a house with a septic tank?

If you currently have a septic tank that discharges to surface water then the sale will trigger the requirement to replace or upgrade the system. Buyers should satisfy themselves that any system is in good working order and does not cause pollution.

How far does a septic tank have to be from a house UK?

Septic tanks should be at least 7 metres away from any habitable parts of the building. They should also be located within 30 metres of an access point so that the tank can be emptied.

How much does it cost to empty a cesspit UK?

How much does it cost to empty a Cesspit? In the example we used above, a 24,000L cesspit will cost approximately £600 to have emptied and is VAT exempt for domestic users. So if you need to have the tank emptied every 40 days then you are looking at an annual cost of £5,400.

How long do septic tanks last?

A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.

How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?

How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.

How do you evaluate a septic system?

The inspector may use a dye test during this part of their inspection. In a dye test, the inspector will introduce dye into the water that is being drained to see how much of it enters the septic tank. From there, the septic tank will get pumped and the inspector will check for any backflow from the absorption area.

Is it hard to maintain a septic tank?

Septic system maintenance is not complicated, and it does not need to be expensive. Upkeep comes down to four key elements: Inspect and Pump Frequently. Use Water Efficiently.

What are the pros and cons of having a septic tank?

Septic Tank Pros And Cons

  • You can save money by not having to pay for public sewer.
  • When properly maintained, septic systems are more environmentally friendly.
  • Septic tanks allow you to live further away from cities/towns.
  • Septic tanks can last up to 40 years.

What are the advantages of making toilets with septic tanks?

8. Advantages of Septic Tank

  • Septic tank uses the natural method of waste decomposition and thus is good for the environment.
  • It has a long life span and lasts for several years.
  • Septic tanks are relatively affordable and economical.

Do septic tanks lower property value?

The research shows that having a septic system as opposed to a standard sewage system does not increase or decrease the value of your home, although there are some things about that septic system that can affect resale.

What are the 2020 septic tank regulations?

Under the new rules, if you have a specific septic tank that discharges to surface water (river, stream, ditch, etc.) you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.

Do I need consent to discharge septic tank?

You will require a ‘Permit to Discharge’, however you may qualify for an exempt status if your system meets certain requirements such as amount of discharge, septic tank or sewage treatment plant model (only EN 12566-3 2005 Certified plants accepted), plant location, intended discharge point, installation and

7 Questions A Home Buyer Should Ask About A Septic System

Septic systems are typically reliable; nevertheless, there are a few things you should be aware of before purchasing a home that have to do with septic systems. Here are some suggested questions to ask; some are only for informative purposes, but a couple of them might save you thousands of dollars over the course of your career.

Can you answer the following questions?

What is the location of the septic tank? It is possible that you will require this information if you have your tank examined or repaired. Additionally, if you’re thinking of building an addition to your home, consider whether or not the tank would have to be relocated. What is the location of the tank lid or the riser access to the tank? It’s useful to know when you need to have your tank pumped or when you need to do maintenance. Is there enough space for a supplementary leach field in the event that the current one fails?

A copy of the blueprints may be available from the local building agency or health department.

  1. What is the location of the filter access?
  2. If the leach field is of the chamber type, inquire as to whether or not there is an inspection port and where it is located.
  3. Monitoring and checking the water level in the leach field lines is made possible through the use of an inspection port.
  4. If the seller is unable to provide a response, the local building department or health department may be able to assist.
  5. What is the age of the septic system, including the tank, leach field, and filter?
  6. When was the last time you had your septic tank drained out?
  7. Is it true that they went ten years without pumping?
  8. When was the last time the tank was emptied?
  9. Has the tank ever leaked, been repaired, or had a failure in the leach field?
  10. These types of inquiry may yield further information about the status of the septic system.

Are there any wells near the tank or leach field, if so where?

Under some conditions, systems that are installed too close to a well might lead to water pollution.

Having the well water tested will assist in determining whether or not there is a cause for worry.

Has the home had additional bedrooms added or an addition put onto the home?

The number of bedrooms in a house is sometimes used to estimate the size of a septic tank that will be installed. In general, the number of bedrooms in a house corresponds to the number of people that live there. Therefore, there is an increase in the amount of human waste and water that is being discharged into septic tanks. Homes that have added one or more bedrooms may now have a septic system that is inadequately sized. System failure can occur when the system is not adequately scaled. As a result of the subject matter of some of our articles, we include links to goods that we believe may be of interest to readers.

