The Importance of Septic Inspections Before Buying or Selling a House, Explained

If you’re looking to buy a home on a septic system, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it to have septic inspections done. We’ve rounded up some basic information about septic tanks and how the inspection process works.

Just as you want to know the condition of the roof and hot water tank, you’ll also want to know how one of the most important systems in your house is functioning. From how they work to what they do, we’ll go over everything you need to know about septic tanks and the importance of having them checked.

How Does a Septic System Work?

If you’ve never owned a home with one, a septic tank is nothing to be intimidated by. With proper care and maintenance, a septic system can last for decades. Knowing how a septic tank works will help you better understand your home and what’s going on during your inspection from

A septic tank is an underground tank that is used to treat and hold waste from your home. This allows extra water and waste from your shower, dishwasher, and bathroom to be taken outside. This system is placed far away from wells and drinking water to avoid contamination.

Your septic tank will typically be made of plastic or concrete. You’ll also find them made from polymers in new homes. The size of the tank will vary depending on the size of the home. The main job of a septic tank is to take dirty water and move it from your house. The water you’re using to bathe, wash dishes, and do laundry, has been contaminated and a septic tank holds it and treats it.

If a city sewer isn’t available, a septic tank is put in place to treat the extra dirty water that’s running out from your sinks, showers, laundry machines, and more. A septic tank allows scum, grease, and fats to settle and float to the top of the water’s surface. The filtered water goes to a drain field, and they get filtered by gravel and soil over time.

What is a Septic Inspection?

A septic inspection is an important part of the home buying process. Just as you would want to get a home inspection on the rest of your home, you’ll want to do one on your septic tank. This will save you a ton of money and hidden surprises down the road.

During your septic inspection, your inspector will remove the cover, check the water level and pump the tank. They will be looking for any backflow at the absorption level. Any backflow will tell you if there’s a problem with the drain field.

Since your septic system is underground, it’s impossible for you to inspect it yourself. This is why you need a licensed septic expert to make sure everything is working and draining properly. If you don’t have a septic inspection completed, you could run into plumbing and drainage problems down the road.

When a septic tank is properly cared for, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits for years to come. From the cost to the energy savings, it’s well worth it to ensure your septic tank is in good working order before you buy.

Asking the Seller Questions

Before you buy your home, have your realtor ask some basic questions about your septic system. You’ll be able to tell a lot from our inspection but it’s also helpful to hear from the home’s current owner when it was installed, replaced, or repaired.

If they have any paperwork for the system, ask if they can show it and leave it behind after your closing. There may be important information about the system you’ll want to keep for later. After the inspection, your inspector can also tell you what maintenance needs to be done if any is needed.

The Pros and Cons of Homes on a Septic System

Before buying a home with a septic tank, it’s helpful to know some of the benefits and drawbacks. To start, you can save money when you aren’t on the public sewer system. Septic tanks are more environmentally friendly when they are properly maintained because of how the water is separated and drained.

One of the biggest perks to a septic tank is that they allow you to live further from a city’s well. If you’re looking to live in a more remote location or in an unincorporated area, you may find more homes on the septic system. This allows you a lot of flexibility on where you’re able to move.

In terms of drawbacks, when the septic system is properly maintained, you’ll find very few problems over the years. During your inspection, you’ll want to learn all about the age and condition of the septic tank. If it’s fairly new in good working condition, it only needs maintenance every few years.

As with all plumbing in your home, you’ll want to be careful about what you put down the drain. Baby wipes and tissue, for example, should never be flushed down the toilet. The cleaner you can keep your drains and pipes, the better off your system will be.

Benefits of Septic Inspections Before Buying a House

With any home inspection, it’s important to know what you’re getting before you buy. If your system needs work, it’s easier to plan for this before you buy your home. After your septic inspections, you may also be able to negotiate money from the sellers for repairs. They may even make the repairs before you buy the home.

With a septic system, if your tank is in great working order, you’ll see years of money and energy savings. For more home tips and advice, check out the blog section for more great resources.


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