Septic Tank Inspection When Buying A House? (Question)

According to most experts, you should get your septic tank inspected at least every three to five years. Many wait until something goes wrong to have the septic inspectors over. At that point, inspectors will often recommend you repair or replace your septic system, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Can you sell a house with an old septic tank?

If you’re selling a property with a septic tank, then you must be transparent with buyers about the fact the property uses a one and provide a detailed specification of the system. In fact, You are required by law to inform a buyer in writing about the presence of a septic tank.

Who pays for septic inspection buyer or seller in Florida?

Like building and pest inspections, the cost of septic inspections are shouldered by the buyer in question. While specific costs will depend on your location and chosen inspection level, most buyers can expect to pay between $260 and $420 for a septic inspection by a licensed septic technician.

What do I need to know about buying a house with a well and septic?

10 Rules for Buying a Home with a Well and Septic System

  1. The house must have 2-3 acres of land.
  2. Do not buy a home with a dug or bored well.
  3. The visible well should be a 6 inch diameter pipe with a bolted cap sticking a foot out of the ground.
  4. Water from the road, driveway, and downspouts should not drain to the well.

Who pays for septic inspection in California?

The responsibility to pay for septic repairs typically falls to the seller. However, repairs of any kind found at inspection are generally negotiable.

Do I have to replace my septic tank by 2020?

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.

Does a septic tank affect mortgage?

How a septic tank could affect your negotiations. In most cases, a correctly installed well-maintained system, is unlikely to cause any issues. Even where a property has an older septic tank, provided it does not discharge directly into surface water, then it may still meet the relevant standards.

How much does a septic inspection cost in Florida?

Vause said that a standard inspection, which would include pumping out sewage from a septic tank system, costs $150 to $300 now in North Florida, and $200 to $350 in South Florida.

Does Florida require septic inspection?

Key Message: Once a septic system is approved in Florida, ongoing inspection or maintenance is not required. Because septic systems can deteriorate over time, legislation that requires periodic inspection and maintenance is essential to ensuring they function properly to protect public health and the environment.

How long do septic tanks last in Florida?

How Long Do Septic Tanks Last in Florida? In Florida, one in every three households relies on septic systems. Septic tanks can last 30 years with proper maintenance; that includes having the septic tank pumped every three to five years.

How long do septic systems last?

The material of the septic tank – plastic or concrete tanks can last for nearly 40 years. While the steel tank lasts for 15-20 years. Other factors like water usage, trees or plants growing in the area, the lifespan of pump filters, sand filter systems, and other internal components, the objects flushed to the system.

Do septic tanks smell?

A properly-maintained septic tank should be odor-free, so if you notice a bad smell inside your home or outside near the leach field, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. Septic odors are caused by gases in the system, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.

Is septic tank better than sewer?

Although septic systems require a bit more maintenance and attention, they have a number of advantages over sewer lines. Since they don’t pump wastewater long distances to be processed at a water treatment facility, they use less energy overall and have a smaller environmental impact.

Do I need a certificate for my septic tank?

The General Binding Rules were designed to simplify the regulation of small sewage discharges. Septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants no longer need to be registered and there is no legal requirement to keep records of maintenance (although this is advisable).

Can I sell my house with a failed septic system in California?

The simple answer is that, yes, you can sell your home with a failed septic system —unless you’re forbidden by local law. Most often, though, the roadblock isn’t legal but rather financial. Home buyers rely on financing to close on a home, but many lenders won’t approve a loan for a house with a failed septic system.

Should seller pump septic tank?

Typically, septic systems only have to be pumped every 3-5 years. Despite this, however, county law mandates the system to be cleared out before the sale of a home. Thus, it’s in the best interest of the seller to wait until there’s a prospective buyer to begin the process.

Don’t Forget The Septic Inspection When Buying a House

Septic system inspection is mandatory if you are planning to purchase a property that contains a septic tank. There are several things that may go wrong with septic systems, and with any sort of system, there is the potential for various problems to arise. Is it necessary to have a septic examination performed before purchasing a home? Before closing on a home, you should find out if there is an issue with the septic system that has to be addressed. The problems that might arise with a septic system can range from basic repairs to extremely sophisticated replacements that can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.

