Here’s what you should do to ensure the septic system works before buying a house.
- Learn Your Local Laws.
- Get The System Inspected.
- Know The Specs Of Your System.
- Prepare For Regular Maintenance.
- Be Careful What You Put Down The Drain.
- Know What Can Go Wrong.
- Recognize Signs Of A Potential Problem.
Is it OK to buy a house with a septic tank?
A Septic Tank is an effective system, however, when buying a house it is likely that the system will be old and near the end of its life. If the Septic Tank discharges to a watercourse or ditch it is illegal. If it discharges to the ground then in 90% of cases the discharge is also outside of the General Binding Rules.
Does septic reduce home value?
The research shows that having a septic system as opposed to a standard sewage system does not increase or decrease the value of your home, although there are some things about that septic system that can affect resale.
Does homeowners insurance cover septic tank collapse?
Yes, your septic tank is considered part of your home and would be covered by the dwelling coverage portion of your home insurance in the event that it is suddenly damaged.
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.
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.
What does it mean if a house has a septic tank?
What Is A Septic Tank? A septic tank gathers wastewater – waste generated by your toilet, garbage disposal and washing machine – from your house and holds it underneath the yard. Solids remain in the tank while liquids exit into a buried drain field.
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.
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.
What should you avoid with a septic tank?
You should not put these items into your commode:
- Cat litter.
- Coffee grounds.
- Cigarette butts.
- Dental floss.
- Disposable diapers.
- Sanitary napkins or tampons.
How can you tell if a septic tank collapse?
Here are the signs your septic system’s got an issue and it’s time to call in the pros.
- Water (or sewage) is backing up inside your home.
- Green, spongy grass around your septic tank.
- You’ve got trees or shrubs near your system.
- Water’s pooling in your yard.
- A rotten egg smell.
- Slow drains.
Can septic tanks cause sinkholes?
On Dangerous Ground Improperly abandoned septic tanks have been known to cause dangerous sinkholes around them, which can cause injury or even death. In 2017, a 75-year old Apple Valley, California man fell into a sinkhole created by an old septic system.
How do I know if my septic tank is failing?
8 Signs of Septic System Failure
- Septic System Backup.
- Slow Drains.
- Gurgling Sounds.
- Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield.
- Nasty Odors.
- Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield.
- Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water.
- High Levels of Coliform in Water Well.
How do you tell if your septic tank is full?
How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying
- Pooling water.
- Slow drains.
- An overly healthy lawn.
- Sewer backup.
- Gurgling Pipes.
- Trouble Flushing.
Can I shower if my septic tank is full?
Only the water would get out into the leach field in a proper system unless you run too much water too fast. The thing to do is to run your shower water outside into it’s own drain area, but it may not be allowed where you are. Used to be called gray water system.
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) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
Buying A House With A Septic Tank: Pros And Cons
Do you want to buy a house, but it has a septic tank, and you’re not sure what to check for when you go looking? Several considerations should be made while looking at a house that has an underground septic system. Here’s what you should do to make sure your septic system is in working order before purchasing a home. Learn about the laws in your area. Septic systems are custom-designed to compliment your property and meet local building codes. These local ordinances may include requirements for septic tank inspection, maintenance, and replacement, among other things.
If you decide to expand your home and add plumbing, they may also need you to install a larger septic tank to accommodate the additional waste.
Septic systems must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid complications.
Their job will be to search for leaks and blockages, identifying possible problems before they become major ones.
- It is recommended that you ask to examine the tank’s inspection history before purchasing a house with a septic tank.
- You must have a general understanding of the septic tank’s technical parameters.
- Additionally, you must be aware of the date it was installed, because septic tanks may need to be updated every 20-40 years.
- Make Preparations for Routine Maintenance A septic tank must be examined, maintained, and emptied on a regular basis in order to avoid problems.
- Depending on the size of the tank, this can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 on average.
- The distinction is that if you flush something down the toilet that shouldn’t be there, it becomes your responsibility on a septic system.
- Pipes that are clogged can leak and sewage can back up into your home as a result of these obstructions.
- Understand what may go wrong.
- It is possible to create a large amount of mess when there are leaks, broken and clogged pipes, and flooding in a drain field.
- Due to an excessive amount of liquid present either within the tank or within the drain field, a tank may fail to drain properly – or at all.
Spot Potential Problems As Soon As They Appear You must be able to recognize a possible problem before it manifests itself as a genuine one. Peculiar scents, unusual plumbing indicators, poor drainage, and backflow into your drains are all indications that your septic tank needs to be inspected.
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:
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How Does a Septic System Work?
A pipe gathers all of the wastewater from the residence and transports it to an underground septic tank that is completely waterproof. As explained by the Environmental Protection Agency, solids settle to the bottom of the pond while floatable items (known as “scum”) float to the top. Both are confined within the tank, which is emptied on a regular basis by a professional pumper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the middle layer includes liquid wastewater (also known as “effluent”) that exits the tank into a buried drainfield in the yard, where the wastewater disperses into the soil.
