What Is It Like To Have A House With A Septic Tank? (Solution)

  • All water runs out of your house from one main drainage pipe into a septic tank. The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum.

Is it bad to have a septic tank?

One of the biggest disadvantages of septic systems are the hassles that comes with sewage backup, which is generally a sign of clogging in the tank or drain field pipes. When backups occur, the problem is more serious than a simple household drain clog because the obstruction won’t be found just inches down the drain.

What are the disadvantages of a septic tank?


  • Maintenance costs $300-$600 every few years (which can still be cheaper than municipal sewer).
  • It can cause groundwater contamination if the system leaks.
  • If not maintained, you can have a costly mess on your hands.
  • Septic tanks will eventually need to be replaced.

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

More cost efficient – Extensive sewer lines are very expensive to build and maintain. On the other hand, a septic tank is cheaper to install and doesn’t come with monthly maintenance costs. Durability – When properly maintained, a septic tank rarely needs to be replaced.

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 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.

Does shower water go to septic tank?

From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.

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.

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.

Can I sell my 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 many loads of laundry a day are safe to do with a septic tank?

Spread Out Laundry Loads These use less water which puts less stress on your septic system. Regardless of the type of appliance you have, you should still spread out your loads. Instead of doing several loads in one day, consider doing 1 load per day or space out 2 loads if you must do more in a single day.

What to do after septic is pumped?

After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.

  1. 1) Get on a Schedule.
  2. 2) Take Care of the System.
  3. 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
  4. 4) Check Other Possible Issues.

What are pros for a septic tank?

Advantages of septic systems

  • Easier on the environment. Regular sewer lines can sometimes leak raw sewage into the ground, contaminating our ground water.
  • Economical. Having a septic system can save you a lot of money.
  • Lower maintenance.
  • Long life expectancy.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Tree roots.
  • Water tables.
  • Disposal.

How do you maintain a septic tank?

Do’s and Don’ts when maintaining your septic system

  1. Regularly inspect and maintain your septic system.
  2. Pump your septic tank as needed.
  3. Keep your septic tank lids closed and secured.
  4. Be water-wise.
  5. Direct water from land and roof drains away from the drainfield.
  6. Landscape with love.
  7. Keep septic tank lids easily accessible.

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.

Does every house have a septic tank?

A septic tank is a crucial part of a home’s septic system. In the U.S., about 20% of homes use a septic system to manage their wastewater. Septic systems are most commonly found in the Eastern U.S., with homes in rural areas of New England being the most likely to have a septic system present.

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

Published in February of this year A septic tank is one of those property features that might make prospective purchasers feel uneasy. A septic tank is a component of a home’s wastewater system that is often found in homes that are not served by municipal sewers. Instead, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, these stand-alone systems are meant to dispose of and treat the wastewater generated by a residence on their own (EPA). For anyone contemplating purchasing a property with a septic system, here are some often asked questions and answers to consider:


Protect your assets and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having Allstate insurance coverage. Request a quote Locate a representative.

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:

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 managed, should survive 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 tested and the tank drained out. Consult with your local health authorities to find out what they recommend for your particular location of the country. What can I put in my septic tank to make it work better? The hope is that just your greywater and blackwater will enter your septic system.

  1. Is it necessary for them to dig up my lawn in order to pump my septic tank?
  2. In spite of the fact that this will only be a tiny portion of your yard and not the complete thing, Is it necessary for my septic system to use chemicals such as Rid-X?
  3. A well managed system has all of the components necessary to break down materials and sustain a healthy septic flora.
  4. The usage of chemicals in your septic tank is only recommended after this point, according to specialists.
  5. Is it permissible to grow anything over my drain field?
  6. The root systems of trees and bushes have the potential to cause harm to subsurface pipelines.

In addition, polluted vegetable gardens might result from the drainage system. Native plants may be used to landscape over and around a septic drain field, which is a suitable use of the available area in this case.

Should You Avoid a House With a Septic System?

Real estate has traditionally been the preferred investment for people seeking to accumulate long-term wealth for their families and future generations. By subscribing to our complete real estate investment guide, you will receive assistance in navigating this asset class. Whenever you have solid waste in your house, the solution is straightforward: throw it in the trash or compost it. But what about garbage that is liquid in nature? Everyone’s house generates a certain amount of wastewater, and when it comes to disposing of it, there are typically two options: a public sewage line or an on-site septic system.