How The Septic System Works

A septic system installed on a home property can be used in place of a municipal sewer system in some cases. In the United States, 25 percent of residences have decentralized systems, also known as septic systems, which are permanent components of our nation’s wastewater infrastructure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It all starts with the sanitary pipe that runs from the home and delivers waste water to the septic tank at the bottom of the hill. This big container is normally composed of concrete, fiberglass or steel, although it can also be made of plastic or aluminum.

This tank collects wastewater from the home and allows particles to settle to the bottom of the tank, where they form a “sludge” layer that can be seen on the bottom of the tank.

  • This scum layer forms a seal, which helps to keep air out of the tank, allowing bacteria to grow in the tank below.
  • The area between the sludge and the scum is referred to as the effluent area.
  • A T-shaped outlet is located inside the tank, which allows effluent to flow into the leach field by gravity, while baffles prevent scum and particles from passing through the tank and into the leach field.
  • This box permits the effluent to flow uniformly into the proper chambers of the leach field, therefore reducing the risk of contamination.
  • The final outcome is the same regardless of the method employed: the delivery of effluent into the leach field.
  • There are a variety of various alternatives available when it comes to the sorts of chambers that may be employed.
  • Leaching’s ultimate goal is to enable effluent to trickle down into the subsoil, where microorganisms in the top layers of soil continue to break down elements from the tank.
  • Leach Field in a Residential Setting As you can see, a septic system is involved in a great deal of activity.
  • A large number of homeowners are completely unaware of the importance of providing continuous maintenance, care, and cleaning for their septic systems.
  • The results of the examination will be used to decide whether or not the tank needs to be emptied.

The cost of inspection and pumping might range between $300 and $500, depending on the location and size of the tank. The cost of maintenance is substantially less than the cost of repair or, in the worst case scenario, replacement of the equipment.

The Septic Inspection

If you’re doing the inspection as part of a house purchase, you’ll want to synchronize the scheduling of this test with the date of your regular property inspection to ensure that both tests are completed at the same time. Thus, if there are any issues with the plumbing systems of the home, these may be brought to the notice of the home inspector and documented in the inspection report. Additionally, grouping these inspections together will help you stay on schedule for any inspection contingency-related deadlines that you may be up against in the future.

At this point, you’ll be gathering documentation and obtaining answers to any queries you may have in preparation for the real inspection.

Because the system is underground, no examination can locate everything without excavating, which is unfeasible given the system’s location.

Here is a list of questions you should be prepared to answer before the inspection begins:

  • Is it possible that the system has ever been pumped? This one is significant since it is the only genuine maintenance issue that the seller would be required to have completed
  • It is also the most expensive. The seller’s knowledge of the location of the septic system is critical because if the seller does not know where the septic system is located, it is doubtful that they have performed continuous maintenance. Septic System Location Map – Regardless of whatever institution is in charge of supervising septic systems in your region, they should have a map of the septic system location given by the original home builder on hand. This is a critical piece of documentation for the septic inspection. It should not only display the position of the tank, but also the location of the leach field and the number of leaching Chambers
  • If there is any available history on the system’s maintenance – for example, something like:
  • The frequency at which the system has been pumped
  • What type of contractor was employed
  • Obtain any maintenance records that may exist
  • Have there been any issues
  • If so, have they been resolved?
  • Where have all the covers gone? -Manhole coverings should be installed over the tank’s chambers to prevent water from entering the tank. This will be the method through which the technician will get access to the tank in order to test and/or clean it.

Putting together this information will serve two purposes: first, it will assist the technician who will be inspecting the system in knowing what to check for, and second, it will provide you with an understanding of how the house seller maintained the system.

The On Site Inspection

After arriving at the residence, the technician will attempt to determine whether or not the sanitary pipe used to transport liquid to the system is functional and in good working order by conducting a flow test on the pipe. As part of this test, you will need to turn on all of your water faucets in your home to add or charge your system with enough water to sustain as many people as the system was designed to support for 24 hours, which is often several hundred gallons. If there is little or no water flowing into the tank, it is likely that there is an issue with the plumbing in the residence or with the sanitary line that has to be addressed.

  • If this is the case, an asewer line inspection may be required for the line.
  • The opposite is true if the water in the tank rises rapidly, which indicates that a problem is occurring downstream.
  • The flow test is the most important phase of the septic system inspection because it examines so many different parts of the system and ensures that the liquids are going through the system in the proper direction as intended.
  • A significant percentage of those solids will convert into sludge and settle at the bottom of the tank, even though it is intended that they remain in the tank until they are pumped out.
  • Once this is completed, they resume pumping the tank until they reach the underlying sludge layer, at which time they take another reading.
  • If this is not the case, the technician will be on the lookout for larger difficulties in the leach field at a later stage.
  • It is critical to keep the sediments and scum out of the distribution area and leach field to avoid contamination.