Questions to Ask When Buying a Property with a Septic System

For anyone contemplating the purchase of a house with a privately owned septic system, this article will give guidance on testing and inspecting the system to ensure that it is functioning and meets local operating regulations. Obviously, there is no test that can guarantee that a septic system has been thoroughly cleaned of all of its flaws and problems. The good news is that frequent inspections can reduce the likelihood of septic failure, which can result in dangerous circumstances and considerable repair costs, not to mention the provincial fines that can result if your system is not in compliance with regulations.

  1. How long has the property been in existence
  2. Is there someone who lives on the land? If so, how many individuals live there, and how long have they been residents of that location? Is the property now unoccupied, and how long has it been vacant? • How many years has this particular owner held the property? The septic system may be found in the following location: When an owner has owned a property for several years but does not know where the system is, this raises suspicions that the system has never been pumped. However, the fact that the owner may be aware of its location might indicate that he is pumping it more frequently than is customary
  3. This could also be a warning indicator. What are the components of this septic system? In a typical system, there is a tank as well as a drain field. Is the tank, however, made of steel or concrete? What is the size of it? Is there a pit for seepage or separate drywells for the water? What kind of fixes have been made to the system thus far? (Regular pumping is the best course of action. It is possible that a leach field that has never benefitted from pumping is nearing the end of its useful life)
  4. When was the last time the owner had the tank pumped?

Once you’ve determined the answers to these questions, it’s time to conduct a visual investigation of the location, looking for evidence of a hazardous situation. In order to do this, you must stroll around the property looking for spots that smell like sewage or are just wetter than the rest of the property. Is there any digging going on right now? Ponds, wells, streams, rocky outcrops, and other plant life may be found how far away? In the event that you encounter warning signs for a sink hole, do not continue going — you do not want to end yourself in one that way.

  1. Unsanitary conditions in the field, as well as standing water, are indicators of a faulty septic system.
  2. Drain fields that are lower than the surrounding area should also be looked for since they have the potential to collect rainwater.
  3. This is above and beyond what is typically included in a home inspection, but many inspectors who operate in locations where septic systems are widespread provide this service as an add-on for a charge.
  4. Inspect to ensure that the inspector consumes 50 gallons of water each bedroom, or 250 gallons of water in total, whichever is more.
  5. After that, the test volume of water is introduced into the septic system in order to look for signs of effluent leakage into the yard or indications of a clogged pipe.
  6. It’s possible that systems were installed incorrectly as well.
  7. When water enters the system, dye breakout can occur as quickly as 15 to 30 minutes after the water enters the system.

Some leaks do not discharge effluent to the surface at all, while other leaks do not send effluent to the surface until four or five days after they have occurred.

Some specialists advocate doing a flooding test to determine whether or not a septic system is leaking.

Put another way, pumping that much water into a system in two hours (which is the standard technique) might push the system beyond its intended capacity, causing damage that was not already present in the first place.

Pumping is not always essential; instead, you should depend on the findings of the prior tests to determine whether or not more invasive testing is required.

Instead, you can contact the contractor that pumped the system the previous time to obtain an opinion on the system’s current state of repair.

You can find out where the tank is located, what material it is made of, and what condition it is in right now.

If you are unfamiliar with the system, but you are aware that it has been at least three years since the previous pumping, you should proceed with having this service performed.

Nevertheless, if you see any indicators of damage or failure, it’s time to call in an experienced septic contractor to do an additional inspection of the system.

After then, it’s time to speak with some of your neighbors.

This type of anecdotal knowledge can be really beneficial.

Please remember that a septic system is only capable of handling a particular quantity of water, so if your household consumes significantly more than this, this may not be the best solution for your needs.

See also:  How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Pumped For 4 Adults? (Correct answer)

Sludge or floating scum at a high concentration indicates that the system is dumping solid waste, which indicates that the system is in serious problems.

In order to have it pumped, who was the contractor they hired? Is it pumped at least once every five years? If not, when? What significant repairs have previously been completed? Remember, you’re attempting to determine whether or not what the proprietor informed you is accurate.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance of Septic Tanks and Systems

For those who live on a rural property without access to a municipal water and sewer system, a septic system is used to dispose of the waste generated by their household. It is easy to lose sight of this system since, when everything is operating well, the plumbing lines and storage tanks are all underground and completely enclosed in concrete. When things go wrong, however, they go wrong in a huge manner – waste bubbles to the surface, requiring extensive repairs that are incredibly expensive to fix.

These are dangers that will arise for a private lender if you ever find yourself in a position where you want their services, therefore keeping records of regular septic system maintenance is a crucial element of reporting the property’s worth.

Has the functioning of your septic system provided you with any of the warning flags listed below?

  • Drains are slowing down, and toilets are backing up. sewage scents are being released
  • On top of the system, there is a patch of spongey or very green grass
  • The presence of nitrate or bacteria in your drinking water is concerning. Ponding of sewage on the surface of the water

In the event that you do not respond to these warning indications, what may happen?