See also:  How To Locate A Septic Tank, South Carolina? (Best solution)

Even if you’re buying a property with well water, you should consider installing a septic system to keep the water clean.

Or is it a decision you’re more likely than not going to come to regret, whether you’re buying a home for yourself or as an investment in the future?

What is a septic system?

Sewage systems remove wastewater from your house and channel it via a sewer line to be treated at a treatment center. The water is then treated at that facility to remove impurities and make it safe to drink, after which it is returned to the local water system that serves your house and neighborhood. According to the design of a traditional septic system, all of the wastewater that must be removed from your home is routed down a drainage pipe and into an underground septic tank. Septic tanks may be composed of several materials including concrete, fiberglass, and other composite materials.

Solids are allowed to settle to the bottom and form a scum layer.

From there, wastewater is dumped through pipelines into the surrounding soil, where it might filter through.

When you have a sewage system, you will often have a large number of residences that all feed into the same system.

Types of septic systems

In the event that you are unfamiliar with septic tank installation, you can select from a number of various options:

  1. An example of a traditional septic system is the one mentioned above, which is comprised of a septic tank and drain field. A chamber system is a fantastic option if you live in a wet climate with inadequate drainage. A chamber system is characterized by a succession of pipelines and chambers that are surrounded by dirt. Microbes in that soil treat wastewater before it is discharged into the environment. The maintenance of chamber systems may be more extensive than that of traditional sewage treatment systems. An aerobic system introduces oxygen into the septic tank, which aids in the addition of nutrients to the water, which is beneficial as the tank begins to empty. Again, the amount of maintenance required here may be more than that required by a traditional system. A drip distribution system, as opposed to a conventional drain field, involves the placement of pipes in shallow ground soil to transport treated water away. This reduces the need for substantial digging, which is necessary when constructing a drain field. Drip distribution systems, on the other hand, might be more expensive to construct and may need additional maintenance. A sand filter system is simply a huge box packed with sand that water passes through before being filtered out by the system. Sand systems, like chamber systems, are useful in regions where the water level is naturally high and drainage is inadequate
  2. However, the maintenance required can be more extensive than with chamber systems.

Benefits of a septic system

When you own a septic system, you are responsible for keeping it in good working order. Aside from the financial implications, this might be a positive development because it implies you can avoid difficulties by keeping up with your maintenance. With a municipal sewer system, a sewer pipe can leak or back up, and if the problem is not fixed immediately, you might find yourself with a severe problem on your hands, even if you were not the one who caused the problem. Furthermore, there is usually a price associated with utilizing a public sewer system; often, you will be charged a monthly or quarterly fee.

Moreover, when building a new home from the ground up, it is generally less expensive to install a septic system than it is to pay to have sewer lines installed – this is especially true when your home is located in an area where setting up a sewer connection would necessitate a significant amount of infrastructure investment.

The way septic tanks discharge water into the surrounding soil can encourage plant development, which is beneficial to the environment.

Finally, septic systems have the potential to survive for a very long time if they are designed properly and maintained regularly throughout time. Septic systems have an average life expectancy of 25 to 30 years provided they are properly maintained and serviced.

Drawbacks of a septic system

A septic system, on the other hand, has various drawbacks and costs that you may have to bear in mind while installing one. Aside from the fact that septic systems need to be maintained, You’ll need to pump out your septic tank every three years (or more frequently if necessary) to keep sludge accumulation from becoming too large. The exact timing will be determined on the size of your tank. In addition, you should have your septic system inspected once or twice a year to verify that it is in proper operating condition.

For the most part, this implies that you’re restricted to flushing just human waste and toilet paper into the toilet.

  • Items such as paper towels that are thick and absorbent, feminine products, cooking oil or grease, baby wipes, and household chemicals

A septic system also means that you won’t be able to install a garbage disposal under your kitchen sink, because even though that disposal will grind up items to prevent clogged pipes, you don’t want to take the chance that those items will make their way into your septic system and cause an unhealthy buildup. Additionally, when you have a septic system, there are additional landscaping issues to take into mind. In particular, you must avoid planting trees exactly next to your septic system’s drain field; otherwise, the roots of the trees might grow into the drain field and cause the system to cease functioning correctly.