The leach field will be the final place that the technician will inspect.

They will be looking for any moist locations where water may be lingering, as well as smelling for any nasty orders that may have been generated by difficulties.

if the probe holes rapidly fill with water, it is quite likely that there is a malfunction with the system The distribution box of a septic system is another location of possible failure in a septic system.

Settlement or blockage of the distribution box are the most common causes of distribution box problems.

As you can see, there is a vast range of possible issues that might arise with a private home septic system, which you should be aware of.

Over 10% of all systems back up into homes or have wastewater seeping through the ground surface, according to data from the United States Census Bureau collected in 1995.

The United States Census Bureau conducted a survey in 1995.

You want to find out if there are any possible concerns with the property before you close on it. Including the testing of the septic system in the inspection process gives you the opportunity to engage the house seller in any later repairs through the use of an inspection objection contingency.

Additional Resources

  • Bill Gassett discusses the Massachusetts Title 5 Septic System Law
  • Luke Skar discusses home inspection tips for buyers. Find out how to analyze home inspection priorities with the help of the Shelhamer Group. The Ultimate Home Buyers Timeline – Danny Margagliano
  • The Ultimate Home Buyers Timeline

Why is a Septic Inspection Important when Buying a Home?

Most modern septic systems have a useful life of roughly 25 years. Because you can typically extend the lifespan of your home’s septic system by arranging a routine septic inspection and making repairs as required, scheduling a routine septic inspection and making repairs as needed is a good idea. You should know what a septic inspection is and why it is such an important step in the real estate transaction if you are considering buying or selling property with a sewer system. If you are considering buying or selling property with a septic system, you should know what a septic inspection entails and why it is such an important step in the real estate transaction.

What is a septic inspection?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than one in every five residences in the United States is equipped with a septic system of their own. Your toilet, shower, sinks, and washing machines all produce wastewater that must be treated and disposed of by these systems. Despite the fact that they are built for long-term durability, structural difficulties in septic systems can emerge. The most prevalent of these problems include obstructions in plumbing or blocked parts of the drainfield, among other things.

As a result, after submitting an offer on a property, house buyers generally employ a third-party pre-sale inspection to assess the septic system.

Using the services of an authorized septic inspection firm is required in order to examine your septic system in an appropriate and safe manner.

See also:  What Breaks Down Sewage In A Septic Tank? (TOP 5 Tips)

What happens during a septic inspection?

A septic inspection will take place depending on the sort of septic inspection you have paid for (don’t worry, we’ll go over this in more detail later). Most septic inspections, on the other hand, will begin with a visual examination of your septic tank, followed by a simple loading and dye test. In the course of the visual examination, an inspector will get access to your septic system by opening the manhole in your septic tank and capturing many high-resolution photographs of the interior. It is necessary to do a loading and dye test in order to determine whether any dye-treated wastewater has leaked into your septic system and to investigate the area surrounding the tank for any dye-treated wastewater leaks.

You may save money by opting for a more complete septic inspection, which will give the inspector enough time to examine your septic system from top to bottom. This includes everything from the electrical components and mechanical plumbing to the effluent filters and scum and sludge levels.

How often should you schedule a septic inspection?

Our recommendation is that you get your septic system tested at least once every five years if you want to increase your chances of spotting any problems early on. During this same time period, you should also contact a septic tank and drainfield pumping provider to have your tank and drainfield cleaned.

Types of Septic Inspections

It is possible to choose between four distinct septic inspection levels, which range from a simple visual examination to a comprehensive pumping, soil, and engineering evaluation. While higher-grade septic inspections are more expensive and time-consuming, they are your best bet for detecting faults with the system’s performance or possible risks at an early stage. We’ve included a brief description of each sort of inspection level below to help you have a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Level 0 Septic Inspection

Level 0 septic inspections, also known as visual-only inspections, can be done by a professional home inspector and consist of a visual examination of the septic system, as well as, in certain situations, a rapid loading and dye test, among other things. Important: Please keep in mind that certain communities do not permit home inspectors to work on or examine septic systems; if this is the case in your community, you will need to contact a professional, third-party septic contractor for assistance.