  • The contamination of groundwater resources as well as surface water sources There is a backup into one or more of your property’s toilets, bathtubs, drains, or sinks
  • Interior property damage, if the backup is serious enough
  • If the backup is not severe enough

What steps should you take to keep your septic system in good working order?

  • Keep rainwater away from the septic drain field by redirecting the flow of the water Pump the septic tank(s) on a regular basis to keep them clean. Keep an eye out for any leaks in your toilets and faucets. Reduce the quantity of water you use for smaller wash loads by half. Make sure that you do not flush any large things down the toilet because this might cause difficulties in the system. Paper towels, disposable diapers, cigarette butts, facial tissues, tampons, and sanitary napkins are just a few examples. Use of the septic system to dispose of hazardous substances such as paint thinner, gasoline, motor oil, or varnish is strictly prohibited. Make use of strong duty cleansers only when absolutely necessary, as they kill the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank. It is not permissible to construct anything on top of the drain field. Please do not drive through the drain field. Planting grass on top of the drain field will help to keep the soil from eroding.

When you have a septic system, it is important to get it examined on a regular basis. If you fail to comply, you may be subjected to significant fines. It is necessary to pump out the whole interior tank and check the interior of the tank in order to conduct a full septic examination. As well as dye tests to ensure that the septic line is functioning properly, the inspector conducts soil percolation tests. If there is a pump tank present, the inspector will additionally conduct an electrical draw test on the tank.

After arriving at your location, the inspector will assess the whole plumbing system of your home, looking for any leaks in the equipment or fixtures.

The inspector then examines the distribution of the effluent, as well as the absorption regions, filters, and risers, to determine their condition.

They do, however, provide you with a starting point, which is all you can ask for when relocating to a new home.

Buying A House With A Septic Tank: Pros And Cons

Do you want to buy a house, but it has a septic tank, and you’re not sure what to check for when you go looking? Several considerations should be made while looking at a house that has an underground septic system. Here’s what you should do to make sure your septic system is in working order before purchasing a home. Learn about the laws in your area. Septic systems are custom-designed to compliment your property and meet local building codes. These local ordinances may include requirements for septic tank inspection, maintenance, and replacement, among other things.

  • If you decide to expand your home and add plumbing, they may also need you to install a larger septic tank to accommodate the additional waste.
  • Septic systems must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid complications.
  • Their job will be to search for leaks and blockages, identifying possible problems before they become major ones.
  • It is recommended that you ask to examine the tank’s inspection history before purchasing a house with a septic tank.
  • You must have a general understanding of the septic tank’s technical parameters.
  • Additionally, you must be aware of the date it was installed, because septic tanks may need to be updated every 20-40 years.
  • Make Preparations for Routine Maintenance A septic tank must be examined, maintained, and emptied on a regular basis in order to avoid problems.

Depending on the size of the tank, this can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 on average.

The distinction is that if you flush something down the toilet that shouldn’t be there, it becomes your responsibility on a septic system.

Pipes that are clogged can leak and sewage can back up into your home as a result of these obstructions.

Understand what may go wrong.

It is possible to create a large amount of mess when there are leaks, broken and clogged pipes, and flooding in a drain field.

Due to an excessive amount of liquid present either within the tank or within the drain field, a tank may fail to drain properly – or at all.

Spot Potential Problems As Soon As They Appear You must be able to recognize a possible problem before it manifests itself as a genuine one. Peculiar scents, unusual plumbing indicators, poor drainage, and backflow into your drains are all indications that your septic tank needs to be inspected.

Questions to ask when buying a house with a septic tank

It is important to know what sort of drainage system the property has. Septic tanks, cesspits, and sewage treatment plants are all common features of a home’s plumbing system. The type of tank that the property has is significant because it will determine the level of care that will be required and, consequently, the amount of money it will cost you to maintain it. Example: Septic tanks and sewage treatment facilities must be emptied on an annual basis, according to industry standards. A cesspit may require emptying four to eight times each year.

Unless it is a cesspit, which is basically a holding tank with no exit – which is why it needs to be emptied on a regular basis.

  1. This is often a network of perforated or slotted pipes that enable waste water from the tank to safely seep into the soil surrounding them
  2. A soakaway system, also known as a drainage field The discharge of solid waste into a local watercourse, such as a ditch or a small stream
  3. Solid waste disposal

Will the current system comply with the 2020 regulations?