The bottom line on septic systems

A septic system often provides you with the ability to purchase property that has greater acreage and to reap the benefits that come along with that decision. If you’re looking to buy a home as an investment, the presence of additional land might be a significant selling feature. Be careful you understand the type and frequency of maintenance that will be required to keep your septic system up and running. The last thing you want is to find yourself with a pricey situation on your hands that is difficult to resolve.

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.

  • In this case, modern septic systems come into play.
  • Because these systems contain complex components, they may necessitate more attention and maintenance than their more traditional equivalents in the future.
  • It’s possible that you’ll have to replace some equipment as well.
  • In addition, you should inspect the pump for air bubbles.
  • 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.

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.

See also:  How To Increase Decomposition In Septic Tank? (Correct answer)

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.

Should You Buy a House with a Septic Tank? Septic Tank 101 (updated:February 2022)

Is it a problem that my house has a septic tank? If you grew up in a house that was connected to the city sewer system, a home with a septic tank and septic system will appear a little strange at first. However, as you get used to it, you’ll be able to tell the difference. However, it is not the end of the world if you understand a few basic concepts first.

Especially in remote locations where there isn’t the infrastructure for a comprehensive water treatment system, this is a fairly prevalent situation. In such case, here is our guide on owning a home that includes a septic tank and septic systems:

What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is a type of wastewater treatment system that is installed in your home. Essentially, it is a tank composed of concrete, polyethylene (hard plastic), or fiberglass that is used to collect all of the liquids and garbage generated by a family. The water that flows from your sink, toilet, bathtub or washing machine will pass through your tank as it goes down the drain. The liquid is then periodically emptied from the concrete septic tank, either by a pump in the home (which only removes liquid) or through the use of a septic truck, which removes both liquid and trash.

How do I know if I have a septic tank?

Aseptic tanks and cesspools are the most likely options if you don’t have a sewage line hookup in your home or business. The capacity of this tank may range from 750 to 1315 gallons. The distinction between cesspools and septic tank systems is important to understand since cesspools are often older and will have more issues to address when purchasing a home with a cesspool.

What is the purpose of a septic tank?

Septic tanks, similar to acesspooldoes, are designed to collect all of the liquid waste and matter generated by a house when a sewer connection is not accessible to the home. The septic tank keeps the material until it is drained out by a septic truck or until the greywater is pumped out to a septic field or drain field, depending on how it was constructed. This is a region where the greywater from the home is returned to the water table for an extended length of time, usually many months.

How does a septic tank work?

The following is an explanation of how a septic tank works. The septic tank is the final destination of everything that goes down the drain in your home. In the same way that waste from a sewage system would end up in a septic tank, any liquids or solids that flow through your washing machine, dishwasher, toilet, bath, shower, or trash disposal end up in your septic tank. The water that flows down your drain pipes passes via your septic tank and drainage field. The difference between this and a septic tank system is that they all end up in the same tank ultimately and don’t go anyplace until much later in the system’s lifespan.

Seepage is the term used to describe the combination of the three factors mentioned above.

While the sludge settles and scum builds on the surface of the liquid, the liquid is transferred to a secondary compartment.

What are the contents of a septic tank?

Wastewater, sludge, and scum are the three types of materials that go into the tank. The sewage from the home is channeled into the tank, where the solids settle to the bottom and the scum rises to the surface; this scum seems just as you would expect it to. it appears to be scum. Septic tank effluent is the liquid wastewater contained within the middle compartment, which eventually drains into a second compartment and finally onto your leach field after passing through your leach field filter (drainage field, or septic field, depending on where you live).

You will need to pump your tank on a regular basis; how frequently you pump will depend on the size of your tank and the configuration. More information about septic tank pumping may be found here.

Septic Tank Diagram

This diagram will provide you with a better understanding of how a normal septic system operates.

How much does a septic tank cost?

The cost of installing a typical septic tank will vary depending on the size of the tank. Tank and system prices normally vary between $4,000 and $10,000, although prices can climb significantly depending on the circumstances.

What about solid waste?

During their stay in the tank, the solids decompose, but over time, they accumulate and accumulate further. As the tank fills up, you will need to call a septic truck to come out and pump out the tank, which will cost you money. This can be every week for some homes who do not have a way to dispose of their wastewater into a drain field, once a year for others, or even every three to four years depending on usage, circumstance, and the size of the tank.