Level 1 Septic Inspections

The effluent screens and waste pipes will be assessed only to a limited extent during a level 1 septic inspection performed by a septic inspector. For example, in some states, state law mandates that all waste must be removed from the septic tank prior to doing a level 1 examination.

Level 2 Septic Inspections

A level 2 septic inspection entails a detailed examination of the conditions inside your septic tank, as well as the surrounding area. Apart from checking the thickness of the scum layer that forms over the effluent, they will also look for leaks or cracks in the distribution boxes that carry the sewage. The rigors of a level 2 inspection necessitate the requirement that the tank be pumped prior to the inspection by practically all level 2 septic companies.

Level 3 Septic Inspections

A level 3 septic inspection is the most in-depth form of examination available on the market right now. Level 3 inspectors will look at the soil conditions around the septic leaching area and drainfield in addition to everything else that was covered in the previous levels of inspection (levels 0, 1, and 2).

Who pays for the septic inspections?

Septic inspections are similarly priced to building and pest inspections, with the expense of the inspection being borne by the prospective buyer. While particular fees can vary depending on your region and the degree of inspection you choose, the majority of purchasers should anticipate to pay between $260 and $420 for a septic inspection performed by a qualified septic specialist in the majority of cases.

Should you get septic inspections when buying a house?

Absolutely! In order to provide purchasers (or current homeowners) with accurate information regarding the general state of a home’s septic system, septic inspections are performed on an annual basis or as needed. Keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Septic system problems may be identified early, which can save you thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs. If at all feasible, you should schedule your septic inspections at the same time as the general property inspection to ensure that you are aware of any concerns with the plumbing or septic system prior to finalizing the transaction.

By arranging both inspections within a short period of time, you’ll reduce the likelihood of inspection-related complications delaying the finalization of closing talks. When agents compete for your business, you win. A member of the UpNest team can assist you with your septic inspection.

Ready to Buy? Connect With an UpNest Partner Agent Today!

If you’re considering purchasing a home that includes an integrated septic system, there are a few considerations to bear in mind. To be on the safe side, you’ll want to know how old the system is and when it was last examined, as well as if it has ever required repairs or encountered any standing water problems in the past. This is a lot of information to keep track of while you’re looking for a home, and it may be overwhelming. You should consult with an expert UpNest partner agent if you want to be sure you’re receiving the complete picture and that your interests as a buyer are being adequately represented.

  • You will be guided through every stage of the home-buying process by your buyer’s agent, from negotiating closing fees to contacting septic inspection firms once you have chosen UpNest as your real estate partner.
  • UpNesti is a free service that helps house sellers and buyers identify the most qualified real estate agents in their area.
  • Our agents have been thoroughly verified and frequently provide reasonable commission rates that are lower than the industry average to UpNest clients.
  • You may get started right now by entering your zipcode in the box below!
  • Septic systems operate by separating waste into three layers: solids, effluent, and scum.
  • Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them.
  • What are the differences between the two types of septic systems?
  • There are two types of septic systems: conventional septic systems and alternative septic systems.

Septic Inspections: 6 Questions You Need to Ask

You might be wondering why you would need a septic check before you put your house on the market. Alternatively, are you purchasing a new home that has a septic system? Get professional information on septic systems and collaborate with a seasoned real estate agent throughout the process. Prospective home buyers typically engage an inspector to do a thorough assessment of the property before making an offer on it. The examination will typically involve a visual evaluation of the house’s structure as well as a search for pests.

Septic inspections are extremely important for your health and the health of anybody else who lives in your house, so homeowners should make a point of scheduling them on a regular basis.

In case you are buying or selling a home, the septic inspection will be an important part of the process. Here is all you need to know about it.

Need help in the home selling process?

An experienced Partner Agent can assist you in navigating the choppy waters of business.

What is a septic system?

One in every five homes in the United States is equipped with a septic system, yet you’d be shocked how many people are unaware of what they are. A septic system is a system that is designed to remove waste from a home or building. During normal operation, it collects and filters water and garbage from the washer, sinks, showers, and toilets before returning it to the sink. The mechanism then re-distributes the energy back into the earth. The entire procedure contributes to the reduction of water and soil pollution.

The septic tank is where the water and trash from the residence are disposed of.