This is an important subject since rules are in place that will have an impact on property purchases before 2020. (and beyond, as it will be a permanent requirement for drainage systems to comply). The most important thing to remember is that it is no longer permitted for a septic tank to discharge directly into a waterway. It will only be possible to discharge sewage from a septic tank onto a drainage field (or an alternative soakaway system if the Environment Agency has given permission). Due to the fact that the waste that flows into a septic tank does not receive any genuine treatment, this is the case.

There is no treatment for waste water that is discharged through a solid pipe and into a stream, and it is currently believed that this poses an unacceptable risk of contamination.

A sewage treatment plant treats waste water to a level that is deemed acceptable for disposal into a watercourse after it has been treated.

Typically, there are two options:

  1. Install a sewage treatment system in lieu of the septic tank, and Install a drainage field instead of the solid pipe that connects to the watercourse.

If you’re unsure about anything, call our staff for help right away on 0800 028 9903, or send us an email. We do homebuyer drainage studies on a regular basis, and we specialize in off-mains drainage, so we can assist with all areas of the process, from identifying what sort of system is already at the property to determining whether or not it will be compatible with current standards.

Is the septic tank shared with anyone else?

The majority of septic tanks are dedicated to the land to which they are connected, although others are shared by two or more homes. The arrangements for frequent emptying, who is in charge of it, and how payments are handled will all be important questions to ask if this is the situation at the home you’re considering purchasing. Also, what would happen if the septic tank were to fail, and how would everyone come to an agreement on the following steps?

What is the location of the septic tank? If it is on your property, what rights do the other homes that share the septic tank have in terms of accessing it? You may read more about shared septic tanks in our Guide to Shared Septic Tanks.

Is the septic tank and soakaway system within the property’s boundary?

Surprise, surprise, it is rather usual for part of a property’s drainage system to be located on someone else’s property. It isn’t necessarily an issue, but you will need to learn more about how the system is configured. What kind of land is it on? What is the nature of your relationship with them? What are your access rights to the component of the system that is not on your property in order to repair or replace it? The same goes for when purchasing a property that has someone else’s sewerage system running through it.

What would happen if the system failed and couldn’t be replaced by a similar system on the same basis?

When was the septic tank installed?

Age, as we all know, is not necessarily a negative factor. The same may be said about septic tanks. You’d be amazed how long a well designed and maintained septic tank can endure – we’ve seen tanks that were built more than 50 years ago and are still functioning properly. So don’t be put off if your present drainage system is a little on the old side; you simply need to have it thoroughly inspected to ensure that it is still in excellent functioning condition and does not show any indications of degradation.

How well has the current septic tank been maintained?

The majority of septic tanks will need to be drained once a year. Obviously, this will vary depending on the size of the tank and the amount of people that will be using it, but it is a good place to start. You will want to know that this has been done on a frequent basis, because failing to do so might result in problems with the soakaway system or drainage field that are not immediately apparent at the time. You know, problems underground can frequently take time to present themselves above ground, so just because everything appears to be fine on the surface doesn’t imply that there isn’t trouble developing under the surface.

Have there been any recent inspections of the septic tank?

Septic tanks may be damaged in a variety of ways, including tree roots growing through the walls, fractures in the tank’s walls, and broken dip pipes or baffles, among other things. This damage is typically not visible on the surface, and it may not be creating any difficulties above ground at this time. The tank will require a comprehensive inspection in order to determine the state of the walls and, preferably, to determine whether or not the drainage field or soakaway system is functioning properly.

  1. Occasionally, the surveyor will raise a manhole and see that things appear to be flowing normally, but in most cases, they will recommend that you hire a specialised firm to do a comprehensive survey.
  2. It is common for us to hear rustling of documents before the caller reads the sentence out loud regarding the necessity for a specialized survey when we inquire whether or not they have had one completed.
  3. The majority of the time, the answer is no.
  4. Having set your heart on a possible new house, the last thing you want to do is discover problems that will require your attention.
  5. But, as many of our gloomy-sounding callers discovered, don’t allow your emotions take over your judgment!

Call us immediately on 0800 028 9903 or send us an email to learn more about our services.

Don’t let buying a house with a septic tank get messy

Please don’t let the fact that the list above is a “belt and braces” approach to purchasing a home with a septic tank scare you away from making the purchase. Many people approach real estate acquisitions with a far more relaxed attitude, but they run the danger of being left exposed if a problem arises as a result. UKDP specializes in septic tanks and all other forms of off-mains drainage systems, and our team of engineers has extensive expertise in conducting detailed examinations prior to the purchase of a property.

See also:  How To Clen Septic Tank Filter Brush? (Solution found)

Get in touch with us immediately on 0800 028 9903 to learn more about how we can assist you.

Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Home with a Septic Tank

When it comes to purchasing a home, it is a significant decision that necessitates careful consideration before signing on the dotted line. When acquiring a house that contains a septic tank, it is vital to conduct additional due diligence in order to prevent unanticipated septic repair bills, which might be large. It is possible to gain a better understanding of the condition of the system and whether or not repairs will be required if you ask some pointed questions beforehand. This will give you the opportunity to revise your offer and avoid any unpleasant surprises after the sale.

  1. Typically, septic systems are used to treat solid waste and effluent from a single dwelling and are located on the property’s property line.
  2. Upon entering the tank, microorganisms break down the solid waste and the effluent from the residence.
  3. What happened to the septic system?
  4. To ensure that your tank and leach field area remain operational, they must be properly safeguarded.
  5. Furthermore, while landscaping, you would not want to place trees, bushes, or plants in these locations since they would be out of place.
  6. Older septic systems may require more servicing and maintenance than newer systems.
  7. This is often the consequence of septic tank negligence — specifically, the inability to pump — over time.
  8. It has already been established that neglecting to pump and service your septic tank might have long-term consequences for the leach field.
  9. When this occurs, they reduce the absorption capacity of the field, causing the effluent to be unable to drain effectively.
  10. What is the significance of these questions?
  11. A septic system that has been neglected is a perfect candidate for extensive repairs.

To get answers to your queries, get in touch with The Pink Plumber right now. OUR EXPERT PLUMBERS ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU.

Buying a Home With a Septic Tank? What You Need to Know

Published: February 2018 It’s a home feature that can make prospective buyers nervous: a septic tank. Part of a home’s wastewater system, a septic tank is found in households that aren’t served by municipal sewers. Instead, these standalone systems are designed to dispose of and treat the household’s wastewater independently, says theEnvironmental Protection Agency(EPA) (EPA). If you’re considering buying a home with a septic system, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:


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How Does a Septic System Work?

A pipe gathers all of the wastewater from the residence and transports it to an underground septic tank that is completely waterproof. As explained by the Environmental Protection Agency, solids settle to the bottom of the pond while floatable items (known as “scum”) float to the top. Both are confined within the tank, which is emptied on a regular basis by a professional pumper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the middle layer includes liquid wastewater (also known as “effluent”) that exits the tank into a buried drainfield in the yard, where the wastewater disperses into the soil.

Is the Septic System Related to the Drinking Water System?

No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well to provide water. The septic system, on the other hand, is completely separate from the well. Rather of treating wastewater so that it may be consumed, its objective is to safely distribute it in a manner that prevents pollution.

What Differentiates One Septic System from Another?

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the size of the drainfield and the quality of the soil are the primary factors that distinguish one septic system from another. In addition, the drainfield must be large enough to accommodate the volume of liquid generated by a family. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, do not use a home’s toilet, sink, or disposal as a wastebasket for dental floss, coffee grinds, kitty litter, paint, or chemicals to avoid the chance of blocking the system.

How Often Should You Get Your Septic Tank Emptied?

To remove the sludge and scum from the septic tank, it is necessary to hire a professional to pump it. The frequency is decided by the size of the tank and the degree of activity in the home (how much wastewater is generated). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most septic tanks should be emptied every three to five years. However, certain systems may require more frequent pumping – perhaps once a year if necessary.

What Are the Signs of a Failing Septic Tank?

Aside from routine pumping, the tank should be examined for leaks or obstructions on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, signs of a clogged system include foul odors that appear from time to time and fixtures that drain slowly or gurgle.

What About Maintenance Costs?

The size of the tank and drainfield, the accessibility of the tank, and the distance that waste must be taken for disposal all influence the cost of septic system upkeep.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pumping a tank might cost between $250 and $500.

What Should I Do Before Buying a Home With a Septic System?

Learn about the laws in your state. Some states demand a septic system examination prior to transferring ownership. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one anyhow. As a rule, conventional house inspections do not involve an examination of the septic system. Zillow reports that an inspection may provide a detailed assessment of the system’s integrity, identify whether it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (to minimize contamination), and check the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which could cause damage to the system.

If you do need to replace your system, the cost might vary significantly.

Owning a property with a septic tank does not have to be a frightening experience.

Related Resources:

Understand the laws of your state. It may be necessary to get your septic system checked before transferring title. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one nonetheless. (Conventional house inspections do not normally include a septic system check.) It is possible to learn about the system’s current state, assess if it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (in order to avoid contamination), and confirm the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which might cause harm to the system.

If you do need to replace a system, the cost might vary greatly.

Septic tank ownership doesn’t have to be a frightening prospect.

