Top 10 Septic System Home Buyers Guide

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Top 10 Septic System Home Inspection Guide

This article is designed to provide top 10 questions and advice to potential home owners with respect to homes that are required to utilize onsite septic systems, septic tank and drain fields, cesspit and cesspools. This article will help to inform the potential homeowner of the consequences of purchasing a home with a potential septic system problem or failure.

On sight septic systems designed for single family home are typically located in rural areas of the U.S. where city sewer hookups are not available and cost are prohibited due to the distance between the home and the waste water treatment plant.

The primary function of a septic system is to digest solids into water or effluent. The effluent will flow out into the drain field or cesspit where the effluent will leach into the ground. Natural bacteria found in the soil will further digest any pathogens or harmful bacteria before the effluent is converted into safe drinking water and returned to the water table as clean potable drinking water.

Depending on the region of the country you live in can greatly impact the cost involved with the repair and in some cases replacement cost of a septic system. It is important to perform routine maintenance on a regular basis and ensure that maintenance has been performed if your intentions are to buy a home.

Below is a list of the top 10 items you should be concerned about when purchasing a home. Never purchase a new or old home without hiring an inspector first. Make sure he inspects the following.

Where is the cover to the septic tank? So often homeowners find themselves looking for the septic tank lid that has disappeared and been covered for many years. The typical way to find a septic tank is to locate the septic drain pipe in your home and start looking 10 to 20 feet out from that point. Use a thin metal rod to gently push into the ground probing for something solid.

Age of the septic system? The age of the system is important to any potential home owner. Ask the current home owner if they are aware of any type of pumping or maintenance record. This can be very important in determining the status of the septic system.

Construction of the septic tank? This is always a concern. Make sure the septic tank is constructed of concrete and not metal. These types of systems will rust over time and cave in, possibly causing injury and even death to a child or guest.

Septic tank records? When was the tank was pumped last and how often was the septic tank pumped? Again this is important because it will give the home owner an idea of the condition of the tank. Request the name of the company that pumped the septic tank last. This can be help full in determining if the septic system will require maintenance prior to the new home owners purchasing the house. If there is a septic concern, be sure to have the system inspected and also have a clause added to the contract with an addendum.

Leaking pipes? Inspect for leaks in septic system drain pipes located in the basement or under the house. This is an important issue to bring to the attention of the inspector if he has not already discovered it.

Septic system odors in the house? Odors lurking in the house could be cause from many different things. P-traps under the kitchen sink or in the floor of the garage will on occasion dry out from lack of use and allow sewer and septic gas to escape into the house causing the septic smell. Septic system vent pipes on the roof of the house can also clog up with derby and an occasional birds nest causing septic gas to back up into the house.

Septic system odors outside the house? Make certain the inspector in aware of any septic odors outside the house. This could be caused from the septic system failing and backing up into the yard or a possible failing septic tank and leach field.

Trees over the drain field or sewer line? Make sure you know where your septic tank and drain field are located. If you have city sewer and water, make sure you know where they are located. Trees located over a septic tank drain field or sewer line should be removed as soon as possible. Trees can grow into the pipes causing damage and expensive repairs.

Green grass over the drain field or sewer line? Green grass over a septic tank or drain field can be the cause of a failing septic tank leach lines or a break in a city sewer line. In any event, make sure the inspector is aware of this and completes an inspection of the area.

Septic tank leach field and drain field size? Was the septic system installed based on the original construction of the home? Was there additional square feet added to the home with additional bedroom or bedrooms. The additional bedrooms would indicate a larger family, the additional waste water being created could over tax the existing septic system and drain field causing the system to fail.

Do your own inspection and make a list of anything that may concern you. Use the "Top 10 Septic System Home Buyers Guide" as a reference. Make a few trips to the property and remember to take a flashlight to inspect those dark out of the way places that may be hard to see in the dark. Good luck with your new home.

By: Bradley Skierkowski