The liquid rises to the top of the container and passes through an absorption zone.

A layer of gravel serves as a drain field, allowing water to pass through it before entering the soil.

How often should you get a septic inspection?

A septic tank inspection is recommended at least once every three to five years, according to the majority of professionals. The examination normally takes place around the same time that you should have your septic tank pumped by a professional septic tank cleaning provider. In order to keep your septic tank healthy and in excellent functioning order, it is required to pump it regularly. Even though professionals recommend that homeowners get their septic tanks tested every five years, many homeowners wait considerably longer than this period.

At that point, inspectors will frequently recommend that you repair or replace your septic system, which can cost thousands of dollars if not done properly.

It can cost as much as $25,000, depending on the location of the system and the terrain of the land where the new system is being installed on the new system.

How is a septic inspection done?

Septic inspections may be divided into two categories.

Visual Inspections

If you are buying or selling a home, the home inspector will most likely do a visual assessment of the property. In order to do a visual examination, a few questions must be asked, such as the age of the house, how often the owner pumps the septic system, and when the previous inspection was performed. The inspector will next flush all of the toilets in the house and run all of the water in the house to ensure that the water pressure is enough and that everything is draining correctly. At the end of the inspection, the inspector will walk out to the drain field to ensure that there is no standing water, which might indicate the presence of a cesspool.

Even though a visual examination is convenient and quick, a comprehensive inspection may provide you with a more complete picture of the overall condition of the septic system.

Full Inspections

A thorough inspection contains all that a visual inspection does, but it also goes above and beyond that level of service. This is the inspection you’ll want to have done every three to five years, at the absolute least. Inspectors will remove the lid from the septic tank and assess the amount of water in the tank during a comprehensive examination. The level of the water might indicate whether or not the water is draining adequately. The inspector will next run water through the home to ensure that it is correctly draining from the house to the septic tank and that the water level within the tank does not rise as a result of the additional water being introduced into the system.

Dye tests are conducted to determine how much dye is incorporated into the water that is draining and how much of it makes its way into the sewage treatment plant.

Inspecting the backflow level will reveal whether or not there is an issue with your drain field.

How much do septic inspections cost?

The cost of a septic inspection varies based on the level of detail with which they check the tank and the size of the tank, but for a 1,000-1,500 gallon tank, a comprehensive examination normally costs $300 to $600. Remember to inquire with your local health department to see if they provide inspections at a reduced rate. Keep in mind that the cost of evaluating your septic system may vary depending on who or what firm is doing the inspection. In certain areas (such as Texas), you are not need to obtain a license or certification order in order to examine sewage treatment plants.

A license in a number of sectors, both within their state and on a national level, will be held by the most competent inspectors.

How long do septic systems last?

Septic systems may endure for up to 25 years — and in some circumstances, indefinitely — depending on the conditions. Maintaining the system is critical to its overall performance and reliability. If you get your concrete septic tank inspected on a regular basis and make repairs as needed, it can endure for a lifetime or even longer.

Should I repair or replace my septic system?

Here are a couple of things to keep an eye out for.

Puddles in Your Yard

A smart option is to have an inspector come out and assess your septic system if there is any standing water in your yard over your septic system. Take precautions to keep yourself and your animals away from the water, since it may be contaminated with hazardous substances.

Backups

Having a significant number of plumbing backups is a symptom that something is wrong with your septic system.

It might be anything as simple as a small repair or as complex as a complete tank replacement, among other things. In either case, an inspector will be required to determine the situation.

Healthy Grass

If the grass over your septic area is greener than the grass in other sections of your yard, it’s time to get your septic system inspected and cleaned. In the event that a septic system begins to fail, it releases more water into the ground, which might benefit your plant life but can also be hazardous to human health.

Results of an Inspection

Unless your assessment reveals tainted well water or irreversible damage to the septic tank itself, you will almost certainly need to replace your system.

How to Maintain Your Septic System

Tampons, paper towels, baby wipes, and any other foreign materials that cannot break down readily in your septic system should never be flushed down the toilet to ensure that your septic system lasts as long as possible. If you have a garbage disposal, use it to help break down any food that would otherwise block the pipes in your home. Make sure you never throw oil down the sink since it might clog up the septic tank and cause it to overflow. Try to choose a laundry detergent that is also safe to use with septic systems.