What to know when buying a house with a septic tank

As a homeowner with a septic system, it is your obligation to keep it in good working order and to ensure that it is operating at peak performance. A well maintained septic system protects both the environment and the home, which is why it is recommended that homeowners examine and pump their tanks on a regular basis. When properly maintained, and as long as the septic tank was constructed according to specifications, it should last for decades without failing. Some key considerations to consider when purchasing a home with a septic tank are summarized in the following section.

Know how the septic system works

A standard septic system is comprised of four components: the pipes leading from the home, the septic tank, the drain field, and the soil around the system. It is microbes in the soil and the septic tank that help to dissolve organic waste as well as to purify the water before it reaches the groundwater table. The piping’s primary duty is to transport wastewater from your home to the septic tank for treatment. Although concrete is the most often used material for septic tanks, other materials such as fiberglass and steel can also be utilized.

Tanks with risers are easier to identify, check, and pump than older tanks since they are easier to see.

It is possible that the drain field may flood if there is an excessive amount of water in it, and sewage may be visible on the ground surface, or that backups will occur in the septic tank and in the home.

After leaving the drain field, the effluent percolates into the soil, where it undergoes its last treatment, which includes the removal of bacteria and nutrients, before being returned to the water cycle.

Does the home use a conventional or an advanced system?

You can bet your bottom dollar that when you buy a house that comes equipped with a septic tank, it will be outfitted with a traditional septic system. Conventional systems treat wastewater using a mix of physical and biological processes, with the wastewater being treated in both the septic tank and the drain field as part of the treatment process. However, there are some instances in which a traditional system may not be possible to deploy for a variety of reasons. For example, if there is a lack of available area, it may not be possible to determine the recommended distance between the leach field and the drinking water well.

  1. In this case, modern septic systems come into play.
  2. Because these systems contain complex components, they may necessitate more attention and maintenance than their more traditional equivalents in the future.
  3. It’s possible that you’ll have to replace some equipment as well.
  4. In addition, you should inspect the pump for air bubbles.
  5. The ability to determine if the property has a conventional or an advanced septic system will assist you in understanding what will be expected of you as a new homeowner.

Does the home use a cesspool?

A cesspool is a hole sunk into the earth for the purpose of storing wastewater from a home or business. The walls of this pit are normally constructed of concrete or bricks, and they are perforated to allow for the percolation of wastewater into the soil under the surface. In most cases, cesspools offer little to no treatment of wastewater, but relying instead on the ground surrounding them to treat the water as it seeps through. Because cesspools are not designed to handle wastewater, the government forbade their installation in any home built after 1970 on the grounds that they were a health hazard.

If you are purchasing an older home, it is critical to determine if the home is equipped with a cesspit or a septic system.

How to save money on maintenance after buying a house with a septic tank

As a homeowner who owns a home with a septic tank, you must do periodic maintenance on the system because, if you do not, the system will fail and have major repercussions on the surrounding environment. As a septic system owner, you should be aware of several crucial guidelines that can help you save money.

Do not skip scheduled pumping

Depending on where you live, you may be forced to pump your septic tank once every 2-5 years by the local government.

If you fail to follow the pumping schedule, the tank may become overflowing and begin to back up. This type of failure is not only nasty, but it also ends up costing you extra money.

Watch the products you use

As a septic system owner, you must exercise extreme caution while selecting items for your system. The majority of commercial cleaning solutions that are used in homes are composed of chemicals that are extremely harmful to bacteria. Therefore, the efficacy of your septic system will be reduced as a result of using these types of items.

Regular inspections

Regular inspections will assist you in staying on top of things at all times. It is preferable, like with most other systems, to identify problem areas and correct them before it is too late.

Repair any damages

As soon as you spot any damage, get it repaired as quickly as possible. When there are cracks or any other defects that are not corrected, the problem will worsen with time, eventually rendering the system inoperable. In addition to the environmental risks associated with a neglected system, an ineffective septic system will significantly reduce the value of your home.

Use biological additives

The septic tank relies on bacteria in the tank to liquefy organic waste, which is done by the bacteria in the tank. However, as a result of the dangerous items that most homeowners inadvertently flush down the toilet, the quantity of bacteria in the drain decreases significantly over time. Biological additions can assist in reversing this trend. For example, Bio-biological Sol’s additives enrich septic tanks by introducing billions of bacteria and enzymes into the system.

Ask for records of maintenance

A smart suggestion is to keep track of the maintenance performed on your septic tank on an ongoing basis. A comprehensive record should include all pertinent information and dates, such as the history of pumping operations, the inspection record, the location of the drain field, and any other concerns that the property owner may have encountered. This record will assist you in determining where to pick up your system as a new owner, and it will also provide you with an indication of the overall health of the system you are purchasing.