Is the Septic System Related to the Drinking Water System?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well to provide water. The septic system, on the other hand, is completely separate from the well. Rather of treating wastewater so that it may be consumed, its objective is to safely distribute it in a manner that prevents pollution.
What Differentiates One Septic System from Another?
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the size of the drainfield and the quality of the soil are the primary factors that distinguish one septic system from another. In addition, the drainfield must be large enough to accommodate the volume of liquid generated by a family. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, do not use a home’s toilet, sink, or disposal as a wastebasket for dental floss, coffee grinds, kitty litter, paint, or chemicals to avoid the chance of blocking the system.
How Often Should You Get Your Septic Tank Emptied?
To remove the sludge and scum from the septic tank, it is necessary to hire a professional to pump it. The frequency is decided by the size of the tank and the degree of activity in the home (how much wastewater is generated). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most septic tanks should be emptied every three to five years. However, certain systems may require more frequent pumping – perhaps once a year if necessary.
What Are the Signs of a Failing Septic Tank?
Aside from routine pumping, the tank should be examined for leaks or obstructions on a regular basis.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, signs of a clogged system include foul odors that appear from time to time and fixtures that drain slowly or gurgle.
What About Maintenance Costs?
The size of the tank and drainfield, the accessibility of the tank, and the distance that waste must be taken for disposal all influence the cost of septic system upkeep. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pumping a tank might cost between $250 and $500.
What Should I Do Before Buying a Home With a Septic System?
Learn about the laws in your state. Some states demand a septic system examination prior to transferring ownership. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one anyhow. As a rule, conventional house inspections do not involve an examination of the septic system. Zillow reports that an inspection may provide a detailed assessment of the system’s integrity, identify whether it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (to minimize contamination), and check the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which could cause damage to the system.
If you do need to replace your system, the cost might vary significantly.
Owning a property with a septic tank does not have to be a frightening experience.
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.
- Is it necessary for them to dig up my lawn in order to pump my septic tank?
- In spite of the fact that this will only be a tiny portion of your yard and not the complete thing, Is it necessary for my septic system to use chemicals such as Rid-X?
- A well managed system has all of the components necessary to break down materials and sustain a healthy septic flora.
- The usage of chemicals in your septic tank is only recommended after this point, according to specialists.
- Is it permissible to grow anything over my drain field?
- 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.
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 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. As you can expect, there will be an extra charge associated with this. 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 your location, you are required by the government to pump the septic tank every 2-5 years. If you neglect the pumping schedule, the tank can grow full and start to backup. This type of failure is not only messy, but it also ends up costing you more 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
What You Must Know If You Buy a House With a Septic System
If you haven’t lived on a property with a septic system before, you might be shocked to hear that there are measures that must be performed to keep the tank in good working order, as well as items that should be avoided. When your home is connected to the city sewer system, the city is responsible for the maintenance of your sewer lines up to the point where they enter your property. When you have a septic system, you are solely responsible for all repairs and upkeep costs. Let’s take a look at what septic tanks are and what you should know about them if you’re thinking about buying a house with one.
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:
- Sulphur-based rotten egg odor
- The presence of stagnant water that creates a bad odour
- Your pipes, toilets, and sinks are making gurgling noises
- Drainage in your sink or toilets is taking a long time to clean
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.
It is critical to keep your sewer lines in good working order. Failure to take the essential actions to maintain your sewage lines may result in a slew of nasty problems that can cost thousands of dollars to repair and clean up. A well-designed and maintained septic system may need to be rebuilt after 25-30 years if it has not been properly maintained (ours lasted far longer than that). There are a number of factors that will assist your septic system:
- 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.
Repair leaking faucets and install high-efficiency toilets and shower heads; Chemicals can destroy the beneficial bacteria in a septic tank, slowing down the process of decomposing solid waste; utilize environmentally friendly home cleansers. In-home garbage disposals add significantly to the quantity of grease and sediments that enter the septic tank (up to 50%). Obtain rid of your garbage disposal or restrict its utilization; Don’t overload your washer by performing many loads in one day; instead, do little loads throughout the week.
I’ve been working in the real estate industry for more than a decade, and I like sharing my expertise with others and studying the most recent trends in the industry. In my spare time, I enjoy making things with my hands, spending time with my family and dog, participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, and photographing landscapes and people.
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.
Even if you’re buying a property with well water, you should consider installing a septic system to keep the water clean.
Is it, nevertheless, a smart idea to purchase a property that has a septic system? 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:
- 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
- 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.
Buying or Selling a Home? — Shunk Fiedler Septic Service
When it comes to the transfer of a house, we find many buyers and sellers who are both perplexed by the function played by the septic system. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to be on the lookout for, so please read everything carefully and then contact if you have any questions.
- When it comes to selling, what are your responsibilities? What can we do to assist you
- As a buyer, you should be aware of the following:
What Are You Required to Do as a Seller?