You should make certain that your sump pump is not connected to your septic system before starting.

Selling a House with a Septic System

Some counties do not need a septic examination prior to a home sale, however others demand a thorough investigation before a home sale. Check with your county’s health department to see whether you are required to have a septic examination performed prior to selling your home. Completing your own pre-inspection might also assist you in identifying any potential problems. If the seller is aware of any concerns with the septic system, the law compels them to provide this information to the buyer before closing.

Both sellers and purchasers are perplexed as to who is ultimately responsible for repairing damage to the septic system.

Buying a House with a Septic System

Purchasing a home with a septic system necessitates answering a few questions. Here are some of the most important:

  • What is the age of the house
  • When was the last time you had your septic tank examined and pumped? Have you had any septic tank back-ups or standing water problems? Whether or if the septic tank has been repaired is unclear.

In addition, you’ll want to make certain that a third-party inspector does a comprehensive examination. When hiring an inspector, it may be tempting to hire someone who will go through the inspection fast and sign off with a gold star. However, you may end yourself acquiring a property that has a slew of issues down the future as a result of this decision. If you want assistance in locating a reputable inspector, your realtor will most likely be able to provide suggestions. In general, septic systems are quite efficient, as long as they are properly maintained.

See also:  How Often Should You Service Your Septic Tank? (TOP 5 Tips)

You may also keep it in good condition by not flushing any non-biodegradable or harmful substances down your toilet.

Instead of doing it yourself, why not consult with a professional? For a nominal flat fee, experienced real estate agents can assist you in making the selling process as painless as possible. To get started, please call us at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form today.

Related Articles

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Septic systems must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid complications.
  3. Their job will be to search for leaks and blockages, identifying possible problems before they become major ones.
  4. It is recommended that you ask to examine the tank’s inspection history before purchasing a house with a septic tank.
  5. You must have a general understanding of the septic tank’s technical parameters.
  6. Additionally, you must be aware of the date it was installed, because septic tanks may need to be updated every 20-40 years.
  7. 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.

Septic Inspections When Buying or Selling a Home

You could be perplexed as to why you might want an aseptic examination before selling your house. Alternatively, are you purchasing a new home that has a septic system? Get professional information on septic systems and collaborate with a seasoned real estate agent throughout the process. Prospective home buyers typically engage an inspector to do a thorough assessment of the property before making an offer on it. The examination will typically involve a visual evaluation of the house’s structure as well as a search for pests.

Septic inspections are extremely important for your health and the health of anybody else who lives in your house, so homeowners should make a point of scheduling them on a regular basis.

In case you are buying or selling a home, the septic inspection will be an important part of the process.

What is a septic system?

One in every five homes in the United States is equipped with a septic system, yet you’d be shocked how many people are unaware of what they are. A septic system is a system that is designed to remove waste from a home or building. During normal operation, it collects and filters water and garbage from the washer, sinks, showers, and toilets before returning it to the sink. The mechanism then re-distributes the energy back into the earth. The entire procedure contributes to the reduction of water and soil pollution.

How often should you get a septic inspection?

The majority of specialists agree that you should get your septic tank examined at least once every three to five years. The examination normally takes place around the same time that you should have your septic tank pumped by a professional septic tank cleaning provider. In order to keep your septic tank healthy and in excellent functioning order, it is required to pump it regularly. Even though professionals recommend that homeowners get their septic tanks tested every five years, many homeowners wait considerably longer than this period.

At that point, inspectors will frequently recommend that you repair or replace your septic system, which can cost thousands of dollars if not done properly.

How is a septic inspection done?

Septic inspections may be divided into two categories.

Visual Inspections

If you are buying or selling a home, the home inspector will most likely do a visual assessment of the property. In order to do a visual examination, a few questions must be asked, such as the age of the house, how often the owner pumps the septic system, and when the previous inspection was performed. The inspector will next flush all of the toilets in the house and run all of the water in the house to ensure that the water pressure is enough and that everything is draining correctly. At the end of the inspection, the inspector will walk out to the drain field to ensure that there is no standing water, which might indicate the presence of a cesspool.

Even though a visual examination is convenient and quick, a comprehensive inspection may provide you with a more complete picture of the overall condition of the septic system.

