Septic Works LLC

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Residential & Commercial Service
Licensed & Insured
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Buying a House with a Septic Tank?
8 Things to Know

Things to know about buying a property with a septic system.

Buying a house with a septic tank can be scary to many. In this article, you are going to know all about what to expect when buying a house with a septic tank, what is a septic tank, how do septic tanks work, septic tank inspection and septic tank maintenance.

Many of us don’t like buying a house with a septic tank. We feel worried about the presence of a septic system. We probably grew up in the city or town, and probably lived in an apartment building or house connected to the public sewer line. So, an onsite sewage system is like a novelty.

But that should not be the case. Around one in five homes in the United States rely on a septic system. More than 60 million people in the US are served by septic tanks, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Septic systems are common in rural areas that are not served by municipal sewers. These standalone systems are very effective and eco-friendly in disposing of and treating your household’s wastewater independently.

Buying a house with a septic tank is something you will likely come across when you are house hunting. So, before you start your home search, you will have to understand what is a septic tank, how do septic tanks work, why you should get a septic tank inspection when buying a house, the importance of septic tank maintenance, septic pros and some frequently asked questions.

This way your decision-making process will be clear and you will be able to choose the best for your family, your wallet and protect the environment. Let us dive in for an in-depth read.

1. Buying a House with a Septic Tank: What is a Septic Tank?

It is a common question ‘what is a septic tank?’ It is the main component in a septic system. All the wastewater and solids that leave your house drains, kitchen sinks, and toilets end up in the septic tank via a connecting pipe. Septic tanks are buried underground. They are made of concrete, fiberglass or polyethylene.

Inside the septic tank live the bacteria that separate the waste from the water. The waste (sludge) settles to the bottom of the tank, oil and gases (scum) float to the top, while water (effluent) stays in the middle. Once all is settled, the effluent leaves the septic tank to the leach (drain) field.

2. Buying a House with a Septic Tank: How Does Leach Field Work?

‘How does leach field work’ is important to the whole functionality of the septic system. The leach field receives the water (effluent) from the septic tank. The drain field is a set of pipes buried underground as well. Water gets distributed equally to this network of pipes by the distribution box. After that, it leaves the pipes through the holes to the surrounding gravel.

3. How Do Septic Tanks Work: Gravel and Soil

After the effluent leaves the pipes, it seeps through the gravel and soil to groundwater supplies. The gravel provides oxygen to the bacteria in the soil that clean the water for the last time before it reaches the bottom.

4. Buying a House with a Septic Tank: Why You Should Get a Septic Tank Inspection

When buying a house with a septic tank, you should consider a septic tank inspection before purchasing the property. You don’t want to buy your dream home and soon after be burdened with repairing a malfunctioning system.

Though real estate septic system inspection is not a legal requirement, some states require it before you can transfer the title. And in many cases, a mortgage or bank loan is not approved without the inspection.

With a septic tank inspection, you rest assured that you are buying a house with a septic system in good working order. Or at least you know how well or bad it is functioning and know what to expect.

You can also find further details about septic tank inspection at the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

5. What is Included in a Septic Inspection?

At Septic Works LLC, our experienced and competent septic tank inspectors perform all sorts of checks for residential, commercial, or municipal clients. Our septic tank inspection checklist includes:

1. Septic tank inspection level 1: This is a visual inspection that involves running water from various drains and flushing toilets in the home. The septic tank inspector is looking at how well everything is draining. The visual inspection also includes looking for septic leakage to the top of the drain field area. We also check for sewage odors in the area of the septic tank and the leach field.

2. Septic tank inspection level 2: We do a septic tank pumping. We remove the cover of the septic tank. This allows our septic tank inspectors to check the water level. Water levels determine whether water is properly draining. To make sure the water is properly flowing, our septic inspectors will run water in the home. This is done to determine if the water level rises when more water is introduced. Next, we will check out if your septic system has backflow from the absorption area. Backflow will let us know if there is a problem with the leach field.

3. Septic tank inspection level 3: We highly recommend you choose this option when you are buying a house with a septic tank. The level three inspection includes level one and level two inspections. The difference with level three is that baffles are installed. The inlet baffle allows water to flow into your septic system without disturbing the scum layer. This baffle also keeps the wastewater from flowing straight across the septic tank. It guides it to flow down, across and then up. The outlet baffle serves as a filter to retain solids from traveling to the leach field. Having this baffle is essential to avoid clogs that could destroy your drain line.

When you hire our septic tank services, we also give you a complete report including information about the following:

  • The type of septic system you have .
  • The condition of the septic tank
  • The size of the septic tank
  • The condition of the drain field
  • The location of the septic tank and leach field if previously unknown

6. Buying a House with a Septic Tank: Septic Tank Maintenance

Your job does not end by buying a house with a septic tank. Septic tank maintenance is critical to a healthy and long-living septic system. With regular septic tank maintenance, you avoid expensive repairs, protect your family from contamination and preserve the environment. Here is a list of tips for optimal septic system maintenance:

  • Learn septic tank laws and regulations in your state or county. For example, find out about septic system design and installation requirements, septic tank inspection, and septic tank pumping frequency though the majority of states recommend pumping a septic tank every three to five years.
  • Arrange for regular septic tank inspection. Frequent checks discover problems early before they become big.
  • At Septic Works LLC, our septic tank inspectors will run water in the home to check if everything is draining well. We will also open the septic tank to check the sludge level.
  • We also pump your septic tank and install inlet and outlet baffles to improve water flow inside the septic tank and to prevent solids from leaving the tank to the drain field. We also check if there are any pipe clogs, backups to the house, or overflow to the leach field.
  • When buying a house with a septic tank, get to know more details about the septic system like when it was installed, the size of the septic tank, and how many bedrooms it can serve. All this information should be mentioned in the septic permit.
  • Only flush things that are septic-friendly. Never flush coffee grounds, dental floss, diapers, cooking oil, paint, cigarettes, feminine hygiene products, cat litter, and condoms. These items can cause pipe clogs and waste backup into your house.
  • Avoid using additives that are not biological as they kill the bacteria inside the septic tank that break down the wastewater.
  • Use low-water consuming toilets and showerheads. That is because too much water fills up your septic tank so fast.
    Don’t park or drive over the drain line. This can damage the pipes.
  • Grow plants or trees far from the leach field. Their roots can damage the drainage field.
    Implement regular septic tank cleaning and recognize early signs of septic system failure. This can include unpleasant odors, gurgling sounds, slow drainage.

7. Buying a House with a Septic Tank: Septic Pros

There are many septic pros for buying a house with a septic tank. These include:

  • When buying a house with a septic tank, you save money by not having to pay the monthly municipal sewer taxes.
  • If it ever happens that the waste backs up into your house, you know that it is coming from your own septic system. Whereas if you are connected to a public sewer line, it is from all the neighborhood. That takes longer to pinpoint the cause and fix it.
  • You can contain your septic system failures and leaks, it only affects you, but a municipal sewer line leak would have a bigger effect and greater harm to people and the environment.
  • With regular septic tank maintenance, septic systems last for decades.

8. Buying a House with a Septic Tank: Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re considering buying a house with a septic tank, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

How long does a septic system last?
A septic system can last for decades if it has received proper septic tank maintenance.

What can I put in my septic tank?
Only things that are septic-friendly. Never throw down the drain things like: paint, gasoline, cat litter, coffee grounds, cigarettes, dental floss, diapers, earplugs, napkins, tampons, plastics, oil, chemicals…etc.

What are the costs of septic tank repairs?
Before buying a house with a septic tank, you should know the costs of septic tank repairs that await you in the event of a faulty septic system.

Small problems like leaking faucets, a clogged pipe, or sinks not draining will not have a significant cost. Whereas replacing something will be more expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars to fix the leach field.

What should I do before buying a house with a septic tank?
Before buying a house with a septic tank, there are certain things that you need to know in order to have and maintain a healthy septic system.

For, example, you need to know the septic tank laws and regulations in your own state or county. Ask about the septic system, how old it is, how many bedrooms it serves, the septic tank size, the maintenance records and when it was inspected for the last time.

Should I buy a house with a septic tank?
It is common that people ask the question ‘should I buy a house with a septic tank?’ or look for another house that is serviced by municipal disposal system.

Septic systems are common in rural areas that are not serviced by public sewer lines. They are as effective as municipal sewers and are also eco-friendly. Buying a house with a septic tank will save you money by not having to pay the recurring monthly municipal taxes.

When should a septic system be inspected?
Once a year, especially when it is put up on the market for sale. A healthy septic system raises the value of the property and avoids any liability issues from a bad-performing system.

Is a septic inspection really necessary?
A septic system is an important fixture to consider when buying a house with a septic tank. Although a real estate septic system inspection is not a legal requirement, it is highly recommended that you arrange for regular checks. An inspection benefits you for the following reasons:

If you are a buyer, you want to:

  1. Know the condition of the new home septic system
  2. Know the location of the septic tank and drain field
  3. Ensure the next home is in excellent condition

If you are a homeowner, you want to:

  1. Ensure the septic system is fully functional and suitable for expansion plans
  2. Avoid any potential issues of liability in the future from a malfunctioning septic system in case you sell your house
  3. Prevent unpleasant odors, flushing problems, or system malfunctions

When to pump a septic tank?
According to the EPA, average household septic systems should be inspected at least once every three years by a professional septic inspector.

How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
The cost of septic tank pumping ranges from USD350-650 depending on the size of your septic tank and the location of the landfill. A landfill just outside town costs less than driving to one that is 50 miles away.

Who pays for a septic tank inspection?
If you are buying a house with a septic tank, you are probably wondering who pays for the septic inspection? Buyer or seller? It is typically the responsibility of the seller to pay for the septic inspection. Or they both sit down and discuss who takes charge of it and it could be both or just one of them.

Does the home have a private well?
When buying a house with a septic tank, it is very likely that the house has a private well. The water well has to be at least 50 feet away from the septic system to avoid contamination.

Before buying a house with a septic tank, hire a professional or get in touch with the local health department in your county to test the well to ensure it has not been contaminated by the septic system.

You can also find further information on how your septic system can impact nearby water sources at EPA.

At Septic Works LLC, our septic inspectors will take care of all your needs. Our septic tank services include septic tank cleaning, septic tank inspection when buying a house with a septic tank, septic pumping, septic tank repair, septic tank installation, engineered septic system, alternative septic systems, and porta potty rentals.

Call us now at 678-326-3591 to book your appointment.

buying a house with a septic tank

Reliable septic tank pumping Greenville SC

If you want an excellent service and a competitive price, talk to Septic Works LLC. Our septic specialists are experienced and well qualified. We are also licensed and insured to do septic tank pumping Greenville SC, septic tank installation Greenville SC as well as septic inspection Greenville SC. We bring the right tools, equipment and experience to every job.

Schedule your septic service today and have confidence knowing that you’ve got the best professionals on the job.