When it comes to septic regulations, many of the homeowners with whom we deal are perplexed or bewildered during the process of purchasing or selling a house. Conditions for the selling of a property vary based on where you live in the country. Septic inspections at the point of sale are not required in Michigan since there are no state-level standards in this state. In fact, we’re the only state in the whole country that doesn’t have a septic code that applies to the entire state (learn more).
We usually recommend giving your county health department a quick call before getting ready to sell, just in case anything isn’t right.
Ingham Countyis the only county in our local service region that, to our knowledge, currently demands a point of sale record for the septic tank itself, which we are unable to provide.
It is sometimes difficult to understand the standards for septic inspections in Ingham County, so here are some explanations:
- The tank must be emptied within three years after the purchase date. The county must have a copy of the Septic Tank Maintenance Report on file. Well-received approval Drainfield and well must be approved by the Septic Inspector.
Essentially, you’ll want the services of a septic pumper (such as us) to pump and examine your tank. We include a freeelectronicSeptic Tank Maintenance Report (which is needed) with every pumping service we perform, however the majority of our rivals will charge you a significant amount of money for this. Furthermore, you’ll want the services of a Well and Septic Inspector to independently approve your drainfield and well, and you may discover a list of approved inspectors on the county’s web site.
How We Can Help
Buying or selling a property may be a stressful and time-consuming process. Septic systems, on the other hand, are a component of property purchasing and inspections that is sometimes disregarded. We can make things a little simpler on you in a number of ways:
- Tank pumping and cleaning
- Repair and retrofit
- Second opinions
- Point of sale reports
- And other services. STMR stands for Septic Tank Maintenance Report.
STMRs are included with every pumping service we perform since 2017, making us the only local provider to do so. Starting in 2019, we’ve upgraded our procedures to better serve our clients by capturing and distributing STMRs electronically, ensuring that they don’t get misplaced or forgotten! What’s the best part? Our free inspections and reports continue to be included with every pumping job that we perform. It’s important to inquire for inspection quotes from different businesses while you’re comparing pricing, because you could be shocked.
Contact us now for more information.
The cost of purchasing a home and then discovering that your septic system has been neglected and needs be updated may quickly escalate to more than $20,000 in expenses.
If you have a system in our service area that needs pumping, cleaning, inspecting, or reporting on the health and function, please contact us.
What to Watch Out For as a Buyer
Buyers should exercise caution. Often ignored and out of sight, septic systems are an important part of your home’s plumbing system. Failure to exercise due diligence in this situation might result in a very expensive problem. As previously stated, a septic system in Ingham County must have been pumped and inspected within three years after the sale of a residence. In many other counties, on the other hand, it might have been many more years (or even decades) since that system has had sufficient maintenance.
- In the vast majority of these situations, it is quite likely that lasting damage has already been done to the system’s drainfield.
- Performing regular pumping of an underground septic system is important because it allows for the removal of sediments that would otherwise be carried down to the drainfield.
- Pumping alone, on the other hand, will not repair or reverse harm that has already been sustained.
- A good collection of data demonstrating frequent pumping (usually over a period of 3-5 years) is a reliable indicator.
- Many older farmhouses in our state are still using the original septic system that was installed decades ago.
- We urge that you let a professional to examine and evaluate your system in order to eliminate any risks, accidents, or miscommunication.
- If a septic system has been functioning without an exit device for an extended period of time, it is almost probable that sediments have entered the drainfield.
- It is possible to install contemporary filters into septic systems that have out-of-date, damaged, or missing outlet devices in order to assist maintain and extend the life of the system.
- Make sure you understand the system you’re purchasing.
- After all, you’re now in charge of it, and when the toilets begin to back up or it’s time to have the system serviced, some basic information about your system will be required.
Inquire about the septic system records at your site, or call the local health agency to make a request for them directly. These should include the following:
- The location of the tank, as well as the distances measured from the foundation
- The tank’s volume
- Tank outlet device (or devices)
- The number of tank access lids is limited. With dimensions, indicate the location and size of the drainfield.
It has been our experience that septic tanks are hidden behind driveways, beneath decks with no access, and in other troublesome locations. Don’t make the mistake of being the customer who didn’t do their homework. Carry out some investigative work. Once you’ve determined the location of the tank and drainfield, it’s time to conduct some on-the-ground investigation. Drainfields require soil that is permeable and free of compacted material in order to function correctly. Compaction over the tank or drainfield should be investigated.
- Accidental crushing of drainfields and tanks can occur when heavy equipment is used.
- Is the terrain around you sloping in the direction of or away from your drainage system?
- Areas that have been moist for months in the autumn, winter, and spring may be bone-dry throughout the months of July and August in some cases.
- (Yes, we’ve seen this type of issue several times.) Keep an eye out for low places, depressions, and marshy or low regions in the surrounding area.
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
- There should be any available history on the system’s upkeep -things 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.
- 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