Full Inspections

A thorough inspection contains all that a visual inspection does, but it also goes above and beyond that level of service. This is the inspection you’ll want to have done every three to five years, at the absolute least. Inspectors will remove the lid from the septic tank and assess the amount of water in the tank during a comprehensive examination. The level of the water might indicate whether or not the water is draining adequately. The inspector will next run water through the home to ensure that it is correctly draining from the house to the septic tank and that the water level within the tank does not rise as a result of the additional water being introduced into the system.

Dye tests are conducted to determine how much dye is incorporated into the water that is draining and how much of it makes its way into the sewage treatment plant.

Inspecting the backflow level will reveal whether or not there is an issue with your drain field.

Morse Engineering and Construction can provide you with further information.

A Septic System Inspection Should Be Done How Often?! Costs, Precautions, and More

You may have put off, and then put off again, a septic system check as one of those home maintenance duties. Because septic systems are located underground in the backyard, they are frequently out of sight and, thus, out of mind. However, allowing it to go through too many flushes without inspecting it might result in some serious issues if the system fails. Additionally, if you want to sell your property, you will need to have your septic system inspected. Even if you haven’t decided whether or not to sell your home, maintaining your septic system in good working order will save you thousands of dollars in repair costs if something goes wrong with it.

How often should you get a septic system inspection?

According to experts, you should get your septic system inspected every three years. However, here’s a dose of realism to consider: According to Alex Glaser, a real estate agent in Richmond, Virginia, most homeowners do not get their septic systems tested until there is a significant problem with them. However, this means that residents only receive an inspection when concerns that might indicate major problems develop, such as when the toilet backs up, water takes an excessive amount of time to drain, or there is a septic system leak in the first place.

Additionally, three years is the maximum length of time you should allow your septic system to continue without being emptied out of the system.

Keeping your septic system in good working order is especially crucial if you intend to sell the house. A verified inspection will be completed throughout the closing process, and you don’t want any surprises at the last minute.

Who should perform a septic system inspection?

For the examination, you’ll want to employ a reputable septic contractor with extensive experience. According to Robert Boudreau of Metro-West Appraisal and Home Inspections in Detroit, general home inspectors only perform a limited, visual check of the septic system at the time of the inspection. In addition to looking for cracks in the tank, which are indicated by a low level of liquid, a septic contractor will measure the quantity of solids contained within the tank, using a device known as a “sludge judge,” and examine for any ground contamination.

How much does a septic system inspection cost?

Prices vary depending on how thorough the septic examination is performed as well as the tank capacity, which is typically between 1,000 or 1,500 gallons. However, according to Boudreau, a simple septic system assessment normally costs between $300 and $600. You may also inquire with your local health department to see whether the department offers inspections at a discounted rate for a fee.

Is the home seller or buyer obligated to get an inspection?

Because of where you reside, the person who is responsible for doing the inspection is determined. It is the purchasers’ obligation to manage inspections throughout their option period in places such as South Carolina and Texas, and this is considered part of their due diligence, unless otherwise agreed upon. In Central Virginia, the normal purchase agreement contract specifies that it is the obligation of the house seller to have the septic system examined within 30 days of the closing date of the transaction.

Finally, inquire with your local real estate agent about your responsibilities in regards to the septic system inspection.

Is the seller obligated to fix any septic problems?

In most cases, the seller is responsible for the cost of septic system repairs. Repairs of any sort discovered during the inspection, on the other hand, are usually negotiable. Sellers usually have a limited number of options when it comes to making repairs, but they may be able to do so by performing the repairs themselves, splitting repair costs with the buyer, providing the buyer with a closing credit equal to the amount of the repairs, or simply refusing to do anything. If no agreement on repairs can be reached, the buyer has the legal right to walk away from the sale at any time.

Don’t forget about disclosure

Prospective purchasers are entitled to know about any known faults with a house if the seller discloses them to them in all states. If there is a septic problem after the closing that the sellers were aware of, they will be accountable for the whole cost of the repairs, plus interest. As a result, according to Jerry Grodesky, managing broker at Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate in Loda, IL, it is best practice for all sellers to do their own septic system examination.

This manner, he continues, “the seller is safeguarded from any potential septic concerns that may arise after the closing.”

Buying a House? Make Sure You Get a Septic System Inspection!

If you are in the process of purchasing a home, you are aware that there are several phases involved in the process. You put money together for a down payment, go to open houses, chat to sellers and real estate agents, and ultimately discover a place you love to call home. The exciting part is about to begin. There are several steps involved: making an offer, getting pre-approval, scheduling a home inspection, and eventually, after heaps of paperwork, claiming ownership of the property. But hold on a minute!