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Carry out an independent inspection

You shouldn’t take the seller’s word for it — the only way to be totally certain about the condition of the septic system is to have it inspected by a third party. Do not make a purchase commitment for a home that contains a septic tank unless a trained inspector has inspected the system and given it a clean report. The majority of homeowners make the mistake of merely examining their system once, right after it is installed, and then never bother to do so again after that. This is why you must insist on having a qualified professional inspect the system.

The inspection report may even be required by some institutions before they would accept a mortgage application.

  • Determine the location of the septic tank and drain field
  • Uncover the manhole and any additional inspection apertures that may be present. In order to guarantee that wastewater from the home flows out as planned, flushing the toilet and opening sinks are recommended. The tank and drain field area are being inspected. Obtaining measurements of the scum and sludge layers

In addition, utilizing bio-low-cost sol’s tracer dye tablets, you may check on the overall health of the system. You may just flush the pills down the toilet, and if there is a problem with your septic system, you will see an unusually bright green hue surrounding the leach field after 2 days. This process, albeit basic in appearance, has been shown to be the most successful in terms of determining the overall health of the septic system. The truth is that this is the test that inspectors use to figure out whether or not the septic system has failed.

Demand a septic system examination before you make a decision on whether or not to purchase a home.

It is possible that you could wind up acquiring a house that has a broken septic system, and you will be compelled to replace the entire system if you neglect this step.

Septic system replacement is a costly endeavor that might cost you an extra $10,000 to $30,000 in addition to your existing mortgage.

What can make your septic system to fail?

The last thing you want to find in your new home is a septic system that has failed. Knowing what causes a septic system failure is essential in order to avoid this situation. You will then be able to determine what you need to do in order to avoid this failure. The following are some of the most common reasons for a septic system to fail.

Toxic products

Using an antibacterial soap in the shower or washing paint rollers in the sink are examples of what is meant by this phrase. To get a more in-depth list of all the goods you should avoid using in your new home, download our free eBook.

Hydraulic overload

The septic system was not intended to handle a large amount of water at one time. This is due to the fact that if the tank receives an excessive amount of water, it will force some of the water out of the tank to create way for the incoming water. It is possible that the wastewater that exits the septic tank as a result of hydraulic overflow has not been effectively treated, which might result in difficulties. As a result, avoid flooding your bathtub with water and space out your washing rather than doing large loads of laundry at the same time as possible.

Garbage disposal

When it comes to homes with septic systems, garbage disposal should be avoided at all costs. The use of these products will only result in clogged systems as a result of the excessive amount of organic and inorganic waste that is introduced into the system. Using a trash disposal is a certain method to create a significant amount of scum and sludge in a short period of time.

Improper design

It is quite easy for a septic tank to fail if it is not properly constructed or installed. Some of the soils will be outstanding at wastewater treatment, but others will be less effective at it. The design that will be employed on a site must thus be determined after conducting soil analysis and a percolation test on the land. When choosing the size of the septic tank and the drain field, the number of bedrooms in the home must be taken into consideration.

Structural damage

Putting too much strain on the septic tank might result in the pipes collapsing and the tank breaking open. As a result of these damages, the effluent will escape into the environment in its unprocessed state, resulting in environmental degradation. As a result, you should avoid driving or moving large machines and things, as well as constructing over the septic tank, if possible. CAUTION: Never wipe off paint with water from the faucet! After you have finished painting the home, make sure to dispose of any remaining paint and brushes in a hazardous waste facility that is close by.

Renovating a house with a septic tank

If you want to perform any repairs after purchasing a home with a septic tank, you should be aware that some of these modifications may necessitate the modification of the septic system as part of the process. For example, the size of a septic tank is decided by the number of bedrooms in a building.

If you are considering adding an additional bedroom to your home, you may be compelled by law to construct a larger septic tank if the one you already have on the site is not sufficient to handle the additional demand. The sizes of septic tanks that are suggested are listed in the following table.

Number of bedrooms Minimum number of tanks (in gallons)
1-2 750
3 1,000
4 1,250
5 1,250
6 1,400

Also worth mentioning is the importance of exercising extreme caution when building on the land in order to prevent causing damage to the septic system in any manner. As a starting point, driving earthmovers or any other heavy gear over the septic tank is not suggested since it might cause structural damage to the septic tank. Additionally, paint and other solvents that may have been used during the repairs should not have been allowed to enter the septic tank since they can cause the septic system to malfunction.

Does the home have a private well?

Private wells are installed in the majority of residences that have a septic system. As a result, it is critical that you test the well to check that the water has not been contaminated by the septic system before proceeding. Before acquiring a home with a private well, contact your local health authority, which should be able to provide you with a free or low-cost test to determine the water quality. You may also wish to test the water for other foreign things such as metals and chemicals, just to be on the safe side.

