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Reasons why septic inspection is a must when buying a house

2nd March 2021 Print

Septic systems have been around for years now but not everyone is familiar with their existence. This shouldn’t be surprising though as the septic system is basically the unsung hero of sanitation and wastewater disposal. If you are moving into a new home, it’s imperative that you check if it’s on either the septic or the sewer system.

According to the latest figures from Circle of Blue, more than 21 million US homes use the septic system instead of the public sewer system. These underground systems are most common in rural areas in New England and in the Deep South. The figures may not seem much but in reality, this refers to nearly one-fifth of the homes in the US.

You might not know it yet but the home you’re checking out could be using the septic system. It’s vital that you do try and figure it out as soon as possible. It’s preferred to buy a house on the septic system even though they’re a little pricey. Here are a few reasons why an inspection of a septic system is a must before moving in.

It’s A Requirement

This is the primary reason why you should have a septic inspection before buying a home. Some local governments have certain rules regarding the septic system. Usually, they want you to have a septic tank inspection regularly. Some local governments also hand out certificates for homes that have a septic system.

If you’re hoping to make a loan via institutions like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), then you’ll be required to get an inspection first as well. The reason for this is that local governments - as well as the lending institutions want to first ensure that your septic tank is working as properly as possible. If the seller of the house had an inspection recently, then that can be used as the document.

There Could Be Issues With The System

The septic tank and its connected pipes are either buried underground or are hidden behind your walls. It’s tough figuring out whether there’s an underlying issue or not as you can’t directly see it. Experts say here that septic tanks and systems are prone to issues. It’s best to have these problems fixed before they get any worse.

You have to keep in mind that while durable, septic systems are still prone to having problems. Most particularly, these problems arise when chemicals, non-biodegradables, oil, fats, and grease are flushed down the drain, These can cause clogs that would prevent from getting to the septic tank properly.

Another issue is that the septic tank could already be full of scum and sludge. Scum is the oil and grease that’s filtered away from your wastewater. On the other hand, sludge is the result of all the dissolved food waste in your wastewater. These aren’t percolated through the drain field on the top of the septic tank.

Septic tanks are usually cleaned and flushed of their contents every 3-5 years, says the US EPA. As such, it’s a must to have an inspection, so you can easily see if the system is in good condition.


It Helps You Understand If The Purchase Is Worth It

Homes that have a septic system tend to be more expensive than those still on the sewer system. That’s just how valuable septic systems are. If you think the property you are buying seems a bit expensive, then a septic system may be one of the reasons why that is so.  Of course, it’s much better if you buy a home that has this already.

While more expensive, homes with septic systems are worth every extra buck you pay for it. For starters, you no longer have to pay that extra sewer fee that arrives in your monthly water bill. All you have to pay for is the maintenance fees which occur at least once every five years. The initial purchase may be more expensive, but in the long-term, it’s much more practical for you.

Another merit to having a home with a septic system is that you’ll be able to dispose of your wastewater as efficiently and as environmentally-friendly as possible. The main goal of a septic system is that your used water goes back to the earth via the drain field which means everything you’ve used practically goes back to where it belongs.

It Will Help You Prepare

Although the maintenance methods and tips for both the sewer system and septic system tend to be the same, it’s still much better to know if you’re prepared to know what’s on your plate. If you have a septic inspection before buying a house, you’ll have an understanding of what you are purchasing ahead.

Whether it’s preparing for the maintenance fees or knowing that you don’t have to pay for the sewage fees anymore, it’s vital for you to know if you are on a septic system. Perhaps the most important reason why important is that you can tell your family ahead on what you can do in regard to keeping your septic system properly maintained.

For starters, you might need to lessen the use of chemicals that you use to clean your drain. These chemicals could be harmful to the bacteria colonies that reside within your septic system. If you want to clean your pipes, it would be better to pour hot water into them instead.

Another thing you should avoid is letting grease and oil get to the pipes. These will cause scum to build up inside the septic tank fast - meaning your tank will need to be pumped regularly. If you want to dispose of your oil, simply put them in a container and throw it down the trash bin.

A septic system is one of the most valuable assets in the modern American home. You might not want to pay for that initial purchase because it seems too much but trust us, it’s worth it to have a septic system both in the long-term and short-term. A lot of people are already shifting to this water disposal system, so it’s best to just buy a home with one already installed.

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