  • You might be asking why you would need to get your septic system inspected.
  • Septic systems that are in poor working order can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair or replace.
  • When a roof leak occurs or a break in the foundation occurs, you would want to be aware of the situation.
  • “All OK, but I’ve already completed a house inspection and a dye test.” “Doesn’t that suffice?” While these inspections may be sufficient to meet the criteria of a lender, they are insufficient to provide a full evaluation of a septic system.

What is a septic system inspection?

Performing a septic system inspection entails a thorough examination of all of the components of a septic system. The inspector will determine the location and condition of the septic tank, distribution box, and absorption area and make recommendations. In this process, he will uncover and evaluate all of the mechanical and electrical components of the system, including septic lines, baffles and filters, pumps and floats, alarms, and so on. During the inspection, he will open the septic tank (digging up the lids, if required) in order to check the wastewater sources from the home to the septic tank and physically inspect the septic tank at its operational level, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

If the home has been vacant for an extended period of time or if the number of people living in the home is expected to increase, the inspector will conduct a hydraulic load test to determine whether the septic system’s absorption area is capable of handling the anticipated daily wastewater volume of the home buyer’s family.

For septic systems in Pennsylvania, this implies that the inspector must have received training and certification from the Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA), which has created a set of requirements for an objective septic system assessment.

Each PSMA septic system inspection finishes with the delivery of a thorough report.

However, while this analysis does not provide a guarantee, the findings drawn from it may be able to save you thousands of dollars in septic system repairs or replacement.

If you do not have a PSMA inspection and report, you run the danger of inheriting the financial burden of substantial septic system repairs or perhaps the installation of a whole new system completely.

Septic System Inspection vs. Home Inspection

Inspections of the inside and exterior of a home are performed by professionals who are well-versed in the identification of typical faults. They will inform you if there are any evident issues with the roof, windows, electrical system, interior plumbing, foundation, or any other visible components of the house. A house inspection, on the other hand, is just a visual assessment that is non-invasive. Consequently, house inspectors only report on the components of the home that they can physically see, and nothing else.

  • This implies that the septic system is not included in the scope of a standard house inspection.
  • There is a good chance that they may flush the toilets a few times to ensure that the system is not actively backing up, and they may even remove the cover from the septic tank (if they can find it).
  • How can a home inspector tell you what condition your septic tank is in if there isn’t a pump truck available to empty it?
  • Despite the fact that home inspectors are well-versed in many aspects of the property, they are neither equipped nor prepared to conduct a thorough examination of a septic system.
  • Rely on a PSMA inspector that specializes in septic systems to provide you with the most thorough and insightful septic system inspection available.
See also:  What Is A Leach Field For A Septic Tank? (Question)

Septic System Inspection vs. Dye Test

Dyes are used in a dye test to check that wastewater is appropriately routed into the septic tank and not elsewhere on the land. Dyes are brightly colored and non-toxic, and they are safe to use. In layman’s terms, a dye test demonstrates that water can travel from point A to point B. At the time of a dye test, a technician will flush dye tablets down the toilet and down the drain, check to verify that the right wastewater sources are entering the septic tank, and walk about the property looking for dye.

In the absence of a dye test, it is impossible to determine the size or condition of a septic tank.

Dye tests provide little information on the operation of critical septic system components such as baffles, pumps, floats, and alarms, among others.

When purchasing a property, don’t take a chance on a future filled with septic system failures and expensive repairs.

For a complete septic system inspection, rely on the PSMA-certified inspectors at Hapchuk, Inc. to conduct the work for you. Our professionals will supply you with all of the information and help you want in order to confidently acquire a house that has a septic system installed.

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.

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 conventional septic system. Conventional systems treat wastewater using a combination 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 scenarios where it might not be feasible to install a conventional system. For instance, if space is an issue, it might not be possible to establish the recommended distance between the leach field and the water well.

This is where advanced septic systems come in.

Because these systems have advanced components, they might also need more care and maintenance than their conventional counterparts.

You may also have to replace some equipment.

You also need to check the pump for air bubbles. As you may have guessed, this will attract an additional cost. Knowing whether the property has a conventional or an advanced septic system will help you to know what will be expected of you as the 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.

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.

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.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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