Additionally, as the new homeowner, it will be your obligation to keep the well in good condition and to guarantee that it is not contaminated by your system.

Beyond keeping you and your family safe from disease-causing microorganisms, keeping track of your annual testing might be useful if you ever need to sue someone who polluted your well and seek compensation.


Purchasing a new house is a significant choice and a significant commitment from which you are unlikely to want to back out in the near future. As a result, it is one of those judgments that should not be made hastily. Take the time to check the septic system on the property so that you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when you move in. The condition of the septic tank should be considered one of the most important considerations in determining the price of your new home. Along with inspecting to confirm that the septic tank is in proper functioning order, you should also test the water to ensure that the well has not been contaminated by the septic system.

Your knowledge of how the septic system operates, as well as your familiarity with its maintenance procedures, will be required for this position.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a House with a Septic Tank

The 9th of July, 2020 The date is September 16, 2021. byOn September 16th, 2021, the latest update For those who grew up in a city or town, they were presumably raised in a home that was serviced by the municipal sewage department, and they may be wary of purchasing a home that has a septic tank installed in it. Did you know that one out of every five households in the United States is reliant on a septic tank for waste disposal? This is something that you will almost certainly come into while looking for a home in Philadelphia, PA or when relocating to Atlanta, GA, regardless of where you are shopping for a property.

A septic tank, in contrast to a public sewer, which serves the entire municipality, serves only one residence.

A system of subterranean pipes built out in a grid pattern on the land collect the fluid and discharge it into the tank, where the solids fall to the bottom.

Microbial action in the tank breaks down the particles, resulting in the formation of sludge, which is collected on a regular basis by a company that provides septic system maintenance.

The pros of buying a house with a septic tank

Residents that live within the town borders pay a monthly utility rate to cover sewage expenditures, which is a cost-effective solution. With a septic tank, you won’t have to worry about this kind of price. A septic system is self-maintaining, and with appropriate care, it may survive for decades. Lifestyle choices such as saving water, using bleach only when absolutely necessary, and being cautious about what goes down the drains not only maintain your septic system, but they also help to protect the environment.

If you have a municipal system, a backup can introduce germs from the entire community into your tubs, sinks, and toilets, depending on where the backup occurs and the severity of the backlog.

If a leak were to occur, it would only have an impact on the surrounding property.

The cons of buying a house with a septic tank

Maintenance is required: Septic systems must be checked by a qualified specialist on a regular basis. Every three to five years, the solid waste should be pumped out and the tank should be examined for deterioration. Prices for the service range from $200 and $400, depending on your geographic area. It is your obligation to make repairs: If a municipal sewer line bursts or backs up on your property, it is the government’s responsibility to repair the problem and restore service. However, if your septic system becomes clogged or a pipe bursts, you will be responsible for the repair costs.

Drainage field that has failed: Only the quality of the drain field will determine how successful the septic system will be.

Get a septic tank inspection before buying a house

If you’re thinking about buying a house that has a septic tank, make sure to have the septic system inspected as part of your home inspection. A septic inspection can provide you with piece of mind and will help you avoid any costly hassles once you have moved home. Septic system inspections are performed in accordance with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and comprise the following steps:

  • The date of the most recent inspection to evaluate whether or not it has been properly maintained
  • The amount of sludge present in the tank
  • The location of the drain field should not be near a well or any other body of water, since this might cause flooding. Confirmation that the system is large enough to serve the residence that it is intended for
  • The presence of liquid waste on the surface of the earth
  • There are no fractures or leaks in the tank or lid. The input and output pipes are securely attached to the baffles. Drain lines receive the same quantity of water from each other.

More septic system FAQs

What is the average lifespan of a septic system? A septic system, if properly maintained, should last for several decades. The frequency with which you should pump your septic tank is up to you. Every three to five years, you should have your septic system inspected and the tank pumped out. Consult with your local health department to find out what they recommend for your particular area of the country. What may I put in my septic tank? Hopefully, just your greywater and blackwater will go into your septic.

Is it necessary for them to dig up my lawn in order to pump my septic tank?

In spite of the fact that this will only be a small portion of your yard and not the entire thing, Does my septic need chemicals like Rid-X?

A well-maintained system has everything it needs to break down the solids and create a healthy septic flora.

Only then, do experts recommend the use of additives in your septic tank.

Can I plant anything over my drain field?

Yes, but be careful. The root systems of trees and shrubs can damage the underground pipes. Vegetable gardens could also become contaminated from the drainage. However, landscaping over and around a septic drain field with native plants is an appropriate use of the space.

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