Can you flush toilet paper in a septic tank?

If you have a flush toilet, you may flush toilet paper down into the tank. But that’s all there is to it. When you have a tank toilet, you cannot flush paper towels, dental floss, disposable diapers, cat litter, feminine products, or any other non-biodegradable items down the toilet since they will not decompose and will block the pipe, causing a clog.

Do you need to use special toilet paper for a septic tank?

It is preferable to use toilet paper that is safe for septic systems. Although it is intended to be flushed, the variety of other items that people flush down the toilet can cause the tank to get clogged as a result. Too much toilet paper flushed at once can cause a clog in any toilet, requiring you to unclog it.

What does a septic tank mean for my budget?

If you have a tank, you’ll need to budget for the cost of having it pumped out. Finding a septic service is a very simple process. It’s probable that your neighbors have one, and there may even be a sticker on the tank, or you may look for a septic tank cleaning service in your area on the internet. When your septic tank becomes overflowing, you will be required to pay for a pumping and cleaning service. Pumping costs will vary based on the size of your tank and the frequency with which it is pumped from a financial standpoint.

Every year, we have it pumped.

Make certain to inquire about this before submitting an offer on the property.

What affects the cost of pumping a septic tank?

There are a variety of factors that might influence the pumping out of your septic tank.

  1. There are two factors to consider: the location of your home and whether or not the truck must travel a considerable distance to get there and dispose of the garbage
  2. And any additional fees that are levied as a result of these factors. The tank’s position on the property is also a source of contention. Do you know if it’s easily accessible, or if there are any barriers in the way that need to be cleared away, such as trees, dirt, or other large things
  3. Is it possible to remove the lid simply, and is there a riser in place? It is possible that you will be charged for the time it takes to remove the lid if you do not do so. If the tank’s lid does not protrude from the ground, or if the tank’s access point has been completely buried by the earth, it may be necessary to dig the tank and install a riser system. This will result in the payment of an excavation fee based on either a flat or an hourly cost determined by your chosen commercial septic firm and the resources required
  4. Is it simple to locate the tank? If you’ve lived in the area for a long time, you’re definitely familiar with the location of your tank. For new homeowners, it is possible that they will not be aware of the location of the tank on their acre of property and that the septic tank business will require a significant amount of time to identify it. By doing a little research, asking around, and checking municipal records, it is possible to avoid being charged.
See also:  Why Are There Twobpioes In The Ground Between House And Septic Tank? (Solved)

What is a leaching field?

An underground leaching field, also known as a septic field or a drain field, is a field where the greywater from the tank is pumped out and eventually flows back into the water table. Leaching fields make things easier and less expensive since the tank disperses rather than contains effluent, enabling the tank to be used for longer periods of time between cleanings and reducing maintenance costs. Due to the presence of a leaching field in your system, you are able to efficiently eliminate grey water from your system, reducing the frequency with which you must call a septic specialist to come and pump your tank.

It’s possible that your town has limits on how little of a lot you may use for a leaching field. Because we had more than an acre of property, we were able to meet the demands of the surrounding community.

Aerobic Septic System

Aerobic septic systems are a type of system that refers to a system that treats waste using aerobic processes. Essentially, these water treatment systems function as a miniature sewage treatment plant, except that they employ an aerobic process to break down sewage rather than an anaerobic process, such as the sort that is used in typical septic systems.

How is an aerobic septic system different from a normal septic system?

Aeration systems make advantage of the aerobic treatment of sewage in the tank to break down the particles present in the wastewater, so providing further processing to the wastewater (effluent). Similar to a conventional tank, aerobic bacteria in the effluent break down biological waste, and the residual particles fall to the bottom of the tank, just as in a conventional tank. This is the sludge that has to be removed from the tank on a regular basis when it fills up. The cleaning or disinfection of the wastewater is the next stage of the aerobic process, in which chlorine is employed to disinfect the water and produce an output that is termed antiseptic.

  • These chemicals are used to disinfect the effluent after it has been subjected to this treatment.
  • There are a variety of local rules that may need to be adhered to, so be sure to check first.
  • This means that, in some cases, the area of a drainage field might be reduced by a factor of two.
  • Read our Nellie’s Laundry Soda Review (it’s septic safe!) for more information.

Septic System Maintenance Plan

Consult with a septic tank cleaning professional to devise a preventative maintenance plan for your system. All tanks and houses are unique in their own way. One of the most important things you can do is to consult with your cleaning specialist and establish a maintenance routine. This should be created in order to ensure that your tank continues to function effectively and that the lifespan of your septic leach field is extended. Failure of the leach field due to improper tank maintenance will result in greater expenditures in the future.

Another suggestion is to use toilet paper that is safe for septic systems.

Septic Tank Camouflage

In the grand scheme of things, having a gigantic circle perched atop your lawn is a little unsightly. You are constantly reminded of where your sewage is located, and it is an eyesore in your yard and yardscape. You’re trapped with it, just like you’re stuck with that rear projection TV in your basement. So, what are your options? If your septic tank cover is protruding from the ground and you want to conceal that bulky piece of plastic in your yard, a faux rock cover is the perfect solution.

In most cases, these types of rocks are very evident to be made of plastic, but the ones from Dekorra are truly remarkable. In order to receive a more detailed look at or to purchase this tank lid concealment, go to Amazon.com by clicking on the link provided below to be sent to Amazon.

Septic Tank Insurance

It’s usually a good idea to double-check that your house insurance policy includes coverage for your tank. Problems with the tank are most frequently seen when the pump breaks and the tank begins to overflow into the home. This generally occurs at the lowest drain, such as a shower or bathtub (here’s a guide on how to unclog a bathtub, read it before you need to know how to do it). The best course of action is to contact your insurance carrier and inquire as to whether or not your policy covers septic system failure and sewage backup.

It’s an additional expense, but pumps fail, and it’s better to have something than to take a chance.

However, it’s important to know how long your pump will last and to consult with your tank specialist about when it should be changed and whether or not you are currently ready for a replacement.

How long do septic tanks last?

The average lifespan of a septic tank is 20-30 years before it has to be replaced. If you are getting close to this stage, you may want to think about the additional expenditures that will be associated with rebuilding your septic system.

Tips for your Septic Systems

One of the most common septic tank issues is an excessive amount of water entering the tank. Using a trash disposal in your home will significantly reduce the amount of time between septic tank cleanings, as all of the waste is still solid and will fill up your tank more faster than with a manual disposal. According to some accounts, garbage disposals can cause a septic tank to fill up three times faster than if the disposal is not used. Planting trees around your tank is not recommended since the roots of the trees may intrude into the tank.

Another piece of advice is to be on the lookout for leaks.

To get such problems resolved as soon as possible is a good idea.

Find a Septic System Professional in Your Area by Clicking Here.

Final Thoughts on Houses with Septic Tanks

Too much water entering the septic tank is one of the most common septic tank issues. Using a trash disposal in your home will significantly reduce the amount of time between septic tank cleanings, as all of the waste is still solid and will fill up your tank more faster than with a traditional disposal. The use of garbage disposals, according to some accounts, can cause a septic tank to fill three times faster than it would otherwise. Planting trees around your tank is not recommended since the roots of the trees may intrude into your tank.

Keeping an eye out for leaks is another good suggestion!

To get such problems resolved as soon as possible is a wise move. Alternatively, you will be required to pay for additional cleaning appointments. Septic System Professionals may be found by clicking here.

What You Must Know If You Buy a House With a Septic System

One of the most common septic tank concerns is an excessive amount of water entering the tank. If you have a trash disposal in your home, it will drastically reduce the amount of time between septic tank cleanings since all of the waste is still solid and will soon fill up your tank. According to some accounts, waste disposals may fill a septic tank three times faster than they would if they were not used. Planting trees around your tank is not a good idea since the roots of the plants can push their way in.

Another suggestion is to be on the lookout for leaks.

To get those problems resolved as soon as possible is a wise decision.

To locate a local septic system professional, please click here.

Standard septic system (systems vary).Graphic by Reazo.com.

A septic tank is a device that collects wastewater from the toilet, washing machine, trash disposal, and other household appliances as it left the residence and transports it to an underground tank in the yard for treatment. Construction of the huge, waterproof septic tank can be accomplished with cement, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It is meant to trap waste solids that have settled to the bottom of the tank and prevent them from escaping the tank. Aside from that, there is an underground drainfield that gathers and disperses wastewater into the earth and away from your residence.

In the case of a well managed septic system, there may be no discernible difference between having one and being connected to a public sewage system.

Before Buying a House with a Septic System

Before purchasing a home with a septic tank, consult with your real estate agent about the regulations in your state. Inspections are required in some states before a title may be transferred, and your lender may also need one before transferring ownership. Hiring an inspector who will use a camera to check the pipes to verify they are not compromised is a good idea before finalizing the purchase and sale agreement (ex. roots infiltrating the pipes). Also examined is whether or not ventilation pipes were correctly built, allowing sewage gases to escape via the roof rather than wafting inside the house, according to the inspector.

In the event that you decide to purchase the property, you will want to avoid parking cars or heavy equipment in the area, prevent planting a garden or trees over the tank, and supply the septic service with the necessary information so that it can pump the tank for you.

In addition, discuss the size of the septic tank with the inspector, if necessary.

A small tank will require more frequent draining than a larger tank. Consult with the manufacturer to determine whether or not an additive should be added to the system to aid in the breakdown of solid waste (some septic companies advise against it).

Owning a Home with a Septic System

If you decide to acquire a home with a septic system, there are certain indications to look out for that may signal that your septic tank has been contaminated:

  • If you decide to acquire a home that includes a septic system, there are certain symptoms that your septic tank may be damaged that you should be aware of:
Why Things Go Wrong
  • Using an excessive amount of water in a short period of time (for example, doing many loads of laundry in a short period of time)
  • It is not necessary to have the system examined every 2-3 years. No regular pumping of the tank, as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (environmental protection agency), depending on the number of people living in the residence
  • Other materials than toilet paper should not be flushed down the toilet (ex. “flushable” wipes, dental floss, condoms, cotton swabs, cat litter, etc.). It is possible that these will cause congestion in the system and perhaps harm the components.

We had an issue with our septic line a few years ago, and it was really frustrating. Water had begun to accumulate in the basement near the floor drain, which I discovered while washing laundry. It was only with the assistance of an emergency inspector, who examined the line with a camera, that we were able to figure out why the water from the washing machine was not making it into the septic tank (a rubber coupler was failing). Although the drywall and floor damage was modest, and our insurance covered it, we were forced to connect to the public sewer system, which was extremely expensive.

Preventative Maintenance

When we had a septic line problem some years ago, we were in a bad mood. The water had built up in the basement near the floor drain, which I discovered while washing laundry. We were able to figure out why water from the washing machine wasn’t making it into the septic tank with the aid of an emergency inspector who utilized a camera to investigate the line (a rubber coupler was failing). Although the drywall and floor damage was modest and our insurance covered it, we were forced to connect to the public sewer system, which was extremely expensive.

  • High-efficiency toilets and shower heads should be installed, as should leaking faucets. Chemicals can destroy the beneficial bacteria in a septic tank, slowing down the process of breaking down solid waste. Use environmentally friendly home cleansers. Waste disposals add to the quantity of grease and sediments that enter the septic tank (up to 50 percent), according to the EPA. Get rid of your garbage disposal or restrict its use
  • Do modest loads of laundry throughout the week rather than large loads on a single day
  • Conserve water by using less. Tips for conserving water may be found here.

If you’re thinking about buying a house, ask your real estate agent to include a septic tank examination in your purchase/sale contract. If you do not get a septic system check, you may be confronted with expensive expenditures as a result of a malfunctioning or neglected system. Also, inquire with your agent about the rules and regulations that apply to septic tanks in your state. In the event that you decide to purchase the house, be prepared to have the septic tank emptied every 3-5 years at a cost of $250-$500.

If you’re buying a property with a septic system, it may not seem like much of a difference from living on a municipal sewage system.

Janelle D.

If you’re thinking about buying a house, ask your real estate agent to include a septic tank examination in the purchase/sale contract. If you don’t get your septic system inspected, you might end up with expensive fees as a result of a malfunctioning or neglected system. Septic tanks are subject to specific regulations in each state, so check with your agent. If you decide to purchase the property, be prepared to have the tank pumped every 3-5 years, which will cost between $250 and $500. (keep a record of this and any work performed on the system).

Even though it may not seem like it, purchasing a property with a septic system is not much different from purchasing a home on municipal sewer. Just be careful about what you throw down the drains and toilet, and keep up with the maintenance